Southern California Security Guard Wins $17M Damages Award After Forklift Accident Leads to Leg Amputation

forkliftA Southern California security guard recovered a judgment of $17 million for the injuries he suffered at work when a forklift ran over his leg, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. The injury was so severe that it ultimately necessitated the amputation of part of the guard’s right leg. The guard was able to succeed, in part, because his California personal injury attorney persuaded the jury that, although the guard was negligent, his negligence did not play a substantial role in causing the injuries that eventually cost the guard part of his leg.

The injured security guard worked at the Mira Loma facility of a now-bankruptcy publication. He was injured when a moving forklift at the facility struck him in the leg. The forklift was traveling in reverse at the time of the accident. The forklift actually dragged his leg for several feet and, in the process, crushed the guard’s leg and tore the skin off the leg. The business had to retrieve a second forklift and use the second forklift to get the first forklift off the guard’s leg.

Almost two years after the accident, doctors concluded that the man’s leg could not be completely saved and he underwent a partial amputation. By that time, he’d undergone “11 surgeries, several infections and months spent in hospitals and nursing homes,” according to the Press-Enterprise report.

Based upon these injuries, the guard sued for damages. The guard argued that the publication and its insurer were liable for the forklift driver’s negligence and that the jury should award the guard a substantial recovery to account for his many types of damages. The guard’s case presented proof that he incurred substantial pain and suffering, had racked up massive past medical expenses, would have significant future medical needs and had his life forever altered by the accident and resulting amputation.

The insurance company, in opposing the guard’s case, tried to prove that the guard was to blame for the accident. According to the Press-Enterprise report, defense arguments focused on things like the guard’s refusal to wear a reflective jacket, failure to carry a flashlight and his failure to maintain proper awareness of the forklift (which, according to the defense, had a working strobe light and backup alarm noise.)

In a personal injury case, it is not uncommon for the defense to present arguments painting the plaintiff’s harm as the result of something that was his own fault. When a defendant tries to argue that it cannot be liable because the plaintiff’s injuries were the plaintiff’s own fault, the defense has to show, not only that the plaintiff was negligent, but that the plaintiff’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injuries that resulted.

As a plaintiff, there are many ways to counter such an argument effectively. You can show that you were not negligent, or show that, even if you were negligent, your negligence didn’t cause your injuries. In this case, the jury determined the guard was negligent but that the guard’s negligence was not a substantial factor in causing the injuries that occurred.

The jury issued a damages award in excess of $17 million. The guard’s attorney told the Press-Enterprise that, while the award was large, a large award was necessary in this case because the plaintiff was going to have substantial needs for the rest of his life.

In your severe truck injury accident case, you’ll need to do a lot of things to succeed, from proving your opponent’s negligence to demonstrating that you weren’t to blame to establishing the amount of your damages. That’s why you need experienced counsel on your side. The skilled and knowledgeable San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye & Fitting have been representing injured people in California for many years and have the experience and abilities to help you. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

California Excavation Worker Injured After Driver Hit Him Receives $56 Million Jury Verdict, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 7, 2017

California Court Affirms Two-Million Dollar Verdict for Plaintiff Injured in Auto Accident, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 10, 2016