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Forklift truck accidents at work claims

If a forklift truck is poorly maintained, or lack the proper training to ensure safe handling of the vehicle, and you suffer a injury as a result, you could be eligible to claim financial compensation.

Last updated on July 21st, 2021

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when making a forklift accident compensation claim

  • You can claim whether you were driving or injured by a driver
  • You generally have three years to make a claim
  • You will need medical records as supporting evidence
  • Your employer has a duty of care to keep you safe
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis.

Forklift compensation claims

The number of UK forklift accidents exceeds 1,000 each year. In workplaces where forklifts and large machinery are unavoidable, it is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe. If you have had an accident and believe your employer was at fault, ask the team at Express Solicitors about forklift compensation claims today.

Why is a forklift accident so dangerous?

The sheer size and weight of a forklift truck makes it difficult to move around, and even a small impact can have serious consequences. One of the commonest accidents at work for warehouse workers, the injuries often affect other people rather than the driver, for example, people walking in the area.

All workplace equipment has a degree of risk, but mobile equipment is even more dangerous. The majority of incidents are down to human error, from poor training to careless driving. According to the Health and Safety Executive, forklift accidents make up to a quarter of all accidents at work, from airports to workshops and construction sites.

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Most commonly, accidents happen with industrial counterbalance forklift trucks. These can carry up to three times the weight of the average car. If they are badly loaded or driven carelessly, this can lead to accidents.

You may be able to claim forklift accident compensation if you’ve not received adequate training from your employer. As a forklift is very different from a car, including rear wheel drive, it requires a licence and special training, as well as HSE advice on seatbelts. If your employer has not offered you any of these, you may be able to talk to us about forklift truck accident claims.

What types of forklift accidents are there?

Forklift accidents can happen to anybody working in the same area as a forklift driver – not just the driver themselves. The heavy weight of forklifts makes them a huge risk for crush injuries, which can be life-changing.

Your employer should have strict forklift safety procedures in place. Unfortunately, in some cases, managers prioritise speed over safety, which can lead to the following incidents:

Forklift accidents affecting the driver

Forklift drivers risk injury if they are faced with:

  • Inadequate training, including wrong training or out of date training
  • Unsafe driving conditions such as uneven surfaces, potholes or bad weather
  • Defective equipment, where the forklift was not fit for purpose.

Forklift accidents affecting other people

Other people may be injured by forklifts as a result of:

  • Pedestrian collisions with forklifts
  • Falling debris where a forklift has collided with something else, such as warehouse shelving
  • Dangerous driving, including speeding, swerving or driving in unregulated areas.

What are the causes of forklift accidents in the workplace?

In addition to careless driving and poor training, there are other causes of forklift accidents. For example, if the forklift has not been loaded properly, employers run the risk of:

  • Objects falling onto people during lifting if they have not been secured
  • Forklifts topping over if loads are imbalanced
  • Racking failing if items have been loaded in the wrong place.

Similarly, the environment is key. If the driver cannot see, they run the risk of colliding with a person or object and potentially crushing somebody. Employers should also make sure that the environment is safe to climb out of the forklift truck – for example, avoiding slips, trips and falls. They can make the workplace safer by training drivers on how to get off the forklift safely.

Whether it’s poor maintenance, inadequate training or simply failing to stop somebody driving dangerously, your employer could be at fault. Speak to our expert solicitors at Express to see if you could make a forklift compensation claim today.

How to claim for an accident at work

Want to know more about claiming for an accident at work. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for an accident at work?

Read our accident at work legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

What are my employer’s legal responsibilities to prevent forklift truck accidents?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that employers have a duty of care to keep employees, contractors and site visitors safe. If they fail to do this, you may be able to make a no win, no fee claim.

By law, forklift drivers must be a minimum of 16 years old, or 18 in port facilities. If you’re making a forklift accident compensation claim before you reach 18, you can ask somebody to do this for you (a ‘litigation friend’) or claim anytime between your 18th and 21st birthday.

The Health and Safety Executive has a published Accepted Code of Practice (ACOP), which covers:

  • Training and operator safety advice
  • Who should be trained
  • What training should include
  • Authorisation, monitoring and assessment
  • Refresher and conversion training
  • Keeping records, train supervisors and selecting instructors.

