Atlanta Forklift Accident Lawyers
Forklifts (sometimes referred to as lift trucks, fork hoists, or fork trucks) are a common sight at warehouses and other yards where heavy loads need to be moved, stacked, or loaded onto tractor-trailers or boxcars. These versatile vehicles are vital to the Peach State’s economy and keeping its supply chain moving efficiently. But these heavy machines can be dangerous, even lethal.
This is why OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that all employers who utilize forklifts provide adequate training for forklift operators. Failure to do so is considered negligence and the employer may be held accountable for any resulting injuries to third parties.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a forklift accident, you may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the forklift operator’s employer or the manufacturer of the forklift. But first, there needs to be a thorough investigation of the accident. This can be started by contacting an experienced Atlanta construction accident attorney. The legal team at Atlanta’s Grant Law Office recently secured a seven-figure settlement for one of their clients who was seriously injured in a forklift accident. To find out more about your legal rights and options, call Grant Law Office at toll-free (866) 249-5513 or local (404) 995-3955 for a free case evaluation today.
Just How Dangerous Are Forklifts?
Forklifts can be quite dangerous. Consider the fact that forklifts account for 1% of all accidents in factories and warehouses, yet account for 10% of all serious injuries in those workplaces. To find out more about the dangers of forklifts, let’s look at some statistics from the United States Department of Labor (USDL):
- Each year, in America, forklift accidents account for 61,800 non-serious injuries in the workplace.
- Forklift accidents account for 34,900 serious injuries in America each year.
- Forklift accidents kill 85 people in America each year.
- 24% of all forklift accidents involve overturning, making it the most common forklift accident of all.
- OSHA estimates that approximately 70% of all forklift accidents are preventable.
Why Are Forklifts So Dangerous?
There are many reasons why forklifts are dangerous. Let’s look:
- Forklifts can be hard to stop because they only have brakes on the front wheels. Cars, on the other hand, have brakes on all four wheels.
- Forklifts can weigh up to 9,000 pounds. That’s three times as much as most cars weigh.
- Forklifts can travel up to speeds of 18 miles per hour, which is pretty fast considering the tight quarters where they’re used.
- A forklift’s forks are sharp so that they can slide into pallets.
- Forklifts can be hard to handle because they are heavier in the rear in order to compensate for the heavy loads they lift in the front.
- Forklifts use their rear wheels to turn, causing the heavier rear end to swing outward. This makes the forklift more likely to tip over.
- Forklifts carry their loads in the front, which can make it difficult for operators to see where they are going.
- Forklifts are used to lift heavy loads high into the air. Heavy objects falling from great heights can be deadly to anyone working nearby.
Forklift Safety Solutions
The main ways to keep workers and others safe around forklifts are:
- Make sure employees are properly trained and tested. Further training should occur at regular intervals to keep proper operation in mind for all drivers.
- Forklifts should be well-maintained, and serviced regularly.
- Workplaces should be kept clear of clutter and obstacles.
- Warning signage should be adequate and visible, especially around dangerous areas like loading docks and blind corners.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get for a Forklift Accident?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you can get compensation for:
- All medical bills, including the cost of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injury or disability
- Lost wages from missed work
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Household and vehicle modifications to accommodate your injury (wheelchair ramps, lifts, etc.)
- Emotional anguish and mental duress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of a limb
- Damages for loss of joy of life
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get for the Loss of a Loved One?
In Georgia, a wrongful death claim can be brought when a person's death has been caused by a negligent or reckless action. That means the person operating the forklift, and his/her employer, can be sued in civil court if another worker or bystander was killed. Spouses and children, or the executor of the deceased’s estate, are the only ones allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
If your loved one was killed in a forklift accident, you can seek compensation for the "full value of the life of the decedent." That means the economic value of the person’s life, such as lost income and retirement benefits, as well as the non-economic value - intangible things such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life. It can be hard to quantify the full value of a life in terms of money, but an attorney can help you.
In addition, you are entitled to recover "funeral, medical, and other necessary expenses resulting from the injury and death of the deceased person." GA Code § 51-4-5 (b)
Remember, employers are represented by powerful insurance companies and their attorneys, whose sole purpose is deny or minimize their liability for accidents. Don’t talk to an insurance company or its lawyers. First, consult a seasoned workplace injury attorney. Atlanta’s Grant Law Office sincerely hopes you and your family never need their services, but in the event that you do, please call (866) 249-5513 or in Atlanta, (404) 995-3955, for a free, no-obligation consultation.