Forklifts help many industrial workers easily lift and move objects that would be difficult to lift and move otherwise. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong, and an accident occurs, a forklift can make things much more difficult instead of easier. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that over 100 people are killed and 20,000 more are injured in forklift accidents every year.

If you were injured in a forklift accident, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under California law, as well as possible recovery for third-party liability. Find out what often causes such forklift accidents and how you can receive the benefits you deserve with the help of an Orange County worker’s compensation attorney.

Causes Of Forklift Accidents

A multitude of variables could lead to forklift accidents, some of which may or may not be preventable. Some include:

  • The operator speeding
  • Failure to enact or enforce safety procedures
  • Inadequate or insufficient operator training
  • Drowsy forklift operation
  • Operating a forklift while intoxicated
  • Distracted forklift operation
  • Forklift mechanical error
  • Forklift emissions poisoning

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that even if you made a mistake that led to a forklift accident, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer cannot deny you benefits if your error led to the accident and your injuries. On the other hand, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer based on its negligence under the workers’ comp system.

Possible Third-Party Claim

Many forklift accidents can be attributed to the fault of at least one person. If that person is a coworker or someone else associated with your employer, your main source of compensation will be workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the negligent party was a company or contractor outside your employer, you might be able to file an injury claim against them to seek additional compensation.

Often, forklift accidents happen due to defects and malfunctions. If a manufacturer sold a defective forklift, that company should be responsible for any injuries that resulted. For example, according to the University of Washington, forklift catalytic converters are supposed to reduce carbon monoxide emissions by at least 70 to 90 percent. Should that fail or another emission error occur, it could place multiple people at serious risk of suffering CO poisoning. This can lead to a third-party claim.

While workers’ compensation benefits cover your medical expenses and lost income, a third-party claim can add compensation for your pain and suffering and other losses.

Work with a Forklift Accident Lawyer

The right lawyer can:

  • Help you complete and file the paperwork associated with your workers’ compensation claim
  • Present evidence of your work injury and your losses
  • Help you calculate an accurate estimate of the benefits you need and deserve
  • Negotiate with insurance companies regarding your benefits
  • Appeal claim denials
  • Determine whether you might have a third-party claim in addition to your workers’ comp claim

Forklift accidents can result in serious injuries and losses, so it is important to stand up for your rights with the right legal assistance following an injury.