For immediate release July 1, 2014
An inmate in a Pennsylvania prison was seriously injured in a forklift accident. The accident involved an inmate at Graterford state prison in Eagleville, Pennsylvania (Montgomery County), roughly 30 miles outside of Philadelphia and 15 miles from Norristown.
The accident occurred last month and according to public information, involved a forklift at a prison warehouse. The inmate was airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. The accident is under investigation. It is not known whether the inmate was operating the forklift.
Forklift accidents generally occur in 2 ways: 1. a forklift driver is injured in a forklift accident, or 2. a bystander is struck by a forklift. Therefore, in this recent forklift accident, there are two potential scenarios.
1. The inmate was driving a forklift.
It is certainly possible that the inmate was driving the forklift and for whatever reason, was injured in an accident. Forklift operators are often injured when forklifts tip over. Their limbs may be caught under the forklift; the injuries are usually catastrophic. However, OSHA standards require specific training for forklift operators, and forklift operators must be certified. Therefore, it is very likely that this inmate was not driving the forklift.
2. The inmate was struck by a forklift.
This is the more likely scenario. The inmate was probably performing work at the warehouse when he was struck by a forklift. Forklift strike accidents are very common and often occur due to driver error, which in turn usually results from the employer’s failure to provide proper training and/or certification.
Forklift strike accidents often result in major injuries and in many cases, result in fatalities. Bystanders may be struck by a forklift and dragged underneath, or they may be crushed under a forklift or under the load. For instance, heavy boxes on a forklift pallet tip over and land on a bystander’s leg, causing devastating injuries. Such accidents tend to occur due to mistakes in loading the boxes on the pallet and mistakes in handling the load (i.e., forklift operator makes a turn too quickly or raises/lowers the pallet too quickly).
Forklift Accident Lawsuits
Individuals who are injured in forklift accident lawsuits may be able to obtain financial compensation for their injuries and economic damages. If the accident occurred during the course and scope of employment, the individual may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Otherwise, the injured individual may have a valid claim against the owner/operator of the forklift. In addition, depending on the facts and circumstances, there may be other valid claims against the forklift manufacturer and/or a forklift maintenance company. These types of claims may also be available to a worker who was injured in a work related accident (i.e., in the course and scope of employment). In other words, an injured worker may file both a workers’ compensation claim and a separate negligence claim.
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