Eligibility for workers’ compensation after a forklift accident in Georgia
Forklifts save workers a LOT of manual work, which is why they are commonly found in a wide range of industries and jobsites—including warehouses, construction sites, mining, manufacturing and transportation. Despite being useful, forklifts are a significant cause of accidents and injuries on the job.
Accident statistics show that about 62,000 forklift-related accidents happen each year. The accidents result in approximately 35,000 serious forklift injuries, and the accidents cause about 100 deaths per year.
If you’ve been hurt due to a forklift accident, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away to receive the maximum benefits available to you.
Causes of forklift accidents
According to regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (more commonly known as OSHA), forklift operators should be well-trained and be at least 18 years of age. Following these rules more closely would reduce forklift accidents by an estimated 70 percent. However, not all employers comply with the regulations, which has led to an increase in forklift injuries.
These are some of the main causes of forklift accidents:
- Lack of training. A forklift is a complex machine, and operators need proper training. Even if the operator had undergone training before, they could cause forklift accidents if not trained on the specific device. Even forklift machines operate differently; some are electric, while others use propane. It’s recommended that companies retrain forklift operators every 3 years to avoid forklift accidents.
- Improper loading. When a forklift isn’t loaded correctly, it can easily tip over. When this happens, it can end up crushing the driver or people who are passing by. Improper loading has caused about 42 percent of forklift accidents.
- Impaired operation. The forklift operator can be well-trained, but when they operate the machine under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they quickly cause forklift accidents.
- Lack of safety measures. Forklifts need safety measures like seat belts, lights, handles and overhead guards. Lack of safety measures is another major cause of forklift accidents.
- Forklift collisions. When vehicles and forklifts congest the working site, 2 forklifts can collide and cause an accident. A forklift could also hit a car at the site, and this happens when the drivers fail to follow traffic rules.
Common injuries caused by forklift accidents
Forklift accidents mainly affect people who work on or around the forklift. This can be through coming into contact with the forklift, being hit by a forklift at work, being stuck in the forklift’s moving parts or tripping and falling off the forklift when it is in motion.
The most common forklift injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Cuts and punctures
- Muscles strains and tears
Does workers’ compensation cover forklift accidents?
Workers’ compensation covers most forklift accidents because of the severe damages typically caused. Unlike other accidents that cause minor injuries, forklift accidents can be fatal or result in significant injuries. People working at the site or passerby can suffer substantial injuries when crushed or hit by the forklift.
The injuries may be life-threatening in many cases, and injured workers may be unable to return to work. In cases where the forklift crushed someone, the limbs might need amputation, or they might result in permanent nerve damage. Because of the severity of forklift injuries, it is vital for workers affected to seek legal help on how to get compensation right away.
What benefits are available for workers injured by forklifts?
Workers’ compensation offers many benefits to workers injured in forklift accidents, including paying the medical bills, paying a portion of the lost wages and temporary/permanent disability payments. Even if you’re responsible for the accident, you may still receive compensation.
Is a workers’ compensation attorney necessary?
Whether you received the forklift injury because the employer failed in safety, design defect or a freak accident, it would be best to discuss your legal options with a workers’ compensation attorney.
An experienced attorney will help you have a successful outcome and file claims against the irresponsible employer or the forklift manufacturing company.
When can you sue a third party?
Depending on the cause of the forklift accident, the worker may sue a third party for more compensation. For instance, if the employer ensured proper maintenance of the forklift and provided proper safety measures, then the cause of the accident might fall back on the forklift manufacturer. This option isn’t available in all cases, though.
The manufacturer has to ensure the forklift is well-designed to avoid accidents. Also, the premises owner has to ensure the work area is safe and has no hazards that might lead to accidents. If the condition of the work premises causes a forklift accident, the workers may have a legal basis to sue the third party.
Forklifts are very useful in various industries, but mishandling them might cause accidents that result in severe injuries. When workers are injured in forklift accidents, they can benefit from workers’ compensation with the help of a work injury attorney.