$1.3 Million Jury Verdict for Truck Driver Injured by Fall from Flatbed at Construction Site

On Nov. 12, 2004, 50-year-old truck driver Billy Coleman, who was employed by Hines Lumber, drove to a construction site in Des Plaines, Ill. He was there to deliver construction materials from his flatbed truck. The defendant, Premier Construction, was the general contractor for the project.

Coleman was standing on his flatbed when a forklift driver employed by Premier hit the truck and knocked Coleman off of the flatbed injuring him. He suffered a severe hip fracture, which required two surgeries including a total hip replacement.

Even with extensive rehabilitation efforts, Coleman is permanently disabled and unable to return to work. In the future he will need a second hip replacement.

The defense for Premier Construction claimed that Coleman fell on his own accord as he never mentioned the forklift in four separate statements made immediately following the incident. Premier Construction also filed a third-party claim against the plaintiff’s employer, Hines Lumber.

In the third-party complaint, Premier argued that Coleman was inadequately trained by his employer, Hines, he should not have been on the flatbed at the time of his fall, he chose not to position himself in a safe manner and he should have made his presence known to the forklift driver.

The defense for Hines asserted that regardless of how the incident occurred, Hines provided appropriate training and was no way contributing to Coleman’s fall and subsequent injuries.

Before trial, the demand to settle the case was $250,000. The jury was asked to return a verdict of $1,800,000. The only offer made by Premier was $50,000.

The jury’s verdict of $1,347,865 against Premier Construction was made up of the following damages:

• $187,865 for past medical expenses;
• $35,000 for future medical expenses;
• $400,000 for lost earnings;
• $250,000 for past disability;
• $100,000 for future disability;
• $250,000 for past pain and suffering;
• $100,000 for future pain and suffering; and
• $25,000 for disfigurement.

The jury entered a not guilty verdict as to the third-party complaint against Mr. Coleman’s employer, Edward Hines Lumber Company.

The attorney representing Coleman was James T. Farnan.

At trial, the plaintiff engaged the services of a trucking safety expert while the defendants engaged the services of experts that testified in truck safety.

Billy Coleman v. Premier Construction Development, Inc. v. Edward Hines Lumber Co.,
No. 06 L 9281 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling truck accident cases, forklift accident cases and construction site accident cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of another for more than 38 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Wheaton, Waukegan, River Grove, Tinley Park, Deerfield, Arlington Heights, Orland Park, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Chicago (Rogers Park, Kenwood, Bronzeville, Back of the Yards), Palatine and Palos Hills, Ill.

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