If you feel your employer has failed to meet their legal obligations, ask us about no win, no fee forklift truck accident claims today.

What are my Health and Safety rights at work?

Under UK Health and Safety law, you have the right to:

  • Work in a safe, risk-assessed environment
  • Have access to adequate training and personal protective equipment
  • Use well-maintained equipment that is safe
  • Stop working if you notice an injury risk
  • Be included in any Health and Safety discussions
  • Report any concerns in good faith
  • Speak to the Health and Safety Executive without fear of intimidation
  • Be a safety representative in a trade union, including time off work to train
  • Have access to trained first-aid facilities and first aiders.

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How do I make a forklift compensation claim as an injured employee?

You can make forklift truck accident claims under the following legislation:

  • The Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. This means that employers must keep your workplace safe, including making sure vehicles can move around safely.
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. This means that employers must provide adequate training for the handling and driving of forklift trucks. They should also provide supervision and make sure the equipment is in safe working order.

You can also cite the APOC on rider-operated lift trucks, as published by the Health and Safety Executive. Even if your injury was caused by a co-worker, you can still make a forklift compensation claim against your employer on the grounds that there was no proper supervision.

Forklift accident claims for members of the public

You can make a personal injury claim if you’ve been injured by a forklift in public. We can help you to gather evidence if you’re not sure who was responsible, for example, finding CCTV footage. Ask us about a no win, no fee forklift compensation claim today.

How much compensation can I claim for a forklift truck accident?

How much compensation you can claim for a forklift truck accident claims is available depends on a number of factors. Our expert solicitors will look at every element of your case, from the physical damage to the long-term impacts the accident has had on your life.

Generally, forklift truck accident claims are calculated based on three things:

  • The level of physical/emotional damage (‘general damages’)
  • The financial losses you’ve suffered, such as time taken off work
  • The long-term impacts on your life.

Every forklift injury is different, so there’s no one set compensation amount for a forklift injury. However, based on historical cases and evidence from the Judicial Board Guidelines, the following pay-outs have been awarded:

  • Back injuries: from £2,000 to £150,000
  • Shoulder injuries: from £4,000 to £45,000
  • Arm injuries: from £11,000 to £122,000
  • Hand injuries: from £5,000 to £79,000
  • Leg injuries: from £26,000 to £85,000
  • Knee injuries: from £12,000 to £90,000.

For the best forklift compensation settlement, we can help you build a strong case. This will require some evidence, which we can help you to gather. Please see the table at the end of this page for compensation amounts for all injuries.

We understand the financial impact of an accident.

In 99% of cases, we recovered more compensation than the insurer’s first offer. We’ll provide financial security with our interim payments wherever possible, meaning you don’t need to rush into an offer that is lower than you’re legally entitled to.

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How do I start a forklift accident claim?

For the most successful forklift compensation claim, we can help you to provide:

  • Details about the accident itself, including how, where and when, and any records in incident books
  • Information about the injury, including medical records
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Proof of loss of earnings or any time taken off.

We’ll also ask you for your personal information such as your name, address and date of birth. If you have any additional evidence such as CCTV footage, this can help.

Whether you have been injured by items falling from a forklift, a forklift truck collided with you or you were forced to drive a forklift over an unsuitable surface due to poor workplace safety standards, if you suspect one of the above factors was to blame, contact our accident at work solicitors as soon as possible to discuss a potential accident claim.

Richard’s story

When a forklift truck went into his electric tug, Richard Stait from the West Midlands was told he would never work again.

Richard was driving an electric tug through a warehouse at the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich when a fork lift truck ploughed into the side of his vehicle.

During the accident, the electric tug lifted off the ground before landing heavily on its wheels.

Richard explains: “When the tug lifted off the ground I too was lifted and then slammed back into my seat when it landed. As I did so, I hit the steering wheel with my ribs and unbeknown to me at the time I crushed three discs in my spine.”

“It was because the pain was so severe in my ribs that I didn’t realise that I had three prolapsed discs. However, when my ribs started to heal, and the pain began to subside, the pain in my back became more apparent.”

Richard was working at Jaguar through his employer Excel Recruitment, which argued in Court that his back was damaged prior to his accident.

“How would I have passed my thirteen week trial to work with Excel with three prolapsed discs?” asks Richard.

“Express Solicitors took Excel to Court and I was awarded £143,000. I was delighted with the result, but it was also the right result and necessary as I will never work again.”

