On the Job Injury Leads to Back Surgery

This client was on the job working as a forklift driver. He was unloading the truck of one of the largest companies in the world. The driver of the truck failed to secure the truck and it started to roll as this man was backing up his forklift. The forklift fell and he ended up needing back surgery.


Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.

In 2015, I had the pleasure of representing a man who was injured on the job. My client, in that case, was a man who had been in and out of jobs doing his best to provide for his family, and had settled on working for a temp agency as it was the only way he was able to get steady work and provide for his family. One of the jobs they had sent him out on required him to drive a forklift. While he had not worked as a forklift driver much in the past, he received a lot of training by his temp agency, and therefore, they were able to hire him out quite often.

He was working at a shipping facility, where trucks would back up to a dock, and he would enter the truck, unload the truck, and then the truck would go on, either fully loaded or empty at that time. One day, my client was unloading a truck of a major international carrier of products and goods. The driver of that truck had gotten out, and he failed to follow the requirements of the dock. One of the requirements of the dock was that when a truck is pulled up to the dock, their tires need to be chocked, which meant blocks needed to be put under the tires so that they could not roll away.

As is very foreseeable, the truck driver forgot to chock his truck. My client was in the back of his truck, unloading it when it slowly started to roll. As my client reversed his forklift out of the back of the trailer, his forklift got stuck between the dock and the trailer. Knowing what was going to happen at that point as the truck continued to roll away, my client didn’t have many options. He could have jumped out and maybe been crushed under the weight of a forklift, or he could sit there and write it down.

As he had been trained, he stayed in the forklift and wrote it down. The forklift fell, hit the ground, broke, and my client suffered serious injuries. The injuries to my client necessitated that he received back surgery. He was a young man, 41-42 years old, and now he had spinal surgery. His ability to work in the future was forever affected.

The dock and the multinational shipping company initially tried to say that It wasn’t their fault. Then the videos came out, the work we did came out, the witnesses came out. It didn’t take long before they realized that they would have a very hard time in trial saying that my client did something wrong. In the end, this case settled for a favorable amount for our client, provided for him and provided for his lost wages and medical needs in the future.


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