CASE EXPLAINED: FORKLIFT ACCIDENT CLAIM
One of the most common types of accidents in warehouses are forklift truck accidents. There are many causes of forklift truck accidents:
- lack of attention, careless or dangerous driving – routine tasks are always subject to greater risk, after hours of work when it may be more difficult to pay attention to all aspects of the job;
- lack of appropriate training on the usage of forklift equipment – every warehouse has its own internal regulations and common ways of working, therefore training is always necessary;
- driving without a forklift qualification – it might be surprising but there are cases where non- qualified employees are driving forklift trucks. Pallets or cages are often moved around by staff who are not aware of safety rules and common risks, which can be very dangerous;
- not securing the load properly, or driving with an imbalanced load, may cause the forklift truck to topple over, or for the load to fall on someone;
- driving with an obstructed view may cause the driver to hit another employee, or other objects in the warehouse that may fall and injure someone;
- uneven surface – it is not uncommon to deal with cases where, due to bumps or holes in the floor, the forklift truck driver sustains a minor back injury or other soft tissue injuries;
- trucks that are not maintained properly, or are damaged – if the truck is not maintained properly, or has been fixed by an unqualified worker, there is always a risk of an accident. In one case, an employee used cardboard to fix a broken plastic component part of a forklift truck. Our client, who was not aware of the “fix”, and had an accident as the forklift truck did not operate correctly and caused an accident;
- lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – employees may not have been provided with a high visibility jacket and the forklift truck driver has been unable to see them.
The first question an injured person should ask, when an accident at work happens, is whether the employer could have done something to avoid the accident.
The employer is liable for health and safety in the workplace, and their obligations include as follows:
- maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment in accordance with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998;
- provision of training to minimise the risk of forklift truck accident injuries, and to ensure employees are prepared to perform the work safely in accordance with the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992;
- compliance with the guidance published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use: Approved Code of practice. This guidance sets the minimum standard for the industry.
Employers are ‘vicariously liable’ for the acts of their employees. This means that if an employee does something unsafe that causes an accident, the employer will usually be liable for the actions of this employee.
Every employer should buy employer’s liability insurance and public liability insurance. We contact employer’s insurance companies directly in order to claim for personal injury compensation.
WHAT WE DO
We are experts in accident at work claims, with staff who have been dealing with these types of cases for over 20 years.
If the employer does not admit liability for the accident, one of the first things we do is to request that the employer disclose all evidence that they have that is relevant to the accident. The employer has a legal duty to disclose all relevant documentation. This may include training records, risk assessments, details of the system of work, and accident report/ investigation documents. If the incident was caused by the machinery rather than the operator, we ask for details of the maintenance and inspection records for the forklift truck.
When we have access to all the evidence, we consider the merits of the case with the client. We look at whether there are prospects of taking the case to Court, in order to recover personal injury compensation and any other losses. If we decide that the claim has prospects, we then issue Court proceedings and the cost of this will be covered by the non-win no-fee agreement.
If you want us to assess your claim for injuries arising from a forklift truck accident, please contact us on 0161 639 0399
You can also find more information about the injury claim process here.
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