forklift accident lawyer

Forklift operations are an essential daily part of many business operations and construction projects.

It takes skill to operate a forklift, but even with the proper training, forklift accidents occur frequently.

In fact, in 2021 7,290 forklift-related injuries and 70 forklift-related fatalities impacted U.S. workers.

If you or a loved one suffered a workplace forklift accident, you are not just another statistic.

At Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., our compassionate personal injury attorneys know you’re probably dealing with significant medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other difficulties.

We are dedicated to helping people who suffered an injury at work, and we’ll help you seek the justice you deserve.

Our personal injury lawyers offer forklift injury victims aggressive, competent representation. We are not afraid to deal with insurance adjusters, and if necessary, we are not afraid to take your case to trial.

Ultimately, we want New Mexico employers to know that we hold businesses that violate safety rules and standards accountable.

Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C. Can Help 

Hiring a forklift accident lawyer right after your accident is the crucial first step to getting the compensation you need and deserve.

An experienced forklift attorney can help you in numerous ways, including:

  • Investigating a company’s safety policies and training materials to make sure they cover all necessary safety protocols;
  • Preserving evidence that will advance your claim;
  • Sending a preservation of evidence letter or filing a temporary restraining order to prevent an employer from destroying or altering evidence;
  • Visiting the accident site as soon as possible to collect evidence, including photographs and witness names for later interviews or depositions;
  • Determining who the liable parties are;
  • Dealing with the insurance company and adjusters; and
  • Helping you through the workers’ compensation process.

If you were injured in a forklift accident, contact the forklift injury lawyers at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C. Our highly-skilled attorneys will review your case facts and determine the best way for you to move forward.

Determining Liability

Forklift accidents can happen for a number of reasons.

If you were injured in a forklift accident, the forklift’s operator, its manufacturer, or another party could all be responsible.

To establish that a party is responsible, you must show that the party’s negligent actions caused your accident.

To establish liability, you must prove the following:

  • The party owed you a duty of care—This means they were responsible for operating or maintaining any machinery in a safe manner but failed to do so;
  • The party breached their duty—They breached or failed to fulfill their legal duty of care;
  • The party’s breach caused the accident—The breach of duty must have caused your accident to establish negligence; and
  • You suffered losses as a result—To receive compensation, you must prove that you suffered losses from your injuries. 

If you meet these criteria, you may have a viable lawsuit. However, when you are injured on the job, you typically waive your right to sue your employer in exchange for being covered under workers’ compensation.

In New Mexico, you may only sue under two circumstances: 

  • If you can prove your employer intentionally tried to harm you; or
  • If a third party other than your employers—like an equipment manufacturer or supplier—caused your injuries. 

An experienced forklift attorney can review your case facts and help you determine which party is liable for your injury.

Collecting New Mexico Workers’ Compensation

New Mexico workers’ compensation insurance protects workers and employers from some losses on-the-job accidents and job-related illnesses cause.

It is a no-fault insurance system. This means an injured party can collect workers’ compensation whether they can prove that another party was negligent or not.

New Mexico workers’ compensation provides injured workers with:

  • Payments for medical care resulting from a work-related injury or illness,
  • Compensation for permanent partial disability once maximum medical improvement is reached,
  • Compensation for permanent impairments or permanent total disability,
  • Payments for temporary indemnity benefits if an injured worker is unable to work and earn a paycheck,
  • Survivor benefits for survivors of employees killed on the job, and
  • Dispute resolution through the WCA’s ombudsman, mediation, and administrative court system.

All of these workers’ comp benefits aim to restore an employee’s health and help them return to work as quickly as possible.

How Do I Collect Workers’ Compensation in New Mexico?

If you’ve been injured in a forklift accident on the job, you must give your employer or supervisor written notice within 15 days of the injury.

If your injury or some other cause beyond your control prevents you from providing notice within 15 days, you can extend the period to 60 days.

The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration (WCA) also provides a Notice of Accident Form that workers must fill out.

The state requires your employer to post and provide this form for your use.

However, you can waive written notice if you have already notified your employer that you are injured. You can also waive the form if your employer has actual knowledge of your injury.

For example, if your employer, supervisor, or foreman witnessed the accident, you don’t need to file the form.

If your employer does not have actual knowledge of your accident, notify your employer as soon as possible.

You should also be sure to do the following:

  • Unless you need emergency care, check with your employer before going to the doctor. Your employer has the right to choose a doctor or allow you to choose the doctor you’ll see.
  • Let your doctor know you are seeking medical care for a work-related injury.
  • Update the workers’ compensation adjuster and your employer of any work restrictions the doctor imposes.

For more information about how to fill out a Notice of Action Form, you can watch this training video on the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration site. You can also contact the WCA at 1-866-967-5667

Speak to a Forklift Accidents Lawyer Today

At Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., we are a group of established, accomplished attorneys and staff dedicated to working tirelessly for you.

We never lose sight of our client’s stakes when we take a case. That’s why we aggressively fight for the justice you deserve.

If you’ve suffered a work-related forklift injury, call us today at 855-931-0834 for a free case review.