As long as freight and heavy pallets of supplies need moving and sorting, forklifts will always be a vital part of any warehouse, yard, or cross-dock environment. They’ve made the lives so of so many workers easier by reducing the amount of strenuous labor necessary to accomplish the same amount of work.
But on the other end, the presence of such heavy equipment in the workplace poses a serious risk to worker safety if the person operating the lift doesn’t adhere to proper protocol. Most forklifts are heavier than the average car, and even though most have their speeds capped to reduce damage and harm, they can still cause substantial injury or death.
So what should you do if you’re injured because of a forklift accident at your work site? Let’s break down your potential workers’ compensation options.
Workers’ Compensation or Premises Liability?
It’s important here to distinguish between workers’ compensation and premises liability.
Put simply: You’re entitled to workers’ compensation the moment you’re injured on the job, even if you or a coworker—and not the employer or the owner of the facility—was actually responsibly for your injury. If yours was merely an issue of premises liability, finding liability in the owner of an establishment would be more difficult in this scenario.
In addition, the law requires that only trained workers can operate forklifts. This adds an extra layer of responsibility for the employer, since they must guarantee every forklift operator they employ is legitimately certified to operate heavy machinery.
All this is to say that if you’re injured due to a forklift on the job, you’re almost certainly entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, every case is different, and there are always exceptions to the rule. If you’re wondering whether you may be eligible for benefits, an Indianapolis workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help.
Doing Your Part
In order to get the benefits to which you’re entitled, you must do your part to communicate to your employer and health care provider that the accident occurred on the job and that it caused injury resulting in you requiring medical attention.
An accident report is the most surefire, detailed way to go about this. Such a report must include the full extent of your injuries, how the accident happened, who was involved, where and when the incident occurred, and any medical attention you had to receive as a result of the accident.
With all these details in hand, you generally have 30 days to report your injury if you want to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Generally, workers’ compensation covers roughly two-thirds of your lost wages, and if your company offers workers’ compensation insurance, your medical bills fall under coverage as well, provided the insurance company approves of your doctor.
On top of that, if your injury is debilitating enough to cause disability, you may be entitled to a cash settlement or disability benefits.
Help from an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workplace safety is of paramount importance, and you shouldn’t have to worry about your work environment failing to meet those safety standards at your expense. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job because of a forklift accident, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our Indiana worker’s compensation lawyers are here to help.