A 45-year-old driver for a concrete block and building material company was delivering block and rebar to a home construction site, using a portable all-terrain forklift. The forklift, which had a three-wheeled design, had an inadequate safety cage to protect the driver.
When the unit started to tip over on uneven ground, the driver panicked and attempted to jump free of the unit instead of staying inside the protective cage. The cage did not have any door or protection on the driver’s side, creating the illusion that a driver could jump out on that side. Unfortunately, the driver misestimated his ability to jump and ended up in the path of the top roll bar, which crushed his right leg.
He had permanent injuries to his knee and was unable to return to his work. His medical condition was complicated by the development of deep vein thrombosis at the site of the knee injury, which was so severe that it required permanent anticoagulation.
We were able to establish that the design of the driver protective cage was negligent, and the instructions and warnings given to drivers through the labeling on the unit were inadequate. The defendant concluded that a confidential settlement was warranted.