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Forklifts cause numerous industrial workplace accidents

Many people wonder if workers' compensation will cover them for accidents involving forklifts. Powered industrial trucks, commonly referred to as forklifts, can be found in just about any industrial workplace that requires the movement of materials. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forklifts accidents claimed the lives of about 100 workers each year and seriously injure another 20,000.

The number one cause of forklift accidents occur when the forklift overturns. Typically, forklifts overturn when workers are traveling diagonally up or down inclines or when operators attempt to take curves too quickly. These types of overturning accidents account for 22 percent of all forklift accidents.

The second leading cause of forklift accidents involve forklifts hitting people who are on foot. There are many reasons that these types of accidents occur. For example, forklift operators sometimes fail to see people walking behind them as they backup. Another reason is that many forklift operators travel far too fast for available conditions. Still, another cause of forklift accidents involving people on foot involves forklifts running into people at intersections or locations where aisles merge.

The majority of workers injured by forklifts are eligible for medical benefits and wage replacement payments because of Maryland's workers' compensation law. However, it is important to know that not all accidents are covered. For example, the law says that a workers' compensation claim can be paid when an accident occurs during a worker's normal course of employment which results in injury.

That is important to know if you suffered an injury from a forklift which may have not been directly related to your normal course of employment. This might apply if you were hitching a ride on a forklift and fell from it, causing your injuries or if you were engaging in a race with another forklift operator when your injury occurred. Your claim may be denied under these circumstances.

Your Maryland workers' compensation attorney can review the facts of your case and help determine whether your workers' compensation claim has merit. Additionally, if your claim has been denied your attorney can assist with filing an appeal and represent you before the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, "Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts" accessed Mar. 05, 2015

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