Although forklift equipment is extremely helpful when moving materials on the work site, it has also been the cause of a large number of accidents involving construction workers. OSHA estimates that around 680,400 accidents involving forklifts occur annually, injuring approximately 9,000 workers.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured By A Forklift?
It’s important that you seek medical attention for your injuries as quickly as you can. Document the incident and details surrounding it as completely as possible. Some work sites have surveillance that is available to obtain for those who have suffered injuries. This recorded video can capture the accident from time to time, and help those involved to seek compensation.
Before agreeing to workers’ compensation, it is important to first reach out to an experienced attorney to get support with the claims process and explore not just some, but all of your rights. Please note that once workers’ compensation is accepted, it revokes your right to sue your employer. If you have agreed to a workers’ compensation offering, you will only be able to explore 3rd party lawsuits with an attorney.
The Problematic Side Of Workers’ Compensation
Employers are heavily encouraged to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, which can be used to get financial support for that employee after they have suffered an injury at work. There are times when this type of support becomes your only choice, however, if other legal options are available to you, pursuing a lawsuit can provide you with significantly more compensation than workers’ compensation is able to.
4 Things You Didn’t Know About Workers’ Comp
- Workers’ compensation generally covers only 1/2 to 2/3 of a worker’s normal weekly paycheck. A lawsuit is typically able to provide more substantial and complete coverage for medical bills, punitive damages, experienced pain and suffering, and more.
- Workers’ compensation is a program run by the government, which requires that everything be fully documented and approved. It can take years to receive any money from the program, and you can spend significant time waiting for approval of necessary medical procedures.
- Workers’ compensation leaves no room for consideration of injuries outside of your physical ones, such as pain and suffering.
- Workers’ compensation can be denied rather than approved
Because employers make workers’ compensation available to their employees, an employee may be prevented from pursuing legal action. There are many variables that surround accidents occurring on work sites, however, which may enable you to sue a general contractor, the property owner, or a 3rd party. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you look into each of these avenues and fully evaluate the law as it pertains to your individual circumstances.
Ensuring Safety Upon Your Return To Work
Returning to work and hopping back on a forklift may sound like a very daunting option at the moment. There are safety tips and tricks that are recommended to prevent forklift injury in the future. While these accidents are not preventable 100% of the time, you can reduce your odds of additional injury by ensuring that:
- The forklift operator has always received complete training
- The area surrounding the forklift has been checked for debris and blockage, as well as slippery substances
- The controls of the forklift are kept clear and visible at all times
- Individuals on the work site maintain a safe distance from the forklift vehicle, and wear bright clothing
- Safety devices on the forklift have been checked to ensure that they are properly working
- The forklift is regularly inspected and evaluated with preventative maintenance to make sure that it is working properly, and, if defects are found, they are repaired before anyone operates the vehicle
- The forklift includes all additional tools needed for optimum operation of the vehicle
Common Forklift Accidents
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Many accidents take place because of workplace oversights or improper forklift operation:
- Employees struck and injured by forklift or dropped materials
- Employees crushed and injured when forklift becomes wedged or falls over
- Employees injured by falling from a platform on the forklift
- Employees injuries through forklift malfunction
- Employees injured by electrocution from forklift wiring
Additionally, many work sites can prove hazardous for safe and secure forklift operation, due to narrow pathways, many obstructions, debris, blind spots, slick conditions, and angled ramps.
What Will It Cost Me To Explore My Legal Options?
You’ve worked hard your entire life. But now, you’re injured. Should fear of legal cost prevent you from being able to secure all of the compensation you rightfully deserve? Absolutely not.
At Lipsig Law, we offer completely free and completely confidential case evaluations, for any injured victim who is trying to understand their options moving forward. Additionally, should you pursue litigation, we simply are not paid until we successfully settle or win your case for you. When everything else seems so complex, we work to keep things simple.