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OVERTURNS (ROLLOVERS), RUN OVERS & FALLING MERCHANDISE INJURIES & DEATHS
FORKLIFT INJURIES & DEATHS TO FORKLIFT OPERATORS
Forklifts also commonly known as industrial trucks, can be very dangerous if proper forklift safety principles are not followed. Serious injury or death can result from the improper handling of forklifts.. Each year, in the United States, nearly 100 workers are killed and thousands are seriously injured in forklift accidents. National fatality data indicate that the three most common forklift-related fatalities involve forklift overturn or rollovers, workers on foot being struck by or run over by forklifts, and workers falling from forklifts. Forklift rollovers or overturns are the leading cause of fatalities involving forklifts; they represent about 25% of all forklift-related deaths. Some forklift operators have also been killed by falling objects, forklifts falling off warehouse ramps or docks, overturns from turning sharp corners, tip overs from the forks too high with loads, operator falling off and being crushed by the forklift, lack of seatbelts,lack of or defective rollcage, forklift operator being stuck by other vehicles and forklift operators being electrocuted by contact with energized electrical wires or panel boxes.
FORKLIFT –FALLING MERCHANDISE INJURIES & DEATHS
Other forklift related deaths and injuries occur when large merchandise, shelving or racks fall in a warehouse type stores onto unsuspecting customers below due to the carelessness and negligence of the warehouse store or forklift operator. To prevent injuries and deaths from falling merchandise, boxes or pallets being moved by a forklift operator, large warehouse stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Office Depot and others have safety rules that require surrounding area be closed off with a fence of barricade to prevent unauthorized access and a store employee is used as spotter to watch the forklift loading process and to make sure surrounding merchandise is not accidentally bumped or pushed over onto the customers below. In 2000, journalists for Inside Edition, investigated Home Depot stores in six states, and found that while some locations seemed to comply with safety standards, others were not taking proper safety precautions. They found that in the eighteen months prior to the airing of their report, 68 lawsuits, related to falling merchandise, had been filed against Home Depot. Additionally, Home Depot had also received a total of 185 claims in 1996 for various accidents that occurred in their stores. These included a fatality in a Los Angeles store involving a 79 year old shopper who was crushed by a falling pallet, which was blamed on improper forklift usage by an employee. According to this news show, between November 1999 and November 2000, at least 3 shoppers had been killed at various Home Depot stores, including a 3-year old who was killed in Idaho. In Marina Del Rey, a forklift operator was observed loading heavy merchandise without the guidance of a fellow co-worker or "spotter." Despite promises by Home Depot’s managers to improve their store’s safety record, Inside Edition found that some stores continued to stack merchandise and operate forklifts during business hours while customers are in the store.
FORKLIFT LAWSUITS & OTHER LEGAL ACTIONS
While most forklift accidents are by their nature work related, there may be other legal remedies available to the injured forklift operator, co-worker or innocent bystander. A workers compensation claim may be the only legal action if the operator was totally at fault or negligent, but in many cases fault may be on the owner of the forklift, maintenance company of the forklift or other negligent 3rd parties including the manufacturer of the forklift for product liability actions. In cases involving a customer of a store or warehouse that is injured from falling merchandise, then a negligence lawsuit against the forklift operator, owner of the forklift and the store owner for all injuries, damages and losses sustained by the customer or their family .In all cases involving a forklift accident, it is very important to contact an attorney immediately so that the accident scene can be photographed, the forklift secured as evidence and statements taken of all factual witnesses of the event
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or a loved one killed in a forklift related accident, then call a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer with over 20+ years of product liability experience. Call Mr. Willis for a Free & Confidential Consultation at 1-800-883-9858 or click here for a Free Forklift Accident Lawsuit Evaluation.
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