$4.8 Million Settlement Reached for Spinal Injury Suffered by Forklift Operator

On July 28, 2016, the defendant, Demetris D. Owens, delivered a semi-trailer truck to a warehouse loading dock at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The plaintiff, Michael Heatherly II, a forklift operator, attempted to unload the materials inside the truck by driving his forklift onto the truck from the dock. As he moved the forklift over the threshold from the dock to the trailer, the truck rolled forward. With Heatherly inside, the forklift fell off the dock approximately 4 feet to the ground.

He suffered permanent spine injuries, which required physical therapy and steroid injections.  He did not undergo surgery. However, he is no longer able to work as a forklift driver and is unable to pursue a career as a union glazier as he intended before this tragic incident.

Heatherly filed a lawsuit against Owens and his employer, Integrated Airline Services Inc., alleging negligence and reckless and willful and wanton conduct.

The presiding trial judge approved the punitive damage questions for the jury had the trial continued.

The defendants admitted negligence before trial.

According to the attorneys successfully handling this matter, Joseph P. Shannon and Patrick D. Cummings, Owens did not lock the brakes or secure the trailer’s wheels when he parked the truck. The evidence found in discovery indicated Owens was not trained in how to secure the trailer. The trucking company, however, had initially denied that fact.

Before settlement, the defendants maintained that Heatherly’s injuries healed within months and that any additional issues were pre-existing and degenerative.

Heatherly was also represented, in addition to the attorneys of Joseph P. Shannon and Patrick D. Cummings, by Jonathan J. Svitak.

Michael Heatherly, II v. Integrated Airline Services Inc., 17 L 4549 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling work site injury lawsuits, forklift injury cases, construction site injury lawsuits, catastrophic injury lawsuits and truck accident cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Northlake, Melrose Park, Oak Park, Cicero, Joliet, Waukegan, Bellwood, LaGrange, Crestwood, Blue Island, South Holland, Lansing, Country Club Hills, Tinley Park, Palos Park, New Lenox, Frankfort, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, University Park, Crete, Monee, Sauk Village, Lynwood, Homewood, Burr Ridge, Willowbrook, Elmhurst, Chicago (Lincoln Park, Near North Side, Little Village, Back of the Yards, Washington Heights, Beverly, Roscoe Village, Pullman, East Side, Calumet Heights, Ravenswood, Edgewater, Jefferson Park), Skokie, Lincolnwood, Wilmette and Mount Prospect, Ill.

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