Forklift accidents occur far too often all across Pennsylvania. Forklifts are precariously balanced and often operate on high loading docks that have limited space for maneuvering. Operating forklifts is always a high-stakes endeavor, as they are prone to tipping over, can be difficult to control by those who are not sufficiently skilled, and can have poor visibility. This makes tip-over accidents very common, as well as collisions between forklifts and pedestrians and bystanders.

Where do Forklift Accidents Happen?

When you think about forklifts, you may first think of warehouses, and that is certainly a primary place for such accidents to occur. Loading docks and warehouse facilities rely on forklifts as well as manual labor, and collisions and tip-over accidents happen in such environments. Pennsylvania has one of the highest concentrations of warehouses and distribution centers in the country, so it’s no surprise that forklift accidents are more common here than in many other states. As the number of warehouses along route 81 increases, so too have the instances of accidents involving forklifts and other heavy machinery. OSHA data reflects that each year there are approximately 135,000 forklift injuries. Of these, 35,000 are serious injuries. Additionally, 100 forklift fatalities are reported annually.

What Causes Forklift Accidents?

There is a potentially infinite number of causes of forklift accidents. Operators may not be adequately trained, or may travel too fast, which destabilizes the forklift as well as placing pedestrians and other workers at risk of collision. Operating a forklift with an elevated load is also incredibly dangerous, both for the operator and for bystanders. Forklifts have also been known to malfunction or act unreliably. If forklifts are not properly maintained, this can make them dangerous to use. Environmental conditions are also relevant. If the forklift is operating in aisles that are too narrow or in areas that are overly congested, it can create an incredibly dangerous situation. It is also not uncommon for rack collapses or falling merchandise to injure forklift operators or result in a tip-over accident. Workers have also been killed when forklifts fall off of loading docks, piers, and embankments. For instance, a Pennsylvania man was killed when he lost control of his forklift and it tipped over an embankment, overturning on him.

Forklift Accident Injuries

Forklift injuries are often serious, and, as the statistics reflect, can be fatal. Pedestrians struck by forklifts are often dragged underneath the machinery for several feet before it can come to a stop. These individuals may suffer serious trauma and fractures to the pelvis and legs. Operators of tipped-over forklifts may suffer crushed and broken bones, as well as damage to their neck and spinal cord. Traumatic brain injuries are also common in instances of rack collapse and falling equipment. If you are injured in a forklift accident, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately.

Talk to a Pennsylvania Forklift Accident Lawyer

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws can complicate the process for seeking compensation for forklift accidents. A Pennsylvania lawyer can help you navigate the workers’ compensation process if you are an employee injured at your place of work, or determine whether non-employer parties may be liable for your harm that can be sued. Schedule a free initial consultation with the  personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.


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