“At one point the insurance to fight the case was withdrawn but Express Solicitors stood firm and said ‘we will fight it’. I received a personal service which was both courteous and efficient and I would have no hesitation in recommending Express Solicitors to anybody else who finds themselves in the unfortunate position I was in.”

Frequently asked questions

How long will my forklift accident compensation claim take?

There is no set time limit for how long a claim will take. If your employer admits liability, we can settle it in a matter of weeks. However, in some cases, it can take up to 18 months, so please be patient with it as we consider every element of your case. It’s very rare that you will have to go to court, but if you do, we will guide you every step of the way.

Do I need to attend a medical?

You will need medical evidence from your doctor outlining the seriousness of your injuries and how the accident caused them. We may ask for a secondary medical and your employer may also ask for one. We’ll make sure you feel as comfortable as possible throughout.

Who pays my forklift compensation claim?

If you’re claiming against your employer, you are not claiming against the individual or the business. Your employer will have employer liability insurance, so your settlement will come out of that. It is illegal for your employer to treat you differently or dismiss you for making a claim. If you’re claiming against a public organisation, it will come out of that organisation’s public liability insurance.

What are the time limits for forklift compensation claims?

You generally have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim. If you were under 18, somebody can claim on your behalf until your 18th birthday, or you can claim between the ages of 18 and 21. If the injury was caused by a manufacturing fault, you will have three years to claim from the date the fault was discovered.

My loved one has died as a result of a forklift injury. Can I claim on their behalf?

You can claim for the death of a loved one for up to three years after their death, or three years from the coroner’s report or post-mortem declaring the accident as the cause of death.

Can I claim if I am self-employed or work zero hours?

You can still claim if you were not a full-time employee. It is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe, regardless of your employment contract. You can also claim if you were injured while visiting the site.

Why Choose Express Solicitors?

At Express Solicitors, we have decades of experience settling forklift accident compensation claims just like yours. We’ve settled millions of pounds for cases that were turned away by others.

Our sensitive solicitor teams will listen to your story and consider every aspect of your case. You deserve to feel safe whether you’re at work or in public. Contact us today to get your life back on track and start your no win, no fee claim.

Average compensation amounts for forklift accidents

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Head Minor £1,880.00 to £10,890.00 Covers brain damage with recovery within a few weeks. Higher compensation if symptoms include headaches.
Head Moderate £13,430.00 to £112,130.00 Symptoms ranging from poor concentration, lower and higher risk of epileptic attacks, minor personality changes, depression, more severe intellectual impairment, or injuries/symptoms leading to a vegetative state.
Head Serious £186,890.00 £240,590.00 Covers reduced life expectancy, serious physical symptoms, serious changes to personality or intellect, large dependence on others due to paralysis or otherwise.
Head Severe £240,590.00 to £344,640.00 Covers minimally conscious state (life expectancy less than 15 years), severe disability, brain damage with little/no response, vegetative states needing full-time nursing.
Eye Severe £56,080.00to £229,260.00 Complete blindness on one/both eyes or severe visual impairment on one/both eyes.
Face Minor £1,460.00 to £7,460.00 Light or no scarring on the face, but no fractures, loss/damage of one/two front teeth, simple fractures of the jaw or nose, but with a possibility of complete recovery.
Face Serious £15,320.00 to £26,010.00 More serious fractures such as a broken jaw or nose, breaking/damage/loss of several teeth.
Face Severe £26,010.00 to £38,850.00 Severe injuries resulting in facial disfigurement, several jaw fractures, chronic tooth pain, and scarring. May lead to eating restrictions or higher risk of joint arthritis. Covers negative effects on mental health.
Ear/ hearing Minor Up to £5,980.00 Possible Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), slight/occasional tinnitus.
Ear/ hearing Moderate £12,700.00 to £25,350.00 Partial hearing loss or mild to severe tinnitus.
Ear/ hearing Serious £25,350.00 to £38,850.00 Complete deafness in one ear. Severity varies based on additional symptoms (e.g. dizziness, tinnitus, etc.).
Ear/ hearing Severe £77,430.00 to £120,040.00 Complete deafness in both ears. Higher compensation for child injuries also resulting in a loss of speech.

