Forklift accidents on the job are far more common than you might expect, and they are exactly as dangerous as they sound. While your forklift accident will involve its own specific circumstances and your claim will be unique to you, there are four basic first steps that apply across all forklift accidents, and that can help ensure you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled and that you need to help you reach your fullest recovery.
1. Seek the Medical Attention You Need
If you have been injured in a forklift accident, the most important first step is seeking the medical attention that you need. Even if you don’t think you were seriously injured, severe injuries can be slow to present with symptoms, which means they can develop into injuries that are far more serious and more difficult to treat in the interim. Because early diagnosis is closely associated with improved prognosis, seeking immediate medical attention after a serious accident like a forklift accident is always well advised. The truth of the matter is that there are wide-ranging serious injuries that are commonly associated with forklift accidents.
Even a simple break is an exceptionally painful injury that can ultimately lead to chronic pain (after a long recovery process) and a permanent loss in the range of motion. If the break is serious, it can require multiple surgeries and ongoing medical interventions that stretch into the future, and if the break doesn’t heal properly, it can cause a permanent disability.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are generally caused by a blow to the head, which is exceptionally common in forklift accidents. Because TBIs affect the brain, the consequences are often very serious and tend to be unpredictable. Many victims liken the overall emotional and psychological effects of serious TBIs to living in an altered reality, which amounts to considerable loss. Consider the following common PTSD-like symptoms:
- Unchecked mood swings
- Emotional lability
- Engaging in self-isolation and pushing friends and loved ones away
- Flashbacks of the accident
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Increased anxiety that can include social anxiety
- Bouts of depression
- Crying jags
The emotional consequences of a TBI can feel insurmountable, but receiving the medical attention you need can help you learn to manage your symptoms and move forward in the healing process. Another painful element of TBIs is that the emotional effects can serve to distance your support system from you, just when their support is most needed.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are another category of injury that is common to forklift accidents and are typically caused by a blow to the shoulders, back, or neck. Spinal cord injuries are exceptionally painful injuries that are closely associated with loss in the range of motion. If your spinal cord is severed in the forklift accident, it means permanent paralysis, which comes with a devastatingly long list of negative consequences and generally translates to the need for a lifetime of medical care.
2. Let Your Supervisor or Employer Know You Were Injured on the Job
It is important to let your employer or supervisor know that you were injured on the job as soon as it is possible for you to do so. In South Carolina, there is a 90-day statute of limitations, which means that you must report within this time frame (or be subject to losing the ability to bring your claim at all), but you are well-advised to do so sooner rather than later. The fact of the matter is that your employer, and their workers’ compensation insurance provider, are invested in settling your claim for as little as possible, and if they can get out of paying at all, that would also be great. Toward this end, your employer may attempt to distance your injuries from your job. The longer you take to report the forklift accident, the easier it becomes for them to make this claim.
3. Consult with an Experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
As mentioned, the workers’ compensation insurance provider is not going to make obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled easy for you, but doing so is critical to your ability to fully regain your health and well-being to the best of your ability. Your Workers’ compensation attorney has the experience, legal savvy, and negotiation skills to take on the insurance company in skillful pursuit of your just compensation.
The insurance company likely has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, including:
- Minimizing the extent of your injuries
- Casting doubt as to whether your injuries were actually sustained in the forklift accident
- Associating your injuries with a preexisting condition
Whatever antics the insurance company gets up to, your dedicated workers’ compensation attorney will effectively counter with the facts and evidence in your case in zealous defense of your legal rights.
4. Ensure You Include All Your Damages in Your Claim
One of the most important components of your workers’ compensation claim is ensuring you include all of your covered damages in the claim. These damages include:
- Your medical expenses, which (after a serious forklift accident) can be immense
- Your lost wages on the job, which are covered at a specific percentage
Working closely with your skilled workers’ comp attorney to ensure that your covered damages are accounted for in their entirety is an important part of the claims process.
Make the Call to an Experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Being injured on the job in a forklift accident is a serious situation that can leave you with debilitating losses. The well-regarded workers’ compensation attorneys at McCravy Law in South Carolina dedicate their practice to helping clients like you fully recover from their losses. Your case is important, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at 864-388-9100 for more information about how we can help you today.