Legal Steps to Take After a Forklift Injury

Legal Steps to Take After a Forklift Injury

San Diego waterfront for decades died in a forklift accident

Earlier this year, a longshoreman who had worked on the San Diego waterfront for decades died in a forklift accident after falling out of the machine. The forklift continued to move and ran over the victim, killing him instantly. Phillip Vargas was an experienced forklift operator and instructor who kept a copy of safety manuals in the bathroom, and his tragic death reminds us that accidents can happen to anyone.

This is just one story of a forklift accident out of thousands that happen every year. In fact, OSHA reports that nearly 35,000 workers are seriously injured and 85 workers die annually due to forklift accidents on the job.

Most often, fatal forklift accidents are a result of the forklift tipping over. Workers can also be crushed between a forklift and another structure, crushed between two forklifts, be struck or run over by a forklift, and less commonly, fall from a platform on the forks. Non-fatal forklift injuries commonly result in spinal cord injuries, severed limbs or digits, broken bones, and disfigurement. 

Regardless of how a forklift injury occurs, the days following such a traumatic workplace accident can be emotional and confusing. If you’ve been injured in a forklift accident on the job, it’s important to take legal action immediately to claim the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

Legal Steps to Take After a Forklift Injury

The first thing you should do after a forklift injury is to seek medical attention. Doing so has two benefits for your workers’ compensation claim: it starts a paper trail of your work-related injury and it shows that your injury was severe enough to require medical attention. Don’t worry about the cost of your emergency room visit. Your employer is legally required to authorize up to $10,000 worth of medical treatment within one working day of receiving your claim. 

As soon as you’re able, it’s important to begin the workers’ compensation process. In California, workers have 30 days from the date of an injury to file for workers’ compensation. Your employer will provide you with a DWC-1 claim form, which you will need to fill out with your information as well as details about your forklift accident. Be sure to keep a copy of this form for your records – it’ll be one of the most important documents in your workers’ comp case.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can review the details of your case. Depending on the circumstances of your forklift accident, you may have additional legal options outside of workers’ comp. For example, if a faulty machine or defective part contributed to your accident, a third-party injury lawsuit may be appropriate. A workers’ compensation attorney can dissect your case and inform you of your rights to fair and full compensation for your injuries.

Were you injured in a forklift accident? Contact a workers’ compensation attorney today.

Forklifts are extremely dangerous pieces of heavy equipment that are responsible for thousands of worker injuries every year. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, broken bone, severed limb, or another serious injury due to a forklift accident, it’s important to take prompt legal action and exercise your right to workers’ compensation. 

Workers’ comp is a “no-fault” system, which means you are entitled to medical treatment and disability benefits regardless of whether you were to blame for the accident. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you navigate the complex legal process that stands between you and a fair settlement for your forklift injury.

Call us today at (619) 528-9800 to schedule your free consultation.