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Forklifts are one of the most commonly used vehicles at the workplace. They are an ideal way to transport large volumes of extremely heavy inventory within a warehouse or a manufacturing plant. Because of the load that they carry, forklifts are often the cause of a number of accidents. It is estimated that close to 100 people die and thousands more are injured every year due to forklift related accidents.
Employers in most parts of the developed world are required by law to provide compensation insurance to employees who are involved in such jobs. These employees are entitled to receive compensation from the insurance company despite who was at fault. In addition to this, depending on the kind of accident, the injured employee is also entitled to a personal injury claim if the accident was caused by an erring manufacturer or contractor. However, most workplace contracts restrict the injured employees from suing the employer for additional compensation over and above what is offered by the insurance cover.
The employee is free to sue the forklift manufacturer for defective product. But do note that you will have to prove the defect which is going to be difficult. It is always advisable to follow all the safety guidelines provided with the forklift while handling it. In addition to periodic inspection, as an employee who could be at the receiving end of a potential accident, always make it a point to identify any sort of damages to the vehicle and replace them with new forklift seats and forks from reputed manufacturers.
Things To Do Initiate Claim
The first thing to do while you are injured from a workplace accident is to immediately bring this to the notice of your supervisor. It is also extremely important that you seek medical treatment for your injuries at the earliest. Following this, seek your supervisor’s guidance in filling up the appropriate injury reporting forms. You may always seek the support of your colleagues or family to get these documents done if you cannot do them yourself. While you may seek the quickest medical assistance, for long term rehabilitation, you may need to know from your employer if you have the right to choose a doctor. Many times, the employer may refer their own doctors to attend to your case who will determine your return-to-work status.
Rehabilitation may take several weeks in case of most forklift related accidents. If you are a regular employee, you are entitled to accident leave of up to 30 days in most cases. However, contract employees may have fewer luxuries depending on what is mentioned in their contracts. Always talk to a lawyer to know your rights and determine the course of action from there.
According to a report by the UTPB, workplace accidents cause a loss of over $150 billion every year in the United States. Insurance forms a major component helping these employees and their families get back on their feet post the accident. It is extremely important that the employee learns of their rights to insurance claim before taking up a job as a forklift operator.
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