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Forklift Driver Hits Unsuspecting Shopper

Forklift Driver Hits Unsuspecting Shopper

Bill was scanning the pet food aisle at his local cash and carry when suddenly he was swept off his feet by a forklift truck. He was extremely shaken by this experience and knew the accident would never have happened had the proper health and safety regulations been in place.

As the owner of a convenience store, Bill was not stranger to his local cash and carry, and had been going five times a week for over twenty years. In that time, he had never once had an accident while shopping for his stock.

All that changed, however, on the morning of 15 November 2008. Bill was pushing his trolley around the store as usual and had stopped on the pet food aisle to look at the display. He had been stood there no more than a minute or two when, suddenly and without warning, he was hit from behind and lifted off his feet. He was carried forward and couple of yards before rolling onto the hard floor.

Bill was extremely shaken but was quickly able to establish what had happened. Evidently, he had been hit by a forklift truck on the back of his legs. The young lad driving it had not noticed Bill because he was driving with the forks to the front, rather than to the back, as he should have been.

Despite being in a lot of pain, Bill composed himself and went straight to the office to report his accident. He then continued to make his way back to his own shop, where he carried on working for the rest of the day. However, after a couple of days Bill's legs were extremely bruised, while his neck, back and shoulders were very stiff. He attended his GP who confirmed a former whiplash injury had been aggravated and prescribed some strong painkillers.

Because of his discomfort, Bill was unable to return to work for the following week, leaving his wife to run the shop alone. Although Bill did return after a week's rest, his injuries prevented him from working full-time. His continued absence has forced him to employ a member of staff, as his wife could not fulfil all the duties on her own.

The expense at having to employ a shop assistant, along with the injuries he sustained, prompted Bill to investigate the possibility of a personal injury claim. He was sure the cash and carry was to blame for his accident and so called Glynns for further advice.

We agreed that the cash and carry had neglected to meet health and safety regulations on a number of counts. Firstly, the aisle in which the forklift truck was operating should have been cordoned off to shoppers, while another employee should have been asked to check whether there were any customers in the vicinity. Secondly, the forklift truck should have had a warning beacon and siren in operation at all times. Lastly, the forks should have been position at the rear, rather than out in front, as this would not have obstructed the driver's view.

In light of the store's breach of duty, we helped Bill make a personal injury claim which was settled for £3,750.

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