Who Is Responsible If a Forklift Accident Occurs?

Forklift Accident

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), forklifts were responsible for 78 work-related deaths and 7,290 nonfatal injuries involving days away from work in 2020. Forklifts are heavy machinery that, if not operated properly or maintained correctly, can cause serious injuries or death. If you or someone you love was injured in a forklift accident in Texas, contact the forklift injury attorneys at Hartley Law Firm to discuss your options.  

Common Forklift Accident Injuries

The complexity of forklift machinery and the fast-paced operations of a warehouse can often lead to accidents and injuries. Common forklift accident injuries include:

  • Broken bones,
  • Severed limbs,
  • Spinal injuries,
  • Scars and disfigurement,
  • Whiplash, and
  • Chronic neck and back pain.

These types of forklift injuries are often acute and happen in an instant. However, many forklift injuries are chronic and develop slowly over time. Wear and tear forklift injuries may include chronic back pain from sitting for extended periods. No matter the type or severity of the injury, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you in determining your eligibility and options. The Hartley Law Firm is available to speak with you today.

Common Causes of Forklift Accidents

There can be infinite causes of forklift accidents. However, several are more common than others. Most forklift accidents are caused by negligence, and most can be prevented with proper precautions and safety measures. There are three common causes of forklift accidents: operator negligence, employer negligence, and machine malfunction. 

Operator Negligence or Error

  • Failing to look when reversing,
  • Too large of a load,
  • Unbalanced load,
  • Horseplay,
  • Speeding, and
  • Unsafe driving.

Operator negligence is one of the most common reasons for forklift accidents. If you were injured by a negligent forklift driver, contact us at the Hartley Law Firm for representation.  

Employer Negligence

  • Failure to properly train operators,
  • Failure to post proper warning signage,
  • Failure to maintain the forklift, and
  • Improper trailer restraints to prevent separation

Every employer must conduct business with a certain level of care and diligence. If an employer is negligent in training or maintaining a safe work environment, they may be liable for your injuries.

Machine Malfunction

  • Brake failure,
  • Hydraulic leaks,
  • Electrical problems, and
  • Overheated engine.

Forklifts are heavy machinery often utilized in busy work environments. There are many causes of forklift accidents, and your employer may be liable for your injuries. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced forklift accident attorneys today. 

Who Is Responsible for a Forklift Accident?

Under Texas law, employers owe a duty of care to their employees. Employers must provide safe working conditions, which include proper training, necessary equipment maintenance, and a safe work environment. 

Proper Training

Every employer has a duty to ensure employees and operators of forklifts have formal training. Safe operation starts with adequate and appropriate safety training. 

Equipment Maintenance 

All employers also must make sure their equipment is in safe working order. Equipment must be adequately maintained and serviced. An employer failing to service forklifts as required could lead to preventable accidents.

Safe Work Environment

In addition to training and maintenance, employers must provide a safe workspace, including clear pathways, well-lit spaces, and proper signage. 

Many forklift accidents can be prevented if work areas are free and clear of debris or clutter. A forklift’s ability to drive, lift, and swing in this space is imperative to proper operation. Furthermore, adequate lighting can prevent many accidents. Often warehouses and loading docks are dimly lit, and many are operated on a 24-hour basis. Sufficient lighting is key to keeping employees safe. Hanging proper signage and warning signs is another way to ensure forklift operator safety. 

Every employer owes a duty to their employees to keep them safe while at work. Simple, low-cost measures often can prevent severe injury or death from forklift accidents on the job site. 

Forklift Accidents and Workers’ Compensation

In Texas, employers may choose to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It is not required, unlike in most other states. An employer with workers’ compensation coverage is generally shielded from a civil lawsuit, and an injured employee cannot sue for injuries sustained at work. Instead, the employee must seek relief through the workers’ compensation process. 

However, depending on the specific circumstances of your forklift accident, other third parties may be liable for your injuries, including manufacturers. For example, if the forklift malfunctions, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer for the defect. 

The best way to determine who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs is to speak with a forklift accident attorney at the Hartley Law Firm. We will listen to your account of what happened and determine who may ultimately be responsible for your injuries. 

Forklift Accident Liability Attorneys

If you were injured in a forklift accident, you need competent representation. At Hartley Law Firm, our focus is on getting clients the compensation they deserve. Our big firm experience, matched with our small firm approach, has provided unmatched success for our clients. Don’t hesitate to contact us. We will schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation at a convenient time for you.

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