Forklift Accident Lawyer

A Charlotte Forklift Accident Lawyer Can Help You Get Compensation

Forklifts are dangerous and require skill to operate or they can cause serious accidents. Injuries from forklift accidents may be life-altering and leave victims emotionally traumatized and dealing with physical injuries such as broken bones, amputations, and spinal cord and brain injuries. Medical bills keep mounting at a time they are unable to work; family life and social relationships are affected; and it’s difficult to know where to turn.

If you have been injured or a loved one has died in a forklift accident, you may be entitled to compensation. If your employer participates in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, you may have a claim through workers’ comp insurance. If you are covered by workers’ compensation, North Carolina law does not allow you to sue your employer. However, there are many situations where you can go beyond workers’ comp and file a lawsuit for additional benefits.

Laws regarding forklift accidents are complicated, and employers and insurance companies are out for profit and want to pay out as little as possible. They have high-powered lawyers on their side that try to deny claims or pay out less than you deserve. Making mistakes can be costly and keep you from getting the benefits you deserve.

Fortunately, you do not have to fight for compensation on your own. The Charlotte forklift accident lawyers at the Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm have extensive experience dealing with work accidents, workers’ comp, and personal injuries. We are fully prepared to fight for fair compensation that can alleviate your financial problems and allow your life to move forward.

We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to proceed. Call us today at (704) 377-3770 to get started.


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How a Forklift Accident Attorney in Charlotte Works for You

When you have Sumwalt Anderson on your side, our forklift accident attorneys start working for you immediately. We will:

  • Meet with you to discuss how the accident happened, evaluate what type of case you may qualify for and determine what a fair settlement would be
  • Investigate the accident scene and gather evidence such as surveillance videos, and police and medical reports
  • Interview witnesses and first responders
  • Make sure all paperwork is filed correctly
  • Hire experts to reconstruct the accident and to testify as to the extent of your injuries and the suffering you are undergoing
  • Represent you at any hearings before the North Carolina Industrial Commission
  • Negotiate with insurance companies and their attorneys for a fair settlement
  • Prepare your case and argue on your behalf if a claim goes to trial
  • File any appeals.

Whether fighting for compensation through workers’ compensation or pursing a lawsuit, our forklift accident lawyers will be there for you throughout the entire process, answering your questions and keeping you informed.

Forklift Accident Lawyer Knows Workers’ Compensation

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act generally requires that businesses that employ three or more employees obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers. If you have been injured in a forklift accident while on the job and your employer carries workers’ comp, you may be entitled to the following benefits under workers’ comp:

  • Wage loss benefits that cover any periods of time that your doctor says you cannot work or assigns work restrictions that your employer cannot accommodate
  • Payment of your medical bills related to your injury
  • Payment for a permanent injury
  • Reimbursement for mileage to and from doctors’ appointments for trips that are over 20 miles roundtrip
  • Vocational rehabilitation, if you haven’t been able to return to work at 75% or more of your pre-injury wages
  • Death benefits and funeral expenses if death occurs as a result of a work injury or illness. The surviving spouse, children, or other dependents may receive death benefits and up to $10,000 for burial expenses.

However, since workers’ comp is insurance, and paying out benefits is costly to both employers and insurance companies, they will attempt to deny or minimize claims whenever possible. In addition, North Carolina law can make it difficult to get benefits since employers and their insurers don’t have to pay for on-the-job injuries unless a worker was hurt as the result of an “accident.” Insurance companies may utilize this law to deny benefits on grounds that an employee was hurt while doing their normal job, not from an accident.

Our attorneys are aware of these tactics and how to combat them. We will make sure you know what to say and do to prevent hurting your case, ensure that you fill out all workers’ comp forms correctly and in a timely manner, investigate, and gather evidence and all relevant work and medical records to increase the chances of winning optimum benefits.

If you can go beyond workers’ comp and file a lawsuit for your forklift accident, we are fully prepared to handle that as well.

When You Can File a Forklift Injury Lawsuit

There are many situations where it is possible to file a lawsuit for your forklift injuries. If your employer does not participate in workers’ comp, if you are an independent contractor, if your injuries were caused by intentional acts of the employer, or if another party’s negligence has played a role in your accident, you may be able to go beyond workers’ comp and sue for compensation greater than what workers’ comp provides.

In a successful lawsuit, you may receive a damage award that covers compensatory damages for both your economic damages and your less tangible noneconomic damages.

Economic Damages – are for monetary costs that can be calculated, such as:

  • Medical, rehabilitation, and continuing care bills
  • Lost wages and lost future wages
  • Property damage.

Non-Economic Damages – do not have a specific dollar value, but negatively impact your life, and may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and mental stress and anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

In addition, in some rare situations, North Carolina law allows punitive damages, which are meant to punish egregiously wrongful acts and serve to deter such acts from happening again. In North Carolina, punitive damages cannot exceed the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000.

There is a wide range of damage awards you may receive in a successful forklift accident lawsuit, from the thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the factors involved. Consideration is made for the costs you incurred, the extent and permanence of the damages you received, lost earnings and whether you will be able to return to work, and the amount of suffering involved. Be sure to save documents such as your medical and therapy bills, past pay stubs, and receipts for all care and expenses to be used as evidence. Since pain and suffering can be compensated in North Carolina, keep a journal and take photographs and videos to document how the injuries have negatively impacted your life.

What is the Biggest Cause of a Forklift Accident?

