Can compensation for being injured by an overturned forklift truck be claimed against an employer for lifting excessive loads? I broke my collarbone when my forklift truck overturned after becoming unstable lifting a heavy load.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Can compensation for being injured by an overturned forklift truck be claimed against an employer for lifting excessive loads? I broke my collarbone when my forklift truck overturned after becoming unstable lifting a heavy load.

Answer:

In order to confirm your eligibility to make a claim for compensation for being injured by an overturned forklift truck you should speak with a personal injury solicitor. It will be necessary to assess your overturned forklift truck injury compensation claim to determine whether the forklift truck accident occurred primarily due to employer negligence. A claim for compensation for being injured by an overturned forklift truck will only be possible if your employer was primarily to blame and failed in his or her duty of care to protect you from harm.

If you were instructed to lift a pallet or load which was excessively heavy, it may have involved an unacceptable risk of injury. If your employer was aware that you were using the forklift truck outside of its safe operational limits and did nothing to stop this practice, this may constitute negligence and a claim for compensation for being injured by an overturned forklift truck could be possible.

Proper training should also have been provided on the correct and safe way to lift heavy loads using a forklift truck. Employers may provide training on how to drive a forklift truck; however it is not simply a case of learning how to use the controls. Staff must be fully aware of the limitations of forklift trucks and should be instructed on the lifting capacity of each specific vehicle and the safe stacking heights. It is also an employer’s responsibility to ensure that forklift truck drivers are competent and capable of performing lifting operations safely. Failure to provide adequate training or to ensure you were competent enough to perform tasks unsupervised is grounds for claiming compensation for being injured by an overturned forklift truck if you sustained an injury as a direct result.

An employer is legally bound to conduct regular risk assessments in the workplace and must take all reasonable and practical steps to reduce the risk of injury to staff. If very heavy loads were required to be lifted, an employer must make sure that those loads fall within the forklift truck manufacturer’s recommended lifting limit. Failure to ensure that working practices are safe is negligence on the part of your employer, and a claim for overturned forklift truck injury compensation will be possible.

Although an employer should be aware of the risks in the workplace, employees also have a responsibility towards their own personal safety and that of their colleagues. If a working practice is believed to be dangerous, it is an employee’s responsibility to raise concerns to the management. By failing to report potentially dangerous activities and bringing these to an employer’s attention, it may be unrealistic to expect the employer to have been able to take action to prevent an accident. Because there are many factors such as this that can affect eligibility to claim compensation for being injured by overturned forklift truck it is essential that you speak about your forklift truck accident claim with a personal injury solicitor.