This month, Steven Meier, a security guard in Riverside, California, received a $16.9 million jury award for sustaining injuries from a forklift. While Meier was on the job, an employee operating a forklift reversed into Meier, dragging him fifteen feet and pinning his leg under equipment. Meier’s leg had to be amputated below the knee.
Meier was able to file for workers’ compensation through his employer. Since the forklift driver was actually employed by a third party, Meier was also able to file a negligence lawsuit against the third-party employer, claiming that the forklift driver was negligent for not looking behind the forklift before putting it into reverse.
In Meier’s negligence lawsuit, the court had to determine who was at fault for the accident. California’s comparative negligence law states that even if the injured person is partly to blame for the cause of the accident, the injured person can still receive compensation for the losses suffered. But, the amount of compensation is decreased by the percentage of fault that is attributed to the injured party.
The forklift driver argued that Meier was partly at fault because Meier was inattentive while standing behind the forklift, not wearing a reflective jacket while working, and he ignored the strobe light and alarm that go off when a forklift is moving in reverse. Reflective jackets were recommended, not required, by Meier’s employer.
After the ten-day trial, the jury deliberated for one day and returned a verdict of $16.9 million in favor of Meier. Although the jury found Meier negligent for being inattentive and not wearing the reflective jacket, they were not significant enough factors to bear fault in the accident. Meier did not have comparative negligence, so his compensation was not reduced by any percentage of his own fault.
At Dial & Associates, we can help you get the compensation you are entitled to, even if you may be partly at fault. Steve Dial can make the road easier and guide you through the process of receiving workers’ compensation. Just call (714) 279-8055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
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