Articles Posted in Forklifts

Robert Howard was a 55-year-old truck driver when he arrived at a Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. facility to transport steel machine equipment. His flatbed tractor trailer was directed to a loading area where a Nucor employee was operating the crane to be used for loading the equipment onto Howard’s flatbed truck.

The Nucor employee positioned the load parallel to and partially above the trailer. While Howard attempted to place wood dunnage, a securing device, into the proper position on the trailer, the Nucor employee unexpectedly moved the 50,000-pound load, causing it to strike the dunnage. This forced Howard off the trailer. He suffered a compression fracture to his left heel bone as a result of his fall.

Howard underwent surgery and continues to have problems with mobility and pain. He has not returned to his job, in which he has been paid $22,600 per year. He has incurred medical expenses of about $46,000.

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Robert Kinstner was a forklift and machine operator employed by a masonry subcontractor working at the construction site for a new police station at 3600 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. The defendant in this case was Harbour Contractors Inc., which was the general contractor for the construction of this building. On Feb. 9, 2010, Kinstner, 42, slipped and fell on a deep rut that was covered with ice and snow. Kinstner suffered a broken ankle with disruption of the syndesmosis joint, requiring open reduction internal fixation followed by arthroscopic surgery eight months later.

He claimed that he developed complex regional pain syndrome shortly after his injury, which prevented him from working in any capacity since the date of this occurrence. He stated that because of the injury he was unable to stand and walk for any length of time. Kinstner asserted that he lost earnings and benefits of between $751,000 and nearly $2 million. He also made a claim for more than $3 million in future loss of earnings and benefits.

Kinstner maintained that the unsafe and uneven ground conditions at the work site had existed for several weeks before his injury.  He claimed that the area was a means of access for machinery and equipment but it had not been properly stoned or leveled for workers’ safety by the general contractor. Photographs of the scene taken shortly after the incident showed the presence of the ruts and uneven ground.

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Menzies Aviation and CenterPoint Properties Trust entered into a 10-year lease for a warehouse near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2007.  CenterPoint owned the warehouse, while Menzies operated an aircargo handling business that included the use of 15,000- and 30,000-pound forklifts.  The warehouse was a single-story, 185,000-square-foot structure built in 1998.

The warehouse had a 6-inch concrete slab that did not show any damage in 2007.  However, by January 2009, the concrete slab was cracking and scaling along the surface and was damaged along the contraction joints.

This type of wear was not typical, but rather was caused by Menzies’ use of heavy forklifts.

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