$16.95 Million Jury Verdict in Leg Amputation Caused by Forklift Driver

Steven Meier, a security guard, was walking through the warehouse at PennySaver USA when Oliver Cervantes backed into Meier with his forklift truck. The forklift dragged Meier about 15 feet, trapping and crushing his right leg and ankle. According to the report of the case, employees of PennySaver had to bring in a second forklift truck to dislodge Meier’s leg.

Meier was 59 years old at the time and sustained serious crushing injuries to his right leg and ankle and a degloving injury to his lower leg. He underwent multiple surgeries as well as medical procedures to stabilize the fractures, repair nerves and tendons and to fight off infection of that injured leg. About a year and a half after this incident, Meier suffered a severe infection requiring amputation of his right leg below the knee.

He has since undergone three revision surgeries to the stump on that right leg before being fitted with a temporary prosthesis.  Meier likely will require at least one additional revision surgery.

Meier sued Oliver Cervantes and PennySaver USA claiming that Cervantes was negligent in the way he operated the forklift and chose not to look backward in the direction he was traveling, which was the cause of this tragic injury to Meier.

The defendants argued at trial that the forklift’s backup alarm and strobe light were activated at the time of the collision. It was also maintained that Meier was negligent in failing to heed warnings, especially since he was on duty as a security guard. The defense argued that Meier, as a security guard, would be aware of his surroundings. The defendants also contended that Meier had been provided with a safety vest and flashlight, but that he chose not to use them.

During the jury deliberations, the parties entered a high-low agreement with the high being $22 million and the low of $4 million. The jury found that Cervantes and Meier were negligent, but that Meier’s negligence was not a substantial factor in causing this incident.

The jury signed a verdict in favor of Meier for approximately $16.95 million, including $7.5 million each for past and future pain and suffering, $1.3 million for future medical expenses, $464,300 for past medical expenses, $100,000 for future lost earning capacity and $84,100 for past lost earnings.

Under the terms of the high-low agreement, the full verdict amount of $16.95 million will be paid.

Meier’s attorneys who successfully handled this very tragic case were Ricardo Echeverria, Kristin E. Hobbs and Dennis A. Thayer.

At trial, Meier’s counsel presented experts in orthopedic surgery, prosthetics, vocational rehabilitation, life care planning and economics.

The defendants engaged experts to testify in human factors, orthopedic surgery, vocational rehabilitation, life care planning and economics.

Meier v. PennySaver USA, No. RIC 1507069 (Cal. Super. Ct. Riverside County).

Kreisman Law Offices and Robert Kreisman have been handling forklift accident lawsuits, truck accident cases, car accident cases, catastrophic injury cases and work injury cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Western Springs, Countryside, Country Club Hills, Palos Park, South Barrington, Bloomingdale, Chicago Heights, Evergreen Park, Melrose Park, Maywood, Villa Park, Chicago (Archer Heights, Lincoln Park, Back of the Yards, Belmont Cragin, Canaryville, Bucktown, Rogers Park, Hyde Park, McKinley Park), Cicero, Evanston, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Lincolnshire, Schaumburg, Round Lake, River Forest, Oak Park and Northbrook, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman successfully handled a jury trial for a truck driver who was severely injured resulting in an above the knee amputation caused by the negligence of a forklift operator. The case was tried in the Circuit Court of Cook County and was settled during the second day of jury deliberations.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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