Forklift Crush Injuries: How We Prove and Maximize Personal Injury Claims for Forklift Accidents | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Industrial sites are inherently dangerous places. Workers face increased risks for on the job injuries due to the heavy tools and massive pieces of machinery they are required to work around each day. At Shapiro and Appleton, our law firm has handled a number of cases specifically involving forklift accidents. These often result in crushing injuries, leaving injured workers with permanent impairments.  As experienced VA and NC forklift accident attorneys, we provide the trusted, professional legal representation you need in these situations. While you focus on your recovery, we uncover the evidence needed to hold those at fault accountable and to maximize the amount you are entitled to in a claim. 

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How Forklift Accidents and Injuries Happen


Forklift accidents are a serious threat for workers in industrial occupations. The CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that these accidents claim the lives of more than 100 workers each year while causing serious and potentially disabling injuries for over 20,000 others.  


At Shapiro and Appleton, our firm has successfully handled a number of these cases. Among the most common types of injuries clients suffer in forklift accidents is when the forklift operator runs over a person’s leg or foot, resulting in serious crushing injuries. The two leading causes of these accidents include: 


  1. Lack of proper training: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that roughly 25 percent of all forklift accidents are due to lack of proper training. 
  2. Negligence on the part of the forklift worker: Even with the proper training, mistakes and errors can still occur. Speeding, rushing through jobs, and being distracted increase forklift accident risks.  


Proving Liability For Forklift Accidents In Your Personal Injury Claims


When forklift accidents leave you suffering serious injuries, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Steps we take in holding at fault forklift operators accountable include: 


1. Consulting With Forklift Operations Experts


Those with a high level of experience in dealing with forklift operations can provide insight and important testimony regarding how and why your forklift accident occurred. In addition to pointing out obvious errors on the part of the forklift operator and any OSHA violations, they can help determine other factors which may have been involved, such as 


  • Improper loading or overloading of the forklift;
  • Inadequate equipment maintenance;
  • Interference with the operator’s field of vision;
  • Hazardous conditions on the job site, making accidents more likely to occur. 


2. Obtaining Surveillance Videos From The Scene 


Surveillance monitors and security cameras may have been installed on the job site or in other areas near the scene of the forklift accident. By obtaining a subpoena and reviewing any recordings made, we can capture evidence regarding why the accident happened and how the forklift operator is responsible. Violations of forklift safety standards and errors made by the forklift operator which surveillance videos may reveal include: 


  • Traveling at unsafe speeds;
  • Failing to slow down and honk at cross aisle or areas where vision is obstructed;
  • Raising or lowering loads while the forklift is moving;
  • Allowing unauthorized people to ride along with them;
  • Failure to check the area behind them when going in reverse. 


In one of the forklift accident cases our office successfully handled, surveillance videos from the scene actually captured the forklift driver reversing and running over a portion of our client’s leg. While painful to watch, it provided key evidence in their claim. 


3. Working With Medical Illustrators 


Crushing injuries caused by forklift accidents can be devastating. In addition to the immediate impacts you suffer, the long term effects can jeopardize your overall health and well-being for years to come. Unfortunately, insurance companies and attorneys for the at fault party are likely to downplay your injuries and the potential for long term disabilities. This is where medical illustrators come in. 


Our firm works with medical illustrators to clearly and accurately depict the extent of the client’s injury and the potential l impacts they are likely to suffer. This includes: 


  • Long term disabilities;
  • Ongoing medical care you may require;
  • The amount of suffering and chronic pain you will likely experience;
  • The impact your injuries may have on your ability to engage in hobbies or simple daily activities. 


By clearly illustrating the magnitude of your injuries to insurance representatives or the jury in your personal injury lawsuit, we can maximize the amount awarded in your claim. In a similar type of case, medical illustrators and other experts played a key role in helping us obtain a $100,000 settlement for a warehouse worker whose foot and ankle were crushed in a crane accident. 


4. Working With Your Employer


When on the job accidents happen, you are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, in cases where a forklift operator may be employed by a different company, the company and the operator may be held liable for damages you suffer in a third party claim. In this situation, our attorneys can work with your employer in obtaining evidence against the outside company and the person directly responsible for your injuries. 


Reach Out To Our VA and NC Forklift Accident Attorneys Today

When accidents involving forklifts and other industrial equipment happen, Shapiro and Appleton defend your rights in filing a claim. To discuss compensation you may be entitled to, contact our VA and NC personal injury attorneys to request a consultation today.