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Forklift Injures Worker Due to Inadequate Brake Mechanism

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on June 26, 2017

This case involves a worker who was injured by a forklift. The plaintiff, a forty-four-year-old male, was using a forklift to transport materials and parked the forklift in between two others on a small incline. The plaintiff set the parking brake, which had not been adjusted in over three years. The parking brake was an Orchelan-style brake that could be adjusted, but, due to neglect, was severely out of adjustment. The forklift had a small seat in the back, and the plaintiff regularly ate lunch while sitting there. While he was eating, the parking brake became disengaged and the forklift rolled backward. Because of its proximity to another forklift located directly behind it, both of the forklifts collided and crushed one of the plaintiff’s legs. In order to partially repair the leg, the plaintiff required eight surgeries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What is your experience with the braking systems of forklifts?

Expert Witness Response E-006352

I have extensive experience with all aspects of forklifts, including their design, production, and use. I have been heavily involved in product design and manufacturing, and given the failure of the parking brake, it appears that the malfunctioning braking system was a result of negligent maintenance. Most manufacturers advise companies to regularly check and adjust those systems, specifically when the forklifts are used often. By examining the exact model of the forklift, the average amount of hours used, the different users, and other facts related to its history, with my experience, I feel confident I can determine the errors which contributed to this accident.

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