The most common type of lift truck, or forklift, accident is an overturned forklift, which accounts for about 22 percent of forklift crashes according to the CDC. The next most common lift truck accidents are when a standing worker is hit by a forklift, representing 20 percent of accidents, being crushed by a forklift at 16 percent, and falling from a forklift at 9 percent.
Despite OSHA requirements for the safe use of lift trucks and many employers’ increased efforts at training, forklift accidents continue to be a problem for workers. From 2011 to 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 614 deaths involving forklifts nationally, and more than 7,000 injuries.
If you suffer a forklift injury or other accident at work, you should be eligible to receive worker’s compensation benefits in most cases. But in reality, many workers struggle to get their worker’s compensation claim approved for a variety of reasons. Supervisors may not be eager to report your accident and watch their insurance rates go up, while the insurance adjuster might be happy for any reason not to pay your claim.
Having an experienced worker’s compensation attorney on your side can help give you the best chance of making a successful claim. Attorney Ali Awad and the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm are ready to help file your worker’s compensation claim or appeal a denial. Our investigative team will compile evidence to support your case and ensure you meet all the deadlines. If you’re not sure how to handle your forklift injury, please call us for a free consultation.
What to Do After a Lift Truck Injury
Here are some important steps to take to help safeguard your rights to worker’s compensation benefits:
Report the Accident to Your Supervisor Immediately
Even if you’re embarrassed because you feel that you made a rookie mistake or weren’t paying attention, you should still report what happened, in writing, to your supervisor. Workers’ compensation should cover your injuries regardless of who was at fault (with few exceptions). Keep a copy of this report for your records.
If You’re Able, Take Pictures and Collect Evidence
It’s a good idea to take pictures of the accident scene, as well as write down the names and contact info of everyone who was present at the time. Chances are your employer will do their own evidence collection, starting with sending you for a drug and alcohol screening. An employee being under the influence at work is one of the possible situations where an employer may be legally exempt from covering a worker’s compensation claim.
Get Medical Attention for Your Injuries
Sometimes workers try to “tough it out” or think their injuries aren’t that concerning. Unfortunately, some injuries may not show symptoms immediately after an accident. If you find yourself in pain a day or two later, then file a worker’s compensation claim, your supervisor – and the insurance company – may question whether you were really hurt at work. They could suggest that your injuries occurred elsewhere and had nothing to do with your lift truck accident.
Under Georgia law, your employer has a right to choose the healthcare provider you see for a worker’s compensation claim, except in emergencies where you need immediate care. The HR department should provide you with either a list of six doctors to choose from, or the contact information for their healthcare management organization, which will assist you in locating a doctor for your injuries.
Prepare to File a Claim for Worker’s Compensation
You will need to file a form WC-14 with the State Board of Worker’s Compensation. While this sounds simple, there are many potential difficulties that may complicate your claim, including your employer’s hesitation regarding higher insurance rates. Your Georgia worker’s compensation attorney will walk you through the process and advise you on how to avoid some of the issues that may arise.
Having the assistance of an attorney will improve your odds of a fast approval for your claim, but occasionally a denial may happen. Often this is due to the employer’s assertion that they shouldn’t have to pay your claim for one of the following common reasons:
You were under the influence when the accident happened. If you believe your test results were wrong or showed a false positive, talk with your lawyer.
You were engaging in horseplay at the time of your accident. A mistake is one thing, but your employer may claim that you were reckless and failed to take your job seriously while using the lift truck.
You exaggerated your injuries and don’t really need time off work. It’s upsetting to hear this when you know how much pain you’re in, but your lawyer may be able to speak with medical experts and appeal the claim.
Your injuries are real, but they happened outside of work. Sometimes an employer may even claim you were injured before the forklift accident.
Pre-existing injuries or conditions. This can be complicated, because a pre-existing condition shouldn’t interfere with your access to worker’s compensation. However, your employer or their insurance carrier may claim that your symptoms are all due to your original issue, not your injury. Your attorney will work to show how your forklift injury worsened your pain or condition.
Your supervisor claims to have no knowledge of the accident. This is why we advise you to report the injury in writing, make a copy, and take pictures if possible.
You may also receive a denial for other, less common grounds. If your claim has been denied for any reason you believe is invalid, don’t talk to your boss about it. Instead, call your lawyer as soon as possible.
Third Party Claims
Most of the time, a forklift accident will be covered solely under worker’s compensation. However, we occasionally see situations where the injured party may have a third party claim against an entity other than their employer whose negligence caused or contributed to their injuries. For example, if you followed all safety regulations but an accident happened because of a defective component of the forklift, it’s possible you might have a claim against the manufacturer. Alternatively, if the lift truck was recently serviced and the maintenance company made an error that caused it to malfunction, you could have a claim against the maintenance company. If you suspect a third party error, let your Georgia forklift accident lawyer know right away.
Worker’s Compensation Claims and Retaliation
We’ve talked about situations where your employer doesn’t want you to file a worker’s compensation claim for your lift truck accident. Make no mistake, you have a right to worker’s compensation if you were hurt on the job. But sometimes an employer might make implied or overt threats. For example, they might suggest your position could be eliminated if their insurance premiums go up from too many worker’s compensation claims. Or they might threaten to fire you outright. They may even follow through if you do put in a claim, or they could simply make your life as difficult as possible by harassing you at work.
If any of these examples sound familiar, you may have experienced retaliation, which is illegal. In this situation, the best thing you can do is contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately for advice on how to proceed.
Contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Your Lift Truck Accident
If you have questions or concerns regarding a forklift accident or your right to worker’s compensation benefits, please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation. We’re happy to answer questions and advise you on the options for your forklift injury. Call today at 833-254-2923 or visit us online.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.