Compensation for Forklift Accidents and Injuries
The prevalence of accidents involving forklifts
If you read the newspapers on a regular basis it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the UK is a nation paralysed by health and safety regulations and stifled by a so called ‘compensation culture’. Extreme examples are used to create lurid headlines which pretend that the exceptions are the rule and, in the meantime, many ordinary men and women go about the day to day business of working for a living under considerable risk of suffering life affecting injury.
A good example of this kind of job is fork lift truck driving. According to figures released by the Fork Lift Truck Association, and drawn up using statistics compiled by the governments’ health and safety executive, an average of 43 people per week will be injured in fork lift truck accidents. A breakdown of this headline figure reveals 11 long term injuries such as amputations, 3 injuries to female workers and 20 accidents in which the injured party is actually a pedestrian. An even more shocking statistic is the fact that every six weeks one worker in the UK is killed in an accident involving a fork lift truck.
The legal duties of forklift truck operators
If you’ve been injured due to a mechanical failure involving a fork lift truck, whether you were operating the truck or just happened to be nearby, you may be able to claim compensation on the grounds that the truck hadn’t been maintained properly. Companies which operate forklift trucks are legally obliged to ensure that they are given a ‘thorough examination’ every 12 months. As well as checking basic factors such as the brakes and steering, an examination of this kind will also have to monitor the integrity of any lifting components, such as hydraulics, chains and forks. These examinations will have to be carried out in line with regulations known as PUWER 98 and LOLER 98.
Examinations of this kind have to be carried out at least once a year after the truck is 12 months old, and must be performed by a ‘competent person’, which is legally defined as:
- An experienced forklift truck engineer.
- An inspector with specialist knowledge, working for an insurance or equipment inspection company.
Having carried out the inspection, the company responsible for the fork lift truck has to keep written records of the results.
The sheer weight of regulation surrounding forklift trucks underlines just how dangerous they can be if not used properly. If you’ve been injured because any of the steps listed above were not taken, or were performed inadequately, then you may well be in a position to make a claim for compensation.
The environment in which the forklift truck is operating
The safety laws surrounding forklift trucks don’t only apply to the trucks themselves, but also to the areas in which the work is being carried out (such as factories, warehouses and shops). According to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999:
- Traffic routes should be organised so that pedestrians and vehicles can move safely.
- There needs to be enough light to allow safe movement.
- The floors and traffic routes being used should be suited to the purpose.
- Doors or gates should be fitted with transparent viewing panels, allowing a clear view of both sides when they are shut.
- Employers should carry out regular risk assessments and, if more than five people are employed, keep written records of any findings.
Eligibility for forklift accident compensation
Bearing all this in mind it’s clear that driving a fork lift truck is a dangerous and highly skilled task which requires the right amount of training and supervision. If you’ve been injured whilst operating a fork lift truck, or whilst close to a truck being operated by someone else, and feel that the training, supervision or the upkeep of the equipment were in any way below par then you’ve been the victim of negligence and may be able to make a no win no fee claim for fork lift accident compensation.
Making a successful claim for forklift injury compensation
Winning a claim for compensation consists of proving that the accident in question took place as a result of someone else’s negligence, and that it resulted in you suffering a personal injury. You may have been the person operating the truck, or you could have been a visitor to a shop or warehouse in which fork lift trucks operate, but the principle is still the same – if you’ve suffered and it wasn’t your fault then you shouldn’t have to carry on suffering. Any employer has a duty to ensure that both workers and visitors can move about their premises safely, which may mean keeping the area in which fork lift trucks operate separate. If they fail in this duty then they should expect nothing less than to be held to account, and one clear and simple way of doing this is to claim for compensation.
If you’ve been injured in an accident of this kind, and feel that you may be in a position to claim compensation, then call us on 0800 234 6438 for free, no obligation legal advice. We’ll take down the details of your case and give an honest evaluation of your chances of winning compensation. Since we operate on a no win no fee basis we only make money out of the cases we win, which means we only pursue those which are the strongest. It doesn’t matter if you’ve fallen from a fork lift truck, been hit by one, had one drop its’ load on you or any other scenario, if someone else was to blame, they should be the ones paying the price.
No reputable injury lawyer will make a concrete promise of a certain amount of compensation, but we will be able to give you a rough estimate. The final amount will be a combination of compensation based on the type and severity of your injuries, and a secondary amount designed to reimburse you for any money you’ve had to pay out as a direct result of your accident, such as medical bills or travel expenses. You will also be compensated for any wages you lose both now and in the future. An accident of this kind may leave you so badly injured that you have to get a different job or stop working altogether, and it’s really not right that you should have to shoulder the burden of a reduced standard of living on top of everything else.