Forklift Operator Suffers Multiple Injuries in Fall
In September 2015, a 54-year-old forklift operator was loading cargo into a parked 18-wheeler semi truck at a shipping center in Illinois. At that time, the semi truck drove away from the loading dock at the exact moment when the forklift was caught in between the edge of the loading dock and the open rear door of the truck’s trailer. As a result, the forklift fell four-and-a-half feet.
Because of this incident, the forklift operator suffered cervical trauma and lumbar pain radiating down his right leg to the dorsum of the foot. Diagnostic imaging revealed acute exacerbation of previously asymptomatic degenerative disc disease, foraminal stenosis, and central spinal stenosis. To treat his symptoms, the forklift operator underwent a regimen of physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and surgical interventions in the form of an L4-L5 laminectomy and a subsequent revision. He later had a third surgery to remove the hardware installed in the prior operations, followed by a fourth surgery to modify an implanted screw.
GWC Overcomes Defendants’ Experts and Objections
In trying to obtain full and fair compensation for the forklift operator and his wife, Mr. Northcutt and Mr. Cairo faced opposition from the attorneys for the trucking company, who through their experts claimed that there had not been sufficient force to cause such injuries. Further, the fact that the forklift operator had severe degenerative disc disease led the Defendants to issue a blanket denial that they caused any harm to him. GWC overcame these objections by marshaling testimony from multiple physicians who treated the forklift operator.
“While the majority of people over the age of fifty years have some form of degenerative disc disease,” said Mr. Northcutt, “they are able to live an asymptomatic life. It was the action of the Defendants’ driver that set in motion a cascading set of horrors for our client and his family.”
“All of the physicians who saw our client throughout the course of his treatment agreed on this point,” added Mr. Cairo.
Mr. Cairo also noted that the forklift operator “had never received any physical therapy, epidural injections, or treatment for a lower back injury, much less a referral for surgery, before this incident. In fact, prior to the Defendants’ negligent actions, he had been a physically active individual, enjoying hobbies such as dancing, traveling, riding his bicycle, and playing baseball, basketball, and football.”
“The attempt by the Defendants to dismiss the totality of our client’s injuries as being the sole byproduct of a natural misfortune that – just coincidentally – happened to begin on the same day his forklift hit the ground strained credulity,” said Mr. Northcutt. “It was a claim we were happy to address before a jury at trial.”
Thanks to the arguments they presented, Mr. Northcutt and Mr. Cairo were able to settle this matter in a mediation with the assistance of the Hon. Judge William E. Gomolinski at ADR for $4,100,000.00 for the forklift operator, as well as $400,000.00 for his wife for loss of consortium. Additionally, the forklift operator’s employer agreed to waive its right to collect a $295,000.00 workers’ compensation lien, for a total settlement worth $4,795,000.00.
“Tragedy struck this family almost four years ago, and there is no better feeling than knowing your clients have received the justice they deserve and the financial stability that will last them a lifetime,” said Mr. Cairo.
Let GWC Get You the Justice You Deserve
Accidents involving heavy machinery, such as forklifts, can inflict serious injuries. To make sure that you are fairly compensated, turn to the Chicago machinery accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
GWC has recovered over $2 billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for its clients. Whether it is a machinery accident, a car crash, a workplace mishap, a construction injury, a case of medical malpractice, or a wrongful death, we have been tirelessly fighting for Illinois families for more than four decades. Let GWC’s team of experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys help you get the justice you deserve.