Articles Posted in Forklift Injuries

William Clay, 67, went to a car dealer to help his son purchase a car. As he stood by a raised vehicle in the dealer’s garage, an employee operating a hydraulic vehicle lift lowered the car onto Clay’s right foot.

He suffered crush fractures to three toes, which required amputation within two weeks of the incident. He now suffers pain when walking, has a limp and uses a cane. His medical expenses were more than $31,300.

He sued the operator of the dealership, Shako Mako Inc., and the premises owner, Nahla LLC, alleging that these defendants negligently allowed Clay to access the garage area without warning of the hazard posed by the elevated vehicle.

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Sherri Miyagi, a dentist, was visiting a Walgreens pharmacy when she was injured by a hand truck operated by an employee of the defendant, Dean Transportation Inc. Dr. Miyagi filed a complaint, alleging negligence and respondeat superior against the defendant, Dean. Before the start of the jury trial, Dean admitted its negligence and a trial was held on the issues of causation and damages to the four elements of negligence.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Dr. Miyagi for $2.4 million in noneconomic damages, $300,000 for past medical expenses, and $7.3 million for future medical expenses.

The defendant, Dean, filed a post-trial motion, seeking judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial on all issues, a new trial on damages only, or in the alternative, a remittitur of all but $5,703.68 of the future medical expenses awarded by the jury. The trial court denied defendant’s request for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. The trial court did, however, grant defendant’s request for a remittitur, but in the amount of $3.65 million, which represented 50% of the jury award for future medical expenses.

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George Petrosian was performing general repair work at an elevated parking system. While he was standing on a scissor lift, the lift’s work platform fell 25 feet, which caused him to suffer a torn ligament in his left ankle and bilateral torn rotator cuffs.

Petrosian, 72, underwent six surgeries and now suffers from complex regional pain syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Petrosian’s medical expenses were $500,000. He is no longer able to work and has incurred $100,000 in lost income. Petrosian and his wife sued the corporate property owners and one of the property owners individually, claiming that they chose not to maintain the scissor lift in proper working order. The Petrosian family alleged that the lift had been stored outside and became rusty and worn leading to its failure.

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Thomas Neuhengen was injured in a forklift accident allegedly caused by Frederick Neirinckx, a Global Experience Specialists employee. The judgment was entered in the amount of $12,228,068 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages for Neuhengen. Global Experience appealed from that judgment.

Global Experience argued that the trial judge erred in refusing to dismiss Count III of the plaintiff’s complaint, which provided the predicate for the exemplary award for alleging willful and wanton conduct in hiring and training Neirinckx because Global Experience stipulated, before trial, that it would be vicariously liable for any negligent or careless conduct by Neirinckx.

In the appeal, Global Experience relied on the case of Neff v. Davenport Packing Co., 131 Ill.App.2d 791 (1971). In cases in which a complaint alleges negligence by an employee along with vicarious liability for that negligence against the employer, Neff calls for dismissing the negligence claims against the corporation if it admits liability for the employee’s conduct.

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Reginald Lindsey was employed as a forklift operator by Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. and was working at its facility in southwest suburban McCook, Ill. Central Blacktop Co. was contracted to do road repair work and resurfacing there.

On Oct. 19, 2010, Lindsey was driving an older model forklift over a permanent portion of paved road. Lindsey testified that the road north of the warehouse was “broken” and “deteriorated” making it difficult to operate the forklift. Lindsey’s lawsuit claimed that he followed a marked path, turned right and hit some pavement in disrepair causing his forklift to jolt suddenly. Lindsey stated that he heard a “pop” in his neck and suffered a spinal injury.

He filed a lawsuit against Central Blacktop claiming it was negligent in leaving broken concrete in his path and in choosing not to issue a warning on the problem area or to repair the fault. Lindsey alleged Central Blacktop was at fault and owed him a duty of care.

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Jimmy Hill was 66 years old and was unloading a truckload of chicks at a farm when an employee of the transportation company J.B. Hunt drove a forklift over Hill’s ankle. Hill underwent surgery to repair the broken ankle and later died of post-operative sepsis. He is survived by his adult son.

Hill’s son sued J.B. Hunt claiming its employee, the forklift driver, chose not to follow the company’s safety policies and safety training. The lawsuit did not include a claim for lost income. The jury’s verdict of $3.4 million found the defendant J.B. Hunt 98% responsible and a non-party 2% liable for Hill’s injuries and untimely death.

The attorneys representing the Hill family were John P. Zelbst and David Butler. For trial the plaintiff engaged the expert services of an internal medicine physician and engineering expert, both of whom testified at the trial.

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On July 11, 2008, Tenesha Martin, an employee of a railroad, was operating a forklift while unloading the truck’s trailer at Canadian Pacific Railway’s docking area in Chicago. The forklift fell off the loading dock when the unmanned truck, owned by the defendant Central Transport Inc., rolled away from the dock causing her to sustain disabling lumbar disc injuries.

The defendant, Soo Line Railroad, argued that the trucking company, Central Transport, was at fault, while the trucking company blamed the railroad. Both defendants argued that Martin was contributorily negligent for choosing not to exercise due care and caution.

The presiding trial judge allowed evidence of Martin’s marijuana use in 2010 based on her history, which was given to a psychiatrist in 2011.

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On July 19, 2007, Jose Torres was a day worker hired by Brandenburg Industrial Services Co., a contractor responsible for labor, material, equipment and supervision. The contractor agreed to provide all of the safety measures necessary for the demolition of the Gutmann Leather operation and tannery on the Chicago River. Gutmann had closed in 2006, and it chose to demolish its tannery. The tannery had been in operation since 1870.

Gutmann hired Gabriel Environmental Services because of federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines regarding heavy metal contamination caused by the tannery’s operation. Gabriel was hired to assess the site, plan what action needed to be taken and hire a contractor to prepare the Gutmann property for sale. Gabriel also was to supervise the work that was being done in the demolition. Gabriel hired Brandenburg to do the demolition work.

In turn, Brandenburg hired Windy City Antique Brick Co. to retrieve, organize and haul away bricks at the site. Jose Torres was killed when a front-end loader owned by Brandenburg and operated by another Brandenburg employee ran into him.

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Humberto Menendez was working for Steine Cold Storage, Inc., which was a subcontractor for the installation of thermo units at a Wal-Mart store under construction in Indiana. Steine rented a boom lift from NES Rentals. 

NES Rentals delivered the lift to the construction site on Aug. 23, 2006. The Steine foreman on site signed a 1-page, double-sided, rental agreement that was given to him by NES Rentals.

A paragraph including an indemnification clause was posted on the backside of the rental agreement. The indemnification clause stated that Steine indemnified NES against any claims arising out of negligence as to the use of the rented boom lift. 

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In a record setting jury verdict, $4.16 million, Joshua Jaeger, age 26, was severely injured when he fell 16 feet from a forklift and personnel platform.  Mr. Jaeger was a garage door serviceman who went to the Public Works garage for the City of Elmhurst to give an estimate for repairing a broken garage door spring.

An employee of the City of Elmhurst used a forklift and personnel platform to lift Mr. Jaeger 16 feet into the air to take a look at the spring. After Jaeger reached the proper height, he stepped from one side of the platform to the other when he fell to the concrete floor.  He fractured his right femur, which required open reduction internal fixation surgery.  He also suffered soft tissue injuries to his back.

Mr. Jaeger claimed at trial that he was no longer working as a garage door serviceman because of his injuries.  He claimed past and future lost earning capacity in that job totaling $2,480,794.