Compensation amounts for back, neck, shoulders and upper body injuries

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Neck Minor Up to £6,680.00 Soft tissue injuries or whiplash with recovery within 3 – 24 months. Compensation factors include severity of pain and amount of negative effects on everyday life.
Neck Moderate £7,410.00 to £47,760.00 Covers injuries that accelerated a pre-existing condition, disc lesions, cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent and/or recurring pain, all caused by fractures or dislocations.
Neck Severe £56,100.00 to £139,210.00 Serious fractures, severe soft tissue damage, chronic pain conditions, disc damage, partial paraplegia, or significant, permanent disability.
Back Minor £2,090.00 to £10,670.00 Includes lighter strains, sprains, disc prolapses, and soft tissue injuries. Recovery between 3 months and 5 years.
Back Moderate £11,730.00 to £26,050.00 Includes: spinal fusion, compressed or fractured lumbar spine (possibly resulting in higher risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain), prolapsed discs and other injuries that may require surgery and a continued acceleration/worsening of a pre-existing back condition.
Back Severe £36,390.00 to £151,070.00 Typically requires surgery. Injuries include: damaged spinal cord and partial paralysis, psychological issues, loss of bladder and/or bowel function, disc lesions, impaired movement, arthritis, etc.
Shoulder Minor Up to £6,730.00 Soft tissue injury resulting in pain. Full recovery between 3 – 24 months.
Shoulder Serious £10,890.00 to £16,380.00 Fractured humerus, clavicle or rotator cuff needing surgery.
Shoulder Severe £16,380.00 to £40,970.00 Significant disability caused by severe damage to the neck or brachial plexus.
Pelvis & hips Minor £3,370.00 to £10,750.00 Complete recovery after minor soft tissue injuries. Little or no disability within 2 years.
Pelvis & hips Moderate £10,750.00 to £33,430.00 No serious disability, but covers injuries requiring hip operations, replacement of hips (or the need for either in the future).
Pelvis & hips Severe £33,430.00 to £111,690.00 Severe hip/pelvis fractures resulting in bowel damage or spinal fusion, childbirth complications, hip replacement, and/or leading to higher likelihood of future surgery.
Scarring (not facial) Minor £2,020.00 to £7,380.00 One noticeable scare or several superficial, unsightly scars on the legs, arms, or hands.
Scarring (not facial Moderate Up to £7,380.00 Full recovery within 2 years, up to a partial recovery with symptoms that are not largely debilitating.
Scarring (not facial Severe £6,680.00 to £19,390.00 Several noticeable laceration scars or a single disfiguring scar.

Compensation amounts for arm, hand, and finger injuries

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Arm Mild £5,630.00 to £16,380.00 Fractured forearm.
Arm Moderate £16,380.00 to £33,430.00 Serious arm injury leading to long-lasting symptoms.
Arm Serious £33,430.00 to £111,690.00 Serious injury resulting in an inability to use the arm(s) to some extent. Does not result in amputation.
Arm Severe £82,040.00 to £255,930.00 Results may include the amputation of one/both arms. Compensation amount will depends on amputated area, whether phantom pain is experienced, and on other effects on the quality of life.
Elbow Moderate Up to £10,750.00 Includes: tennis elbow, deep cuts, simple fractures, no permanent damage.
Elbow Serious £13,360.00 to £27,320.00 Results in restricted movement but does not require surgery or cause disability.
Elbow Severe £33,430.00 to £46,780.00 Injury causes severe disability or requires surgery.
Wrist Moderate Up to £8,740.00 Uncomplicated Colles fracture or minor undisplaced fractures with recovery between 1 – 2 years. May include use of plasters.
Wrist Serious £10,750.00 to £20,900.00 Soft tissue damage or broken wrist causing some permanent disability.
Wrist Severe £20,900.00to £51,070.00. Significant permanent disability or complete loss of wrist function.
Hand Minor Up to £4,050.00 Covers lacerations and crush injuries, and soft tissue injuries (recovery within 6 months).
Hand Moderate £4,780.00 to £11,330.00 Covers penetrating wounds and crush injuries resulting in permanent but non-intrusive symptoms, or soft tissue damage and deeper cuts resulting in impairment of the hand (may require surgery).
Hand Severe £24,740.00 to £171,920.00 Covers amputation and rejoining of several fingers, resulting in a clawed, impaired, or unsightly hand, amputation of one/both hands (alternatively, amputation of several fingers rendering the hand almost useless).
Finger Minor Up to £4,055.00 Includes: full-healed fractured finger bones (healed within 1 year) with/without minor scarring.
Finger Moderate £3,370.00 to £5,000.00 Includes: complete (or almost complete) recovery after broken finger, amputation or loss of a part of the little finger.
Finger Severe £10,380.00 to £31,350.00 Includes: complete amputation of one/more fingers, fractures of the index finger. Compensation depends on level of disability and suffering.
Thumb Minor Up to £4,055.00 Short-term, severe pain gone within 3 months.
Thumb Moderate £3,370.00 to £10,750.00 Covers fractures with recovery within 6 months, damage to nerves or tendons resulting in partial loss of sensation, and cosmetic thumb deformities.
Thumb Severe £10,750.00 to £46,780.00 Partial/complete amputation of the thumb, surgical wire insertions, nerve damage, fractures, inability to grip.

