A forklift is a large, heavy machine that can pose serious dangers and hazards. While it’s a necessary part of day-to-day operations in warehouses, factories, on loading docks, and more, if it is not operated safely and if operators don’t have the proper training, serious accidents and injuries can occur.
Individuals can be injured while operating a forklift or when they pass it on foot. Based on when and where the accident occurs, an injured person’s claim for compensation will involve several different legal challenges. Because of this, it is smart to find and hire an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Georgia. At Hines Law, our legal team has handled many cases involving forklifts and can help provide you with the same quality representation you need and deserve.
What if You Are Injured by a Forklift When Visiting a Worksite or Location?
If you are injured after a collision with a forklift, you have the right to pursue damages from the person operating the forklift and the forklift operator’s employer. These types of incidents are common at home improvement stores and other types of big box stores where forklifts are commonly used for moving large or heavy merchandise.
Also, truck drivers who deliver and pick up items from warehouses may be run over by forklift drivers who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. Even though customers are present at big box stores, the forklifts are still commonly used at peak hours. In most cases, if an accident occurs, it’s due to the driver’s negligence.
Also, because there is a lot of pressure to keep things moving and to meet quotas, forklifts may be driven too fast close to loading docks, which is where truck drivers wait while their trailers are loaded with goods.
The Role of Duty of Care in a Forklift Accident Case
In cases where an injury was the result of negligence, it’s necessary for the at-fault party to be careful. This responsibility is called a duty of care. In a case that involves any type of forklift accident, the stores where they are being used have a duty to protect shoppers.
Also, warehouses should take steps to protect the visiting drivers. If the duty of care is not provided, and a driver doesn’t operate the forklift vehicle properly, restrain the load properly, or is negligent in some other way, the accident and injuries are the responsibility of the operator and the operator’s employer.
In these situations, individuals who are injured by a forklift while in a warehouse or store have the right to file a civil lawsuit in Georgia by alleging that the operator acted negligently in their role of protecting a visitor. It is worth mentioning that there are time limitations in these cases. Based on Georgia law, any case that alleges personal injury has to be filed in the court system within two years of when the accident occurred. This is referred to as the statute of limitations and is set by GA Code 9-3-33.
Does a Forklift Operator Have the Right to Pursue Compensation for Their Injuries?
If a forklift operator is injured while at work, they have two potential ways to recover damages. One option is workers’ compensation. This provides limited benefits to individuals who are injured while on the job. It’s best to work with a workers’ comp lawyer to know if you qualify for these benefits and to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must notify your employer of the incident and receive treatment as dictated by their insurance company. You can receive benefits for lost time at work, medical treatment, and permanent disabilities that occur.
The Role of Third Parties in Forklift Accident Cases
Another source of recovery is from a third party. One potential third party is the manufacturer of the forklift. Another is the maintenance company. In some cases, a truck driver may be held liable if they pull away from a loading dock while the forklift is still loading the trailer.
Let Our Legal Team Help with Your Case
Unfortunately, forklift accidents happen more often than many people realize. If you are injured because of a forklift, you have options. It’s best to get in touch with a workers’ comp lawyer from Hines Law for help with your claim and to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to.