Forklift Accidents Involving Customers at Retail Stores

Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Residents of Jacksonville and Surrounding Areas

Some of the worst injuries that our Jacksonville forklift accident lawyers have dealt with involve forklift accidents. In fact, we have handled multiple forklift accident cases with settlements exceeding $1,000,000.00. Forklifts are surprisingly dangerous, and, when they are operated in and around customers in the retail setting, the results can be disastrous. Customers visiting retail stores do not expect to encounter dangerous conditions while shopping. Forklift accidents in the retail setting can result from customers: being struck by a forklift; being struck by merchandise falling off of a forklift; and being struck by merchandise knocked off of a shelf by a forklift.

Retail Store Forklift Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries to Customers

Many types of retail stores use forklifts to move merchandise from place to place, including in areas where customers are present. ‘Big box’ warehouse-style stores, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Restaurant Depot, and Walmart, routinely operate forklifts while customers are present. With goods stacked higher than in other stores, forklifts are more prevalent in public spaces, as opposed to being contained to back stockrooms. Forklift accidents can happen as a result of many different scenarios, but most commonly these accidents are caused by:

  • Careless operation of forklifts by speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians and entering into blind turns.
  • Drivers who do not have proper training or lack certifications.
  • Forklifts carrying unsecured or unbalanced loads.
  • Poor maintenance.

Employees can cause forklift accidents by speeding or recklessly operating forklifts, as well as offering rides to people who are not authorized to be on the forklift. These careless actions can cause a forklift to roll over, cause cargo to shift and fall, or cause a driver to lose control. When a customer is seriously injured in a forklift accident, he or she can pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering from responsible parties. Employees who negligently cause a customer’s injuries can be held accountable in personal injury lawsuits. Businesses that employ these individuals will also be liable for such injuries.

Businesses are responsible for making sure that employees who operate forklifts are adequately trained, which includes instructions and certifications regarding: safe driving; properly loading and balancing cargo; and maintaining a safe distance from pedestrians. When this training does not occur, or employees are not supervised efficiently, forklift accidents are more likely and can lead to serious injuries including: crush injuries; amputations; broken bones; paralysis; traumatic brain injuries and death.

Sometimes these accidents are caused by a defect in one of the forklift’s parts or in the machine as a whole. In these situations, manufacturers that put dangerous products on the market are liable for the harm that those products cause. Timing is important in personal injury claims, as evidence can be lost and witness recollections can fade.

Seek Guidance from an Experienced Jacksonville Lawyer

Customers injured in a forklift accident at a retail store can be overwhelmed in the aftermath, both by recovering from their injuries and by dealing with businesses concerned with their own best interests. Having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side is vital to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation that you deserve following a forklift accident. The Jacksonville attorneys at The Lawrence Law Group represent accident victims throughout Duval, Clay, Nassau, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Baker, Brevard, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties. You can contact us online or at (904) 632-0077 for a free appointment to discuss your case.