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ARTICLE ID 8443

$________ Failure to inspect, maintain and repair forklift - leg is crushed when forklift reversed into him - Near amputation injury to left calf.

Circuit Court, First Circuit, Honolulu, Hawaii

The plaintiff was operating a forklift on the defendant’s premises in accordance with an informal agreement between the parties. The plaintiff dismounted from the forklift to assist one of the defendant’s employees when the forklift suddenly reversed and crushed the plaintiff’s lower left leg. The defendant alleged that the injuries were solely the fault of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, a chief warrant officer in the United States Navy who was approaching retirement had an agreement with the defendant, a recycling yard to use the equipment and salvage yard to restore muscle cars. The parties agreement, which was informal, called for the parties to split between the plaintiff and the defendant.

On October 4, ________, the 37-year-old plaintiff was operating the defendant’s ________ Nissan forklift on the defendant’s premises in accordance with the parties’ agreement. He dismounted the forklift in order to assist one of the defendant’s employees about 25 feet away. The forklift reversed approximately 25 feet into the plaintiff and crushed his left calf. The plaintiff suffered a near amputation injury to his left calf. He had to undergo several surgeries on his left calf.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in failing to inspect, maintain and repair the forklift. He asserted that the forklift should have been in reasonably safe operating condition. He maintained that the handbrake was defective and not properly maintained.

The plaintiff alleged damages consisting of lifetime loss of earnings amounting to between $1.2 and $1.9 million dollars.

The defendant maintained that the premises and the equipment located on it were in safe and working order. The defendant p 7 3 contended that the injury sustained by the plaintiff was solely as a result of his own negligence in failing to properly secure the forklift when he disembarked from it. The defendant contended that the plaintiff left the forklift running and failed to turn it off when he left it to help the employee. Furthermore, the defendant maintained that the plaintiff did not check to make sure that the forklift was not in gear before walking away from it. Finally, the defendant disputed the damages alleged by the plaintiff since the plaintiff had already given notice to the Navy of his intent to retire.

The parties agreed to resolve this matter with the defendant paying the plaintiff the sum of $________.

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