While the use of forklifts in the workplace has been commonplace for many years, the introduction of huge amounts of warehouse storage has led to an increase in the use of such vehicles. Unfortunately, this has resulted in numerous forklift truck accidents and varying degrees of injury.
If you have been the victim of a forklift accident at work, then you may well have a claim for compensation.
Forklift accidents in the workplace can often result in life-changing injuries and even fatalities. As a consequence, we have seen a tightening of regulations in recent years and a greater onus placed on employers to improve safety.
If you believe that your employer was negligent and as a consequence, you were injured, you should take professional advice.
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How Common Are Forklift Accidents at Work?
You may be surprised to learn that there are around 8000 forklift accidents in the workplace each year. Thankfully, the vast majority result in relatively mild injuries, although there have been a number of fatalities.
A mixture of health and safety regulations and the financial consequences of negligence has certainly focused the minds of employers with forklift accidents thankfully declining in recent years.
What Are the Most Common Types of Injuries Associated With Forklift Accidents?
While many people have the idea that forklift vehicles are relatively small and compact, they can be relatively large and very heavy. Therefore, the range of potential injuries is extensive and includes:-
- Head injuries
- Crush injuries
- Back injuries
- Arm injuries
- Leg injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Injuries to internal organs
- Loss of limbs
It is important to recognise that even relatively small fork-lift vehicles can be very heavy and capable of causing serious injuries – not only to drivers but also others in the vicinity.
What Are the Common Reasons for Forklift Accidents?
Forklift accidents can occur from a number of reasons often dependent upon the type of business and the working environment.
However, some of the more common reasons for forklift accidents include:-
- Badly maintained vehicles
- Lack of protective equipment
- Use of inappropriate vehicles
- Failure to repair/replace safety guards
- Inadequate employee training
- Lack of warning signs
When looking at the above list, there is one thing that stands out, the vast majority of these issues can easily be addressed. Therefore, failure to do so could be deemed negligent and leave employers open to potential claims for compensation.
What Are the Most Common Forklift Accidents?
Now we have an idea of the common reasons for accidents in the workplace; we will now take a look at the more common types of forklift accidents which include:-
- Collisions with members of staff
- Failure to secure loads – resulting in falling items
- Toppling forklifts due to an uneven work surface
- Customers/members of public crushed due to lack of attention
- Vehicle collisions
Again, as with the common reasons for forklift accidents, it is not difficult to see how the above types of accident can be avoided.
Does My Employer Have a Duty of Care to All Employees?
Yes. When it comes to the use of forklift vehicles, there are a number of issues to take into consideration such as:-
- Specific and ongoing training regarding the use of forklift vehicles
- The provision of appropriate safety equipment
- Matching the experience of an individual with forklift vehicle activity
- The ongoing repair and maintenance of vehicles
- Focus on health and safety in the workplace
- The introduction of safety signage
- Appropriately designed workspace
- The use of traffic routes/one-way systems
Failure to fulfil their duty of care to all employees can leave employers open to claims of negligence and potential financial consequences.
How Do I Claim Compensation for a Forklift Accident at Work?
If you have received an injury as a consequence of a forklift accident at work, you should gather as much evidence as possible to support your potential claim for compensation.
This evidence might include:-
- Medical diagnosis
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Copy of vehicle maintenance/repair records
- Training records
- Evidence of unsafe workplace
- Timeline of events
In a perfect world, you would begin to collate the evidence immediately after the accident, but this is not always possible.
Is There a Time Limit on Pursuing Compensation?
There is a three-year time limit on pursuing compensation with the clock beginning to tick after you are officially diagnosed with an injury. It is important to note that the date of diagnosis will not necessarily be the date of the accident as some injuries may not be immediately obvious.
So, even if you are beyond the initial three-year window of opportunity, it is still worth taking professional advice from a claims management company.
Who Decides Whether I Have a Strong Case for Compensation?
When you approach a claims management company, they will review your evidence and details of your claim. Where they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer to take on your case often under a “no win no fee” arrangement.
This effectively removes the liability you have for any costs associated with pursuing your claim (which the claims management company will be able to reclaim from the defendant if successful). However, they will also look to negotiate a “success fee” which is a share of any compensation you receive.
What Type of Compensation Might I Be Able to Claim?
There are two specific types of compensation which are known as general damages and special damages. General damages are financial compensation for your pain and suffering. Special damages relate to costs already incurred, expected costs going forward, and other issues such as loss of earnings.
There is specific guidance for general damages, which are limited, but there is no such limit for special damages which can often be significantly more.
Aside from a general duty of care that all employers have towards their employees, there are numerous specific protections when it comes to the use of vehicles in the workplace. These include the upkeep of vehicles to training, the introduction of safety signage to traffic flow systems which ensure the safety of employees and customers and much more.
Failure to fulfil this duty of care can leave employers open to claims of negligence and potential compensation claims.
Quick Industrial illness & Disease FAQs
On average, your claims management company will look to negotiate a success fee of around 25%, although this can vary depending on the level of compensation received and duration of the case. This is something which needs to be agreed before the claims management company can pursue your claim.
Special damages are best described as recompense for costs incurred, future medical expenses and other elements such as loss of earnings. If you are unable to return to work as a consequence of an industrial disease/illness, and your employer is found negligent, then they may need to recompense you for loss of earnings.
If you were paying legal fees and costs yourself, this could run into tens of thousands of pounds depending on the type of claim and the duration. Thankfully, many claims management companies will offer a “no win no fee” arrangement if, after reviewing your evidence, they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success.
This effectively removes your liability to cover their costs when pursuing your case. In exchange, the claims management company will negotiate what is known as a “success fee”.
The pursuit of compensation for industrial diseases such as hearing loss should be done within a three-year window of opportunity. This window of opportunity begins on the first official diagnosis of your condition – not necessarily the event(s) which brought about the condition.
With issues such as hearing loss, which can worsen over a prolonged period of time, this is very important. We have seen cases where individuals have been diagnosed months and even years down the line, yet still been able to seek compensation.
How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making an Industrial illness Compensation Claim?
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Industrial illness Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries & illnesses they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.