Forklifts are common vehicles in many professions. However, just because they are common does not mean they are easy to operate or safe to be around. Forklifts require proper training and experience to use correctly and safely. Yet even with adequate training and years of sitting behind the wheel, a licensed operator’s carelessness, recklessness, or simple mistake can cause a forklift accident and cost you your health and ability to work.
If you were injured in a forklift accident and now have medical bills and fewer wages to cover your household expenses, call our Wisconsin workplace accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC as soon as possible. We will help you determine your right to compensation through a workers’ compensation or third-party personal injury claim.
Call us today at (715) 343-2850 and we will begin evaluating your forklift accident claim.
Common Causes of Forklift Accidents
Forklifts can cause serious accidents that result in devastating injuries. Common forklift injuries include back and spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, head injuries, polytrauma, broken bones, and catastrophic injuries. When these injuries occur, medical treatment is often needed immediately.
Although some forklift operators are well trained, sometimes they make mistakes. Some of the most common causes of forklift truck accidents include:
- Lack of training and certification for forklift operators
- Lack of proper vehicle attachments and accessories for the work tasks
- Lack of maintenance
- Operating a forklift at too great of a speed
- Improper backing up, turning, or other maneuvers
- Over- or improperly loading the vehicle
- Operating a forklift with the load elevated
- Lack of training for employees working around forklifts
- Lack of warnings and markings regarding forklift zones
- Allowing others to ride on the vehicle
- Improper workplace design for forklift operations
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage
Wisconsin requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. However, whether an employer is required to buy this protection for its employees depends industry-specific rules. In general, employers with three or more full- or part-time employees must carry workers’ compensation that is available immediately to all employees. This ensures that when workers like you are hurt while on the job, you have somewhere to turn immediately to ensure your medical care is covered and that you receive a portion of your lost wages while you are out of work due to recovering or a disability.
If you are injured in a forklift accident and covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then you have the right to file a claim for medical and wage benefits. You will not have to prove another worker or your employer was negligent to receive treatment and compensation.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Once you are injured in a forklift accident, you should report the incident and injuries to your employer. If you were not aware of the injury for a time, you should tell a supervisor about it once you realize you are hurt or have been diagnosed by a physician. You should not take more than 30 days to report your injuries, whether you are aware of them at the time of the accident or later. However, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for up to two years following an accident. After informing your employer, it is required to tell its workers’ compensation insurance carrier of your injury within seven days, enabling your claim to be reviewed quickly so that you receive benefits as soon as possible.
Potential Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Once the insurance carrier is informed of your claim and has a chance to review the situation, it is then responsible for covering your necessary and appropriate medical expenses and paying out any other benefits you are entitled to, such as:
- Wage loss benefits
- Temporary total or partial disability
- Permanent total or partial disability
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vocational training
If the workers’ comp insurance provider denies your claim or does not pay you the benefits you believe you deserve, contact a Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney at Studinski Law, LLC right away. You do not have to accept the insurance carrier’s decision without a fight. You do not have the right to sue your employer for compensation. However, you have the right to appeal and present evidence that you deserve workers’ compensation benefits based on a work-related injury.
Third-Party Liability After a Workplace Accident
You may have been hurt in a forklift accident caused by someone other than your coworker. If the person who caused the incident and your injuries was a third-party from outside of your company, such as an independent contractor, an employee of a business on the same work site, or a pedestrian who came on to your worksite, then you may have the right to pursue compensation from them through a personal injury claim.
There is no automatic right to compensation through a personal injury claim related to a workplace accident. During this type of legal claim, you will have to prove negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. With the help of our experienced workers compensation lawyers, you can gather evidence of the other person’s fault and liability.
Contact Our Wisconsin Forklift Accident Lawyers Today
After suffering injuries in a forklift accident, it is up to you to fight for the compensation you deserve either through a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. By working with us at Studinski Law, LLC, you have a lawyer on your side to fight for your compensation. If someone who is not your employer or co-employee was involved, we can help you move forward with a third-party claim.
Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a time to discuss your situation.