Forklift Accidents

A forklift is a special vehicle capable of carrying heavy loads using a set of prongs to hoist and move objects. Forklifts are common sights at construction worksites, warehouses, and factories. Forklift accidents are not freak accidents. They are not happenstance or unpredictable. In fact, these types of accidents are not even rare. Forklifts are extremely dangerous if not handled properly, and the high accident and injury rates show that many operators are either careless or not properly trained.

The Edward A Smith Law Offices is dedicated to assisting Sacramento County families with investigating forklift negligence claims, building a solid case, negotiating with employers and insurance companies, and tirelessly pursuing compensation for your injuries. We have been representing victims of forklift accidents since 1982. There are many important rules and exceptions when considering fault in a forklift accident case, and we can help you determine if you have a viable claim. Contact us at 916-921-6400  today for a friendly and free consultation.

Forklift Accident Statistics

Forklifts cause 17% of all work-related deaths, many of which occur in factories and at construction sites. In fact, forklift accidents are deadlier than a crane, backhoe, drilling machine, and chipper accidents combined, resulting in over 100 deaths annually.

Countless forklift accidents occur each year, 110,000 of which involve major injuries or death. These accidents cost businesses $135 million in property damages and personal injuries. A whopping 11% of all forklifts will be involved in at least one accident each year, and 90% of all forklifts will be involved in at least one accident during the entirety of their useful life.

While drivers are commonly injured, the majority of accidents involve pedestrian injury.

Common Causes of Forklift Accidents

Forklift accidents are often caused by:

  • Pedestrian squashed by an overturned forklift – 42%
  • Pedestrian trapped between a forklift and another object – 25%
  • Pedestrian trapped between a forklift and another vehicle – 11%
  • Pedestrian struck by a forklift – 10%
  • Pedestrian struck by objects falling from the forklift – 8%
  • Operator falls from the forklift or prongs – 4%
How to Prevent Forklift Accidents

If you are a forklift operator, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that you seek education and training from your supervisor prior to operating the forklift. When behind the wheel, you should always:

  • Balance the load
  • Follow posted speed limits
  • Check blind spots
  • Drive slowly and cautiously around turns
  • Use headlights
  • Keep the load level low while driving
  • Always keep your eyes on the road
  • Utilize alarms and other alerts for pedestrians
  • Yield to pedestrians
Forklift Negligence

OSHA determined that 70% of accidents were caused by negligence and could have been easily avoided. Negligence is the failure to exercise a reasonable level of care. Defendants are only liable for negligence if they owe a duty of care to the victim. In addition, the harm must be foreseeable. Accidents caused by negligence are entirely preventable because, had the carelessness not occurred, the accident would never have happened.

Companies owe a duty of care to their employees to provide:

  • Properly functioning forklifts
  • Adequate training and supervision
  • Proper signage and warnings
  • Limits on load weights
  • Safety protocol

In addition, under California case law, companies must keep their worksites free of dangerous conditions and defects so that their employees may complete their job tasks in a safe manner. If the company is aware of or should have known about a dangerous condition or defect, any ensuing harm is foreseeable. The company may be liable for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

II’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, If you or a family member has suffered injuries while operating a forklift, call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

We are members of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

See our client reviews on GoogleYelp, and AVVO and our past verdicts and settlements.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.20.20]

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