Forklift trucks are a great way to move and stack heavy loads in warehouses, building sites or distribution centres. When used correctly, they can make businesses much more efficient. However, when things go wrong, they can lead to serious injuries to staff, visitors and members of the public. As such, in this article on claiming compensation for a forklift truck accident, we’re going to review when you might be entitled to compensation and how to claim it.
If you are thinking about claiming, we have expert personal injury solicitors who can help. A claims advisor will start off by reviewing your case for free and explain your options during a free initial consultation. If it looks like you might be entitled to compensation, we’ll connect you with one of our personal injury solicitors who can file your forklift accident claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. As a result, there won’t be any solicitors fees payable in advance. Furthermore, there won’t be anything to pay unless you’re paid compensation for your injuries.
You can call our advisors now on 0800 652 1345 if you’d like to discuss your chances of being compensated right away. Alternatively, we’ll provide more information on forklift accident claims throughout the rest of this article.
Can I claim compensation for a forklift truck accident?
It’s important to note that you might be able to claim compensation for a forklift truck accident in many different scenarios. That means drivers, employees, visitors or members of the public could all decide to take action if they’ve been injured from a forklift accident.
For a personal injury lawyer to take on your case, they’ll usually ask three main questions:
- Were you (the defendant) owed a legal duty of care by the defendant (usually a business)?
- Did a negligent act lead to a forklift accident (meaning the duty of care was broken)?
- Did you sustain injuries in the accident?
If you have answered yes to all three questions, you could be entitled to compensation. It might not be immediately obvious whether you were owed a duty of care or not. Various laws can be used to establish this and your solicitor will check which is relevant in your case. For example, employers have a duty of care to try and keep staff safe while they’re at work because of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Evidence can be used to help prove points 1 and 2 so we’ll spend some time explaining what can be used later on.
Forklifts and employers’ duty of care
The Health and Safety Executive has a very clearly defined duty of care to all employees whether the employment involves forklift trucks or not. The general duty of care is a legally binding agreement ensuring that all employees are:
- Fully trained.
- Receive the appropriate safety equipment.
- Experienced in the actions required.
- Only allowed to operate well-maintained machinery.
- Made aware of all working and safety procedures.
The vast majority of potentially dangerous situations regarding forklift trucks and other transport vehicles are covered in the following acts of Parliament:
- Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
- Rider-Operated Lift Trucks: Operator training and safe use: Approved Code of practice and guidance.
These are specific acts of Parliament associated with areas such as workplace transport which are also complemented by traditional Health and Safety Executive regulations. If an employer is found to have flouted regulations and neglected their duty of care to employees, contractors and visitors to their site, there is every chance they could be found negligent and liable to pay compensation.
At this point, it is also worth noting that even if the injury was the result of negligence by a fellow employee it is still the employer who may be liable in the eyes of the law.
Safe site design for the use of forklift trucks
Where forklift trucks and other vehicles are used in the workplace it is vital that hazards and risks are reduced as much as possible. In many cases, this will involve a specially designed workplace that will effectively segregate vehicles and workers, contractors and visitors. There will obviously be crossover situations but these need to be clearly signed and rights-of-way clearly defined.
Speed limits should also be clearly marked within the workplace, and any outdoor areas, where transport vehicles are used. In some circumstances, evidence that an employer has fulfilled their duty of care could negate potential liability if an employee driving a forklift truck ignored speed limit warnings causing an accident, etc.
Forklift traffic routes
It goes without saying that where forklift trucks are involved there should be sufficient space to move in a safe manner. Over the years we have seen many issues with regards to uneven surfaces, cluttered workplaces and even spillages which can cause slips, trips and falls for employees and often endanger those driving forklift trucks. It is therefore essential there should be extended visibility at all times, no sharp bends, no blind corners and all routes should be clearly defined.
It is worth noting that the signposts used in the workplace should be exactly the same as those used in the Highway Code.
Accidents involving forklift truck drivers
There are several ways in which accidents involving forklift trucks can happen. As a forklift driver, you may be able to claim compensation for accidents caused by:
- A defective, poorly maintained or faulty forklift.
- Incorrect, wrong, or inadequate training at work.
- Unsafe working conditions. For example, if you had an accident in a forklift because the warehouse surface was uneven or full of potholes.
- Tiredness after working too many hours or because you weren’t allowed sufficient rest breaks.
- A lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Whatever caused you to be injured as a forklift driver, if someone else’s negligence was the cause you could be entitled to compensation so please contact our team for their expert opinion.
Other forklift accidents you could be compensated for
Other types of forklift truck accident compensation claims may include those caused by:
- If a forklift crashes into racking, shelving or stockpiles that fall onto you.
- Where you’re hit by a forklift because it was being driven recklessly.
- If you were injured because a forklift driver failed to sound the horn when entering a blind corner.
- Where you were trapped by a forklift and the driver hadn’t received proper training.
- Where a forklift spilt its load onto you because it was overloaded or unbalanced.
Please call our personal injury claims advisors if you were injured in a similar scenario to find out if you have a claim.
Common injuries caused by forklifts
It would be difficult to list every potential injury that could be suffered following a forklift truck accident. As such, we’ve added a list of common injuries that could lead to a forklift accident compensation claim. They include:
- Crush injuries.
- Blunt force trauma.
- Concussions, brain injuries and other head injuries.
- Broken bones.
- Torn ligaments and tendon damage.
- Psychological damage (anxiety, PSTD, depression etc.).
- Bruises and soft tissue injuries.
- Back injuries.
