Sadly, forklift trucks are a common cause of personal injury compensation claims. Their size and weight, coupled with their speed and the type of environments they’re used in, mean that any accident involving one tends to be serious.
But if you’re unfortunate enough to be injured in a forklift truck-related incident – either as a driver, a fellow employee or a site visitor – it can be hard to know exactly what your rights are.
Table of contents
- What type of accidents can lead to a claim?
- How do I know whose fault it was?
- What should I do after a forklift truck accident?
- What type of compensation could I be due?
- Let us help
- Questions and answers
What type of accidents can lead to a claim?
Forklift truck accidents can take many forms. Every case is different, but the basic rule is this: if you’ve suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s mistake or negligence, you may well be in a position to make a claim.
In our many years of dealing with forklift truck-related claims, these are some of the common scenarios that can lead to compensation.
- Careless, reckless or high-speed driving
- Colliding with another forklift truck
- Colliding with and knocking over stacked warehouse goods
- Directly hitting a nearby employee or visitor
- Malfunctioning or poorly maintained forklift truck
- Poorly stacked goods or pallets toppling over and injuring someone
- Driving over someone’s foot
- Causing a collision on a road or public highway
- Driving a forklift truck in adverse weather conditions
In all cases, including those not specified above, one of the key things to establish is responsibility for the accident. Whose fault was it?
How do I know whose fault it was?
There are strict regulations around health and safety in all UK workplaces.
Employers have an obligation to take all reasonable steps to keep their employees free from harm. In the case of forklift trucks, this includes regular maintenance of the vehicle, adequate driver training, an appropriately designed space for the vehicle to be driven in, and use of protective barriers where practical.
As a result, all sorts of underlying issues can be the root cause of a forklift truck-related accident, including those listed below.
- The driver involved is poorly trained or lacks the proper qualifications and license.
- The space in which the forklift truck is being operated is too small, too hazardous, or too bumpy and uneven.
- The truck has been dangerously overloaded and is carrying too heavy a weight, resulting in the vehicle tipping off balance.
- The truck is being operated in an area affected by a dangerous spillage.
- The truck lacks appropriate warning equipment, such as a reversing alarm and flashing lights.
- The load is so great, and stacked so high, that the driver is unable to see clearly where they’re going.
Of course, even in workplaces that are well run, with safely operated forklift trucks, accidents can still happen. This applies whether you’re on a construction site, in a warehouse, on a commercial yard, or somewhere else entirely.
As such, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether an accident was someone else’s fault. At Direct2Compensation we’ll always be happy to talk through your own situation, find out more about what took place, and give you fair and honest advice about your rights after being injured at work.
To do this, it helps to have as much information as possible about the accident.
What should I do after a forklift truck accident?
If you’ve been badly hurt, it goes without saying that your first priority should be your own immediate wellbeing. This might mean on-the-spot treatment, but never delay in calling an ambulance or heading to the nearest Accident & Emergency ward if needed.
You should officially report the accident to your employer at your earliest opportunity. Try to make sure there’s a detailed written record of what took place, most likely in your employer’s Accident Report book. Where, when and why did the incident happen? Avoid signing an Accident Report that seems inaccurate, or which you haven’t had a chance to read in full.
Where feasible, you should try to take photos of your injuries, of the location where the accident took place, and of the aftermath. If this is impractical, always try to ask someone else. It can also be helpful to gather statements from any witnesses, to back up your version of events. Take the contact details of these witnesses if necessary.
If, for whatever reason, it has proved impossible to make a written report, or to gather any photographic evidence, don’t panic. A well-managed claim would still stand a chance of success – but be sure, in all cases, to keep a proper record of any medical diagnoses you receive as a result of the accident.
With serious forklift truck accidents, the report should also be escalated to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Under the HSE’s Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (known as RIDDOR), your employer is obliged to report certain serious workplace accidents to the HSE.
What type of compensation could I be due?
As with all types of compensation claims, accidents involving forklift trucks are evaluated case by case. Courts will try to determine the impact the injury has had on your life. Successful claims tend to have two parts: general damages and special damages.
General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you’ve endured, as well as any loss of amenity, which covers your overall enjoyment of life. The court will take into account the severity of the injury, and the level of negligence of the third party.
Special damages compensate you for the impact the forklift injury has had on your working life. They cover things such as loss of earnings (including future earnings) caused by your injuries, as well as any other medical or transport expenses you’ve incurred as a result.
It’s vital that you can show these expenses, so always keep receipts for any hospital car parking tickets, petrol costs, taxi fares, rehabilitation or physio treatments, and prescription charges.
Let us help
Might you be in a position to make a claim for a forklift truck accident? You’re in safe hands with Direct2Compensation. Our advice is always honest, our claims process is transparent and effective, and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with our no-win, no-fee approach.
To find out more, or to start your claim today, call us on 01225 430285. If you prefer, we can call you back.. After just a few minutes on the phone, we’ll have enough information to allow our solicitors to get your claim started.