What Is the Most Common Type of Forklift Accident?

A man injured because of a forklift accident.

Despite their appearance in thousands of online fail videos intended to make viewers laugh, forklifts result in thousands of injuries and dozens of fatalities each calendar year. Between 2011 and 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 614 worker fatalities in forklift-related incidents. Additionally, workers suffered more than 7,000 nonfatal injuries in forklift-related incidents each year during this time period.


Forklift accidents can happen for many reasons, from inadequate maintenance of the forklift to improper training to operator error. If you suffered injuries in a forklift accident, contact a lawyer at Hartley Law Firm right away. We can help you understand your options after your accident and determine the steps you need to take next. Reach out to our office today for your initial consultation.

Injuries Suffered in Forklift Accident

Forklift injuries range from relatively minor to serious, life-threatening injuries. Some commonly seen injuries following forklift accidents include:

  • Internal bleeding,
  • Traumatic brain injuries,
  • Broken or fractured bones,
  • Amputated limbs,
  • Back injuries,
  • Concussions,
  • Bruises and lacerations, and
  • Spinal cord injuries.

Any of these injuries can result in a significant amount of medical costs. Even a minor hospital stay can result in tens of thousands of dollars in financial obligations. These obligations can add up quickly if you are out of work due to your forklift accident. And without a source of income, while you recover, your financial situation becomes even more dire. 

What Is the Most Common Type of Forklift Accident?

Many different employment industries utilize forklifts for a variety of job duties. Thus, forklift accidents can occur in many different scenarios. Some common types of forklift accidents are listed below.

Forklift Overturns

Forklift overturns, also known as forklift rollovers, happen when a forklift rolls over onto its side or roof. Rollovers can occur when a forklift driver:

  • Attempts to turn too quickly,
  • Carries an unbalanced load,
  • Drives with an elevated load,
  • Drives on an uneven surface, or
  • Turns while driving on an incline.

Forklift overturns can create additional danger when the driver tries to jump out of the forklift mid-roll. This can result in the driver getting smashed by the forklift. 

Pedestrian Collisions

Many forklift injuries and fatalities happen to pedestrians who are struck by the forklift. Even though forklifts are smaller than most cars, they still weigh significantly more than any pedestrian. The close proximity between many workers and a forklift and the limited visibility afforded by a forklift can create an enhanced risk of a collision. Several things can contribute to pedestrian collisions with forklifts, including:

  • Operator inattention or inexperience,
  • Driving at excessive speeds,
  • Ignoring traffic signals,
  • Lack of adequate signage, or
  • Inoperable traffic signals.

In addition, forklift operators sometimes move the machines with the forks raised, creating a particular hazard for pedestrians. While pedestrian injuries happen with alarming frequency, there are many safety measures that workers can implement to decrease the risk of an accident on their job sites.


Many different falls can happen that involve a forklift, such as when:

  • A forklift falls down to a different level,
  • Items fall off of a forklift,
  • The driver falls out of the forklift, or
  • Items fall on top of the forklift.

Any of these situations can result in injuries to the forklift driver as well as anyone else standing nearby when the fall occurs. 

Forklift Accident Prevention Tips

Workers and employers must keep forklift safety at the forefront of their minds to help avoid accidents. Some easy ways to enhance forklift safety include:

  • Posting signage for forklift routes,
  • Ensuring operators receive adequate training,
  • Implementing a speed limit for forklifts,
  • Making sure surfaces are dry and clean to prevent slipping,
  • Activating the parking brake whenever the forklift is not in operation,
  • Encouraging drivers to use their lights and horn to warn pedestrians,
  • Slowing down before making turns,
  • Not turning if the forklift arms are elevated; and
  • Properly securing any loads.

Any of these precautions can decrease the risk of a forklift accident at your job site. If your supervisor or employer failed to take adequate steps to ensure forklift safety was observed, they could be liable for the injuries you suffered on the forklift.

Looking for a Forklift Accident Lawyer? Contact Hartley Law Firm Today


If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a forklift accident, you should seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible. Investigating whether your employer took the necessary steps to prevent injuries resulting from forklift accidents is crucial. A qualified construction injury attorney can determine if you have a valid forklift lawsuit claim and help prepare your case for the possibility of trial.


Many liability issues arise when a forklift accident results in an injury. You need an experienced attorney that knows how to navigate these claims. Contact the lawyers of Hartley Law Firm today so we can review your case.

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