When Negligence Causes a Forklift Accident

Negligence is the No. 1 cause of forklift accidents. While some causes of forklift accidents are the fault of an individual forklift operator, negligence on the part of the employer or someone else on the worksite is often involved. Examples of negligence include:

  • Failure of employers to provide sufficient training on safety or follow OSHA safety requirements
  • Dangerous conditions in a warehouse that are not repaired
  • Failure to do routine maintenance and upkeep on the forklift
  • Third-party actions, such as a crash caused by careless driving.

Our Sumwalt Anderson forklift accident attorneys know when negligence caused your injuries and how to prove it. To win your case, we must show the following elements legally exist:

  • Duty: The defendant in the case had a duty not to cause harm.
  • Breach: The defendant breached this duty through actions or failure to act.
  • Cause: This breach caused the accident that led to your injury.
  • Damages: You suffered damages as a result.

Our forklift accident attorneys will carefully investigate your case to identify all negligent parties and hold them accountable as defendants in the case, as they all may have insurance or assets that can go toward a settlement. Call today at (704) 377-3770.

Forklift Accident Attorneys Answer FAQs

After a forklift accident, it’s natural to have many concerns and questions. These are best addressed in your free consultation, but to get started, here are some answers to questions our clients often ask:

  • What is the biggest cause of a forklift accident?

    According to the Forklift Academy, the main reason for forklift accidents is the lack of proper forklift training and lack of forklift certification given by the company, as many companies allow forklift operators to drive the equipment without a forklift license and training. Negligence is the biggest cause of a forklift accident and leads to overturns of the forklift, falls from the forklift, and crashes with another vehicle or objects. Problems with the forklift due to poor maintenance or failure to replace a forklift when it is no longer safe to use is another common cause of injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says many workers are also injured when forklifts are inadvertently driven off loading docks or forklifts fall between docks and unsecured trailers.

  • What if a loved one died in the accident?

    If the forklift accident has resulted in the death of a loved one, we may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. A wrongful death case is like a personal injury case where the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate files for damages, as the deceased can no longer do so. According to North Carolina Statutes section 28A-18-2, a wrongful death is one caused “by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”

  • What is the most common type of forklift injury?

    The most common types of forklift injuries include:

    • Being crushed
    • Broken bones and fractures
    • Need for amputation
    • Head and neck injuries that may lead to paralysis
    • Whiplash
    • Chronic pain
    • Degloving, when a large piece of skin and the layer of soft tissue under it is partially or completely ripped from the body.
  • Is there a time limit for filing a lawsuit?

    North Carolina has a statute of limitations (a deadline for filing a lawsuit) that is generally three years after the accident (§ 1-52). If you do not file on time, the courts will probably refuse to hear your case.

  • Should I accept a quick settlement from the insurance company?

    Insurance companies will often make a low offer in return for settling the claim quickly. This is usually much less than your case is worth, and once you sign a release, you will not be able to receive anything additional if your injuries get worse in the future. Our attorneys will calculate all damages and evaluate all offers to see if they are fair and negotiate further if they are not.

What to Do After a Forklift Accident

After a forklift accident, if you are able, you should immediately report the accident to your employer or supervisor, so there is proper documentation of what happened. You should seek medical attention and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Get contact information for any witnesses; document all your injuries, your costs, and your symptoms; and preserve any evidence. Speak to a work-injury lawyer and get legal help as soon as possible to determine whether you have a workers’ comp claim or grounds for a personal injury lawsuit and to prevent making mistakes that could cost you your benefits.

Call Our Forklift Accident Attorneys for Help

At Sumwalt Anderson, we know North Carolina law, the judges, and the system, and we have the resources necessary to achieve successful outcomes for our clients. We handle all the paperwork, processes, and legal hurdles required with your forklift claim, so you can concentrate on your recovery. Our attorneys have the reputation of not settling claims until our clients have been paid what they are entitled to.

We strive to provide superior representation tailored to the specific needs of each client, and we always treat our clients, adversaries, and professional peers with dignity and respect. We will be there to answer your questions and concerns throughout the process.

We offer a free consultation, and you pay nothing unless and until we win your case. Call us today at (704) 377-3770 so we can get started working for justice and the settlement you deserve while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found.

Attorney Mark Sumwalt

Mark Sumwalt is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina who has practiced law in Charlotte since 1981, primarily in the field of worker’s compensation. He has litigated hundreds of cases to decision all over the state and handled many significant appeals to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court, particularly in the area of attendant care. [ Attorney Bio ]

millionRecovered on behalf of a gentleman (plaintiff/client) who was working as a vinyl window installer on a metal ladder when the ladder struck a live electrical wire. Learn more.
millionRecovered negotiated on the behalf of our client who was rendered a paraplegic due to a spinal fracture after falling from a roof in the course and scope of his employment as a construction worker. Learn more.
millionRecovered for a construction worker from Texas who suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury following a fall from a roof while working on a job site in Charlotte, NC. Learn more.
millionRecovered on behalf of our client who sustained a spinal cord injury in the course and scope of his employment as a production worker in a manufacturing plant. Learn more.
millionRecovered on behalf of the gentlemen (plaintiff/client) who sustained an injury when he slipped and fell on an icy ramp during his employment. Learn more.
millionRecovered on behalf of a client who was injured in the course and scope of her employment as a nurse when attacked by a patient. Learn more.

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