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$5,600,000 – Man Paralyzed By Defective Forklift

Plaintiff was a 45-year-old mechanic who became paralyzed when a defective forklift fell over onto him while he was delivering products to a car dealership.

Plaintiff delivered 20 pallets of coolant to a car dealership. At all other prior deliveries to other vendors, Plaintiff did not assist nor was he asked to assist in the unloading of the delivery he made. Defendant car dealership did not have a loading dock or any equipment to effectively unload the coolant from the truck that Plaintiff was driving. After a failed attempt by another employee of Defendant who was handling this delivery to unload the coolant with a forklift, he decided he would use a pallet jack to assist him in unloading the delivery from Plaintiff. The employee drove the forklift to the location where the pallet jack was located on the mezzanine level of the warehouse. The employee walked up to the mezzanine level and pushed the pallet jack onto the prongs of the forklift. Plaintiff was standing behind the forklift on the ground level during this time. The employee then yelled to Plaintiff to touch the forklift so it would move forward to enable him to load the pallet jack onto it. When Plaintiff touched the handle of the forklift, it instantly and unexpectedly jumped forward. The forklift continued to go forward until it toppled and fell onto Plaintiff, causing severe and permanent injuries, including paraplegia.

Defendant failed to reasonably and properly train its employees in the operation of the machine which toppled onto Plaintiff. Defendant also negligently supervised its employees thereby leading to the incident where an employee unreasonably and unsafely attempted to lower a pallet jack from the mezzanine level of the defendant’s warehouse without proper methods or securing mechanisms. Defendant also unreasonably involved plaintiff in the unloading process of goods being delivered by him, the movement of the pallet jack from the mezzanine level to the ground floor of the warehouse and operation of the machine without proper training, instruction or supervision being provided to him.

Kelli Burritt was an associate at another law firm when this case was litigated. She performed extensive discovery on the case.

Result: $5,600,000 settlement with Defendant car dealership only

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