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Forklift trucks are crucial for logistical operations but can pose a costly danger to employees and pedestrians within the workplace. An average of five people per day are injured by forklifts, with 1,300 people being hospitalised each year. Because of this, forklifts have been deemed the most dangerous form of transport within the workplace with 25% of all transport accidents in the workplace involving forklifts. Accidents involving forklifts can pose catastrophic injuries due to the heavy weight of the vehicle itself plus any additional load added onto forklift. The mechanics of forklift accidents can vary but one contributing factor often impacts the likelihood of an accident – lack of training. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are kept safe and must adequately train their employees how to use forklifts safely. Unfortunately, employers do not always invest the time to adequately train their employees which can result in accidents and life-changing injuries. Common injuries include complex bone fractures, deglovings and amputations.

Employers’ duty of care

Employers liability claims are often a result of the employer breaching their duty of care to their employee. All employers have a legal duty to ensure that the working environment is safe, they must do this by:

  • Abiding to health and safety laws and regulations
  • Giving correct training
  • Supervising employees and carrying out risk assessments regularly
  • Providing PPE
  • Keeping machinery and work equipment maintained and safe

When an employer neglects to keep the working environment safe and an employee becomes injured because of their negligence, the employee has the right to issue a claim for compensation.

Common types of accidents

Accidents can occur when a forklift tips or rolls over. This could be due to the weight of the vehicle being over-loaded or it may be due to the driver taking corners or going up hills too quickly. Pedestrian impacts are the most common type of forklift accidents often due to the forklift being overloaded to the extent that the driver’s visibility is impaired. It may be that the driver is fatigued therefore his attention is impaired. An impact with a forklift can be incredibly dangerous. A GSR client was unfortunately involved in a similar type of accident when a colleague hit him behind with a forklift that had been overloaded. Our client was left with soft tissue injuries to the lumbar spine and posterior pelvic region. We proved that the employer was liable for our client’s injuries due to the lack of training provided and due to not keeping a safe system of work. Our client was successfully awarded £7,988.50p in compensation for his injuries and a further £6,786.72p for his loss of earnings. We also ensured that our client was given the best rehabilitation and treatment for his injuries, the cost of which was met by the employers insurance company.

Other common types of forklift accidents include when a load falls off and onto a pedestrian or worker. This is mostly caused by incorrect and unsafe loading like having the load unbalanced or over-loaded. Once again, this could be avoided with adequate training. Additionally, sometimes the forklift itself is unsafe and unfit for purpose, as with any sort of vehicle, maintenance is crucial. Mechanical failures do occur such as the brake pads failing or tyres being worn thus creating a lack of grip to the ground. The employer has a duty to ensure that forklifts are regularly maintained and kept safe and fit for purpose. When this factor is neglected, the employer is liable for any injuries caused by an accident involving an unsafe or faulty forklift.

Compensation

Compensation varies for any type of injury, below is an overview of some common injuries and the rate of compensation eligible from less severe to severe.

  • Leg amputations: from £97,980 – £282,010
  • Arm injuries: from up to £12,590 to £130,930
  • Foot injuries: from up to £13,740 to £109,650
  • Head injuries: from £2,210 to £403,990
  • Psychological injuries: from £1,540 to £100,670

Special Damages

In addition to compensation for personal injury, an individual involved in a forklift accident may be owed additional special damages. Special damages include additional costs accrued because of the injury such as loss of earnings, prescription costs, damage to property, medical treatment costs (past and/or future) and care and assistance. If you’ve had to take time off work because of the injuries sustained in a forklift accident, you are owed the wages that you have lost even if you received sick pay.

The claims process

Most employers have employers liability insurance so when we make a claim on your behalf, we actually deal with the insurance company.  Once we obtain those insurance details, we will upload your claim to the claims portal. When the insurance company receive the claim, they have 3 months to investigate the claim before they make a decision on liability. When a decision has been made, we will begin to collate medical evidence; this can include obtaining medical records and arranging an appointment with a medical expert who will produce a report in support of your claim. The medical evidence is what we will use to value your claim. The medical expert may also recommend additional rehabilitation or treatment such as physiotherapy or may recommend that we refer you to another specialist such as a psychologist. After we have collated the medical evidence and valued your claim, we will start to discuss offers with the other side. We will also ask you about any special damages you may be owed such as lost wages, we will ask you to provide wage slips so that we may calculate your loss of earnings. We will provide evidence of special damages to the other side for their consideration also. When an offer has been put forward, we will discuss this with you and providing you feel the offer is appropriate we will accept it on your behalf.

Why choose GSR Solicitors?

  • Personal Injury experts
  • No Win, No Fee, with No Hidden Costs
  • Awarded Best Top-Rated Personal Injury Solicitors in Preston 2022
  • Awarded Best Nationwide Personal Injury Law Firm 2022 by the Northern Enterprise Awards 2022.
  • Client driven and dedicated

We will deal with your claim on a no win, no fee basis so you don’t need to worry about any costs. To get started, simply fill in our contact form and someone from our team will be in touch for a free consultation. Or can also call 01772 356201 or email team1@gsrsolicitors.com.


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