Joplin personal injury attorney A recent case in California involved a very severe leg injury that ultimately led to a $16.95 million verdict. However, before the case got to the jury the court considered the argument that both people involved in the forklift accident were at fault, including the victim who lost his leg. As nearly every Joplin personal injury attorney recognizes, establishing liability can always be a challenge depending on the specific facts of the case.

Forklift Accident Results in Leg Amputation

Steven Meier worked as a security guard at a PennsySaver warehouse. While he was walking through the warehouse doing his rounds, a forklift driver backed into him with the forklift truck. Meier was dragged 15 feet before his right leg and ankle were trapped and crushed under the machine. Co-workers brought in a second forklift in an effort to dislodge Meier’s leg.
As a result of the crush injuries to his leg and ankle, Meier required several surgeries to stabilize the fractures and repair the tendons and nerves in his leg. There was also a lot of effort made in trying to stave off infection in the wound. Unfortunately, more than a year later, he suffered a severe infection which led to a below the knee amputation of his right leg. Ultimately, it is very likely that Meier will need additional surgery to treat his injuries.

Lawsuit for negligence

Meier filed a lawsuit against the forklift driver and the warehouse owner based on negligence. Meier claimed that the driver was negligent in operating the forklift because, he alleged, the driver failed to look behind him as he was backing up. This negligence was the reason he struck and injured Meier.
On the other hand, the warehouse owner argued that the forklift had a backup alarm and strobe light that warns bystanders that the machine is backing up. Those warning measures were activated at the time Meier was struck. However, they also argued that Meier failed to heed these warnings, which was particularly egregious in light of the fact that he was actually on duty as a security guard at that time. As such, he should have been more aware of his surroundings. As this case shows you, having a Joplin personal injury attorney help with the issue of liability is key.

Jury awards $16.95 million to Meier

The jury found that the forklift driver and Meier were both negligent in their actions. However, they believed that Meier’s negligence was not actually a significant factor that resulted in Meier’s injuries. The $16.95 million verdict included $7.5 million for past pain and suffering and $7.5 million for 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.

What is a catastrophic injury?

Although there the term “catastrophic injury” does not really have a legal definition, it generally understood that it refers to a serious injury that leads to long-term, if not permanent, disability and disfigurement. Catastrophic injuries usually involve a difficult recovery process, multiple surgeries, and possibly a lifetime of medical treatment. It is common for victims suffering from catastrophic injuries to be unable to return to work for a long period of time, if at all.
It is also expected that catastrophic injuries will make even the most basic daily tasks too challenging to manage without assistance.  Another common characteristic of catastrophic injuries is that they result in substantial medical expenses that can often leave families unable to handle.  Luckily, victims of catastrophic injuries, as well as their families, are usually entitled to substantial compensation if they bring a personal injury claim.

Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries

In order to receive proper compensation for your injuries, it is necessary to prove the extent of those injuries.  That can be very challenging in any type of lawsuit. But with catastrophic injuries, obtaining the proof required can be even more of a challenge. The typical damages a victim of catastrophic injury can recover include current and future medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitation services, current and future lost wages, compensation for permanent disability, and compensation for pain, suffering and mental anguish.
For victims of a catastrophic injury, the first step is to reach the highest level of physical recovery possible.  If full recovery is not possible, as is typically the case with catastrophic injuries, then you should seek rehabilitation services and vocational programs in order to regain the best quality of life possible.
If you have questions regarding catastrophic injuries or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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