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Products Liability - Alleged defectively designed fork-lift truck - Traumatic amputation of three fingers during crash.

Cook County, Illinois

This action arose out of a workplace accident involving a Baker Material fork-lift truck operated by the 26-year-old male plaintiff. The plaintiff asserted products liability claims against the manufacturer of the fork-lift and against the manufacturer’s parent company. The plaintiff suffered the traumatic amputation of three fingers on his right dominant hand.

The subject accident occurred on January 14, ________, while the plaintiff was working in the course of his employment with Taubensee Steel & Wire Co. The plaintiff’s right dominant hand was crushed when the Baker Material fork-lift truck he was operating crashed into a steel beam. The plaintiff testified that p 7 3 his foot slid from the brake pedal onto the reverse pedal, causing the fork-lift to thrust into a reverse direction, throwing the plaintiff from the operator’s seat. The plaintiff contended that the fork-lift, which was manufactured in ________, was defective and unreasonably dangerous due to the absence of seatbelts and an excessively slippery brake pedal.

The plaintiff presented medical specials of approximately $________ and eight weeks of lost wages.

The defendants maintained that the fork-lift was safe as designed and manufactured and that it complied with all applicable safety standards. The defendants argued that seatbelts would create additional hazards, based upon research conducted by the industry. The defendant additionally argued that a seatbelt would not have prevented the plaintiff’s injury, maintaining that the plaintiff was not thrown from his seat, but suffered crushing injuries to his hand while holding onto the outside edge of the fork-lift’s overhead guard when the plaintiff lost control of the fork-lift as he drove into an oil slick.

The jury found for the defendants.

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