What is the Most Common Type of Lift Truck Accident?

At busy construction sites, wearehouses, and other such job sites, the dreaded and feared caught-between is the most common type of lift truck accident. Workers dart back and forth and the lift truck operator, or other commercial vehicle operator, often has little experience behind the wheel. That’s especially true if the driver is “just moving” the vehicle from one parking space to another. Therefore, victims are “caught between” a vehicle, like a lift truck, and a fixed object, like a retaining wall.

Such accidents often crush internal organs, as well as bones. Punctured lungs and ruptured spleens, two of the most serious kinds of internal injuries, are especially common. Furthermore, crushed bones are much more difficult to treat than broken bones. Surgeons typically use metal pins, plates, and other parts to reconstruct crushed bones. SInce the surgical recovery time is longer, physical therapy is longer, more difficult, and more expensive.

Workers’ Compensation

These state-run programs go back to the early 1900s and the Grand Bargain between workers and management. Management provided a no-fault injury compensation system that paid medical bills and replaced lost wages. Injured workers gave up the right to sue in civil court.

Back in ye olden days, streamlined and well-funded workers’ compensation systems expedited these benefits to injured workers, so they could get back on the job quickly. Today, the workers’ compensation process is very complex, and constant rate reductions have left most systems underfunded.

Insurance company lawyers usually cannot dispute fault, since workers’ comp is no-fault insurance. In most cases, it doesn’t matter if the injury was partially, mostly, or entirely the victim’s fault, as long as the injury was work-related.

Insurance company lawyers can and do dispute the amount of damages. Inaccurate AWW (average weekly wage) calculation is a good illustration. The AWW is the basis for lost wage replacement. Insurance companies often only look at prior net income. However, the AWW also includes per diem and other non-cash compensation. It also includes future lost overtime opportunities and missed performance bonuses.

Note that workers’ compensation rules vary in different states. For example, some states allow injured victims to choose their own doctors, and some force them to see company doctors.

Nonsubscriber Claims

This phrase is Legalese for job injury claims that workers’ compensation does not cover, mostly because the employer was uninsured or reckless.

Almost all states have mandatory workers’ compensation laws. Some companies ignore these laws and don’t buy insurance. Others lie to insurance companies, usually about payroll size or the number of workers. Bitter experience has taught many of us what happens when you lie to an insurance company and file a claim.

By design, workers’ compensation only covers unintentional injuries. These plans don’t apply if the employer was reckless or the injury was intentional. Some employers recklessly send workers into hazardous areas, like un-lined construction pits. Others force employees to perform dangerous assignments as a form of punishment.

In many nonsubscriber claims, companies cannot use some “silver bullet” defenses, such as comparative fault or assumption of the risk. So, it’s easier for an attorney to prove negligence, or a lack of care, in these cases, and obtain compensation. In addition to medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses, compensation in civil court usually also includes money for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

If you think you might need help, book a free lawyer consultation through AskLegally.  You can also try our workers’ comp calculator to see what your claim might be worth.

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