Regardless of the type of injury or forklift accident you’ve been involved in, we could help you to claim compensation. So long as your injuries can be attributed to someone else’s negligence, we could help you to take action. To explain what’s happened with an advisor, call us today for a free claim review.
How much compensation for a forklift accident?
The process of calculating compensation for a forklift accident can be quite complex. There’s a lot to think about and you can’t just suggest an amount of money you’d be happy to accept.
Compensation is based mainly on how severe your injuries are and the suffering you’ve endured (general damages). Then there’s compensation for any costs your injuries have caused (special damages). So, if you do decide to make a claim, any payout could be based on:
- The pain and suffering your injuries and treatment caused.
- Any impact your injuries have had on your family or social life (loss of amenity is explained here).
- Lost income if your injuries stopped you from working.
- Future loss of income for longer-term injuries.
- Care*, travel and medical expenses (including rehabilitation costs).
- Changes to your vehicle or home if your injuries will cause long-term disability.
It’s important to assess the value of your forklift truck accident claim properly rather than rushing to accept an early settlement offer. That’s because, if you do decide to settle, you won’t be able to request further compensation later on. If your claim is taken on by one of our solicitors, they’ll review your case thoroughly to try and make sure you don’t lose out on any compensation you’re entitled to.
*Even if you didn’t need a professional carer, your solicitor could calculate a value for the time a relative or partner spent helping you during your recovery.
To find out more, call us now on 0800 652 1345.
Will I get the sack for making a forklift truck accident claim?
If you decide to take action following a forklift truck accident at work, there shouldn’t be any need to worry about facing disciplinary action. Legally, you can’t be treated any differently for making a legitimate claim.
That means you could claim for unfair or constructive dismissal if your forklift accident claim means you are sacked, demoted, singled out or refused training opportunities.
Providing proof for forklift accident claims
Any type of forklift accident claim for personal injury compensation will require proof to show who caused the incident and how you were injured. This is necessary because most claims are handled by insurance companies who won’t pay anything out unless it’s clear why their client was responsible. To support your claim, you could use:
- Accident reports. Accidents involving forklift trucks will need to be recorded in an accident report book. They may also be logged under RIDDOR regulations and investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These reports could be obtained and used to show what happened.
- Photographic evidence. Where you are able to do so safely, you should try to take pictures of the accident scene as soon as possible.
- Witness information. Anyone who saw the forklift accident happen could be asked to provide a statement of what they witnessed. For that reason, you should ask for their contact details before they leave the scene.
- CCTV recordings. Another way to show what happened is to provide security camera footage. Data protection laws allow you to request any relevant recordings but do so quickly as they will usually be deleted in less than a month.
- Medical records. If you weren’t taken to the hospital, you should make your own way there or visit your GP or a minor injuries unit. This will ensure you get proper treatment for your injuries. It will also mean you can ask for your medical records later on to show the extent of your injuries.
Another thing you can do is keep a diary of events during your recovery. This could be helpful if it shows when you couldn’t work, any costs you incurred and when you had to miss family or social events because you were injured.
Will I be required to undergo a medical assessment?
There is a requirement for a medical report to be produced in the majority of personal injury and forklift accident claims. If it’s required, your solicitor will try to book a local meeting with an independent medical expert. They’ll examine your injuries from the forklift accident during your appointment and talk to you about how you’ve been affected. After the meeting, they’ll send a report detailing your prognosis to everyone involved in the claim.
Fatal injury claims
Unfortunately, some forklift truck accidents do result in fatalities. At the time, you’re unlikely to have any thoughts about claiming compensation but it might be something you’ll consider later on. If you do decide to take action, we can help.
As well as claiming on behalf of the deceased’s estate, you could claim for any impact their death has had on you. For example, you could be compensated if you were dependent on the deceased’s income. Also, you could seek a bereavement payment as well as compensation for any costs such as funeral costs that you’ve incurred.
If you’d like us to help you claim for a fatal accident, please call today.
Does a time limit apply to filing a compensation claim?
You may already know that there are time limits that apply when filing a personal injury claim. Usually, you’ll need to claim within 3-years of the date of the forklift accident. This might be extended if you didn’t find out about your injuries until a later date i.e. if you suffered brain damage from the accident.
We would always suggest that it’s a good idea to take action as soon as you can. That’s because there is a fair bit for your solicitor to do prior to sending your claim to the defendant. This includes collecting evidence, contacting witnesses and arranging medical reports.
Additionally, they could ask the defendant to make an interim payment if you’d benefit from private medical treatment to speed up your recovery. This is only possible where the claim hasn’t been finalised but the defendant has already admitted liability.
No Win, No Fee claims
If your case is suitable, one of our personal injury solicitors might agree to process your forklift truck accident claim for you on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means they won’t ask to be paid upfront and you’ll only have to cover the cost of their work if you are paid compensation.
The formal name for this type of contract is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). You’ll receive a copy to sign if you decide to proceed. Within the CFA, you’ll find an explanation of what the solicitor will do for you and when they would need to be paid.
Essentially, you’ll only pay the solicitor’s ‘success fee’ if you receive a compensation payment. The success fee is listed in the CFA and it can be up to 25% of your compensation.
Start a forklift accident claim today
We hope we’ve shown when you could claim compensation for a forklift truck accident and how we can help. If you’d like to work with us, you can get in touch on 0800 652 1345 for your free case review. If your claim is accepted, your solicitor will manage everything for you on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If you have any further questions about forklift accident claims, please use live chat to get in touch.