Compensation amounts for leg and foot injuries

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Leg Minor £7,780.00 to £12,010.00 Minor injuries with recovery within a few months (e.g. soft-tissue injuries, bruising, cuts, and contusions). Slightly more severe injuries such as simple fractures of the femur, tibia, or fibula.
Leg Moderate £15,320.00 to £46,780.00 Minor fractures with partial recovery, serious soft tissue injury, injuries to one leg (e.g. broken bones, crushing injuries), ligament injuries, compound fractures leading to near certainty of arthritis or instability.
Leg Severe £46,780.00 to £240,590.00 Severe injuries resulting in extensive degloving, bone grafting, permanently reduced mobility, or amputation of one/both legs (above/below the knee).
Knee Minor Up to £11,730.00 Includes soft tissue injuries (recovery within a few months), a twisted knee, lacerations, or bruising resulting in discomfort or pain.
Knee Moderate £22,340.00 to £37,070.00 Includes: seriously damaged kneecaps, ligaments, or muscles, dislocation, a torn meniscus, acceleration injuries (over several years), resulting in ongoing discomfort or pain.
Knee Severe £44,470.00 to £82,080.00 Covers constant pain, severe disability, or muscle wastage. Higher compensation if need for surgery or injury effects quality of life.
Ankle Minor Up to £11,730.00 Smaller fractures, but bone has not been displaced. May include sprains, injured ligaments (likely leads to scarring). Smaller injuries can allow for full recovery within a year, without any scarring.
Ankle Moderate £11,730.00 to £42,710.00 Includes ligament tears, fractures, leading to smaller disabilities while standing/moving. Increased risk of osteoarthritis. Operation/cast needed. May lead to inability to work or call for special footwear.
Ankle Severe £42,710.00 to £59,480.00 Severe injury resulting in deformities, disabilities, or even amputation of the body part down the line.
Achilles Minor £6,200.00 to £10,750.00 Minor instability due to tendon damage around the ankle. Some more severe cases might involve scarring.
Achilles Moderate £10,750.00 to £17,970.00 More serious injury and partially ruptured tendon. More severe cases tend to involve disability and/or permanent scarring.
Achilles Severe £21,320.00to £32,780.00 Restricted movement of the ankle due to severed muscle tissue. Small likelihood of further improvement of limp and residual scarring.
Foot Minor Up to £11,730.00 Includes: minor fractures, lacerations or contusions (with complete recovery within 2 years), ruptured ligaments or other puncture wounds that result in chronic pain or a permanent limp.
Foot Moderate £11,730.00 to £59,730.00 Includes: metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent deformity and ongoing symptoms, fractured heels (both), restricted mobility, degloving and heel fusion.
Foot Severe £71,640.00 to £171,920.00 Injury needing amputation of one/both feet or traumatic amputation of the forefoot (to prevent need for complete amputation).
Toe Minor Up to £8,190.00 One or more broken toes with a varying recovery period. Compensation depends on presence of long-term symptoms and speed of recovery.
Toe Moderate £8,190.00 to £11,730.00 Multiple fractures, crush injuries to two/more toes, permanent disability. May have involved unsuccessful past operations.
Toe Severe £11,730.00 to £47,830.00 Severe crush injuries leading to less/surgical amputation of one or two toes (not including the big toe), amputation of all toes or the big toe.

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