Is my employer and/or forklift driver liable for some of my medical expenses?

Additional Info: I was working at a jobsite in Milford MA and was stuck and injured by a forklift.  There was no back up beeper and I think blind spot contributed to the accident. I’m hoping you can help me determine if I have a case or not.

Since you were in the course of employment when struck by the forklift, you would be entitled to workers compensation benefits on account of your work related injuries.   Your employer is required by law to have worker’s compensation insurance.  The insurance company will pay your medical expenses. In addition, if you are unable to do your job as a result of your injuries you will be entitled to disability benefits that compensate you 60% of your lost wages as long as you are unable to return to work. If you are unable to return to your regular job, you may be entitled to a settlement of your workers compensation case. In addition to all that, you may be entitled to a recovery against the company that employed the driver of the forklift. That is referred to as a third-party case. You can make that claim if that forklift driver was employed by someone other than your employer. To recover you would have to prove negligence by the forklift driver.  Operating the forklift without a backup beeper is likely to be considered negligence. In that situation you would be entitled to recover your full lost wages, the value of your medical expenses and pain-and-suffering. Such are recovery usually exceeds the amount of the workers compensation benefits you received. You might also have a claim against the general contractor of the jobsite if that general contractor was not your direct employer. The GC has a duty to provide a safe workplace and allowing the forklift to be operated without a beeper would appear violate that duty. Altogether you may have several potential cases. However, keep in mind that these kinds of cases alone is difficult. Insurance companies fight them vigorously. Hiring an attorney to represent you sooner rather than later is always the best thing to do.

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