$16.9M Verdict: Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP

$16,948,377 Verdict

Security Guard Struck by a Forklift and Sustained Severe Disfiguring Injuries

Congratulations to Ricardo Echeverria and Kristin E. Hobbs of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP in Claremont, Ca along with Dennis Thayer of Law Office of Dennis Thayer in Riverside, Ca for the $16,948,377 verdict they obtained on behalf of their client, a 62 Year old security guard, who was struck by a forklift and sustained severe injuries, including degloving of his lower right leg and a crushed right ankle.

While on patrol at a worksite, the Plaintiff was struck from behind by a forklift being operated in reverse by the Defendant. The forklift dragged the Plaintiff 15 feet before stopping, and a second forklift was brought in to dislodge his leg from underneath the forklift.

The Plaintiff sustained severe injuries, including degloving of his lower right leg and a crushed right ankle. Over the next year and a half, he underwent 11 surgeries to repair the damage to his leg, foot and ankle, and to address the infections that kept setting in due to the large area of injury. A year and a half after the collision, a severe infection unexpectedly set in and Plaintiff’s right leg was immediately amputated below the knee. Following the amputation, the Plaintiff underwent three revision surgeries before he was able to be fitted for a temporary prosthetic.

The Plaintiff is expected to receive a permanent prosthetic in 2018, but because of his age and the condition of his residual limb, he will continue to require attendant care for the rest of his life. Further revision surgeries to his residual limb are expected in order to remove excess skin and improve the condition of his left leg.

“The medical illustrations prepared by MediVisuals were exceptionally well done and, when combined with the testimony of our orthopedic surgeon, allowed the jury to really see and feel what Steven Meier endured in trying to save his leg, and the complications he had following his amputation. I would highly recommend MediVisuals.”

Ricardo Echeverria, Esq.
Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP

Mr. Echeverria, Ms. Hobbs and Mr. Thayer argued that the Defendant was negligent in properly operating the forklift safely and he failed to look in the direction of where he was traveling. The Defense claimed that the Plaintiff was contributorily negligent for not paying attention and not wearing a safety vest or carrying a flashlight. Defense also contended that the forklift was equipped with a working backup alarm and strobe light, to which the Plaintiff was not attentive. Defendants argued that the Plaintiff’s inattention was particularly negligent because his job as a security guard was to be observant.

Before trial, the highest offer was $2,000,000 from the Defense. After closing argument, the offer was increased to $4,000,000. During the jury deliberations, the parties agreed to a high/low agreement of $4,000,000 (low) and $22,000,000 (high), which was put on the record. The jury found the Defendant negligent and that his negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to the Plaintiff. The jury found that the Plaintiff was also negligent, but that his negligence was not a substantial factor in causing him harm. The Plaintiff was awarded $16,948,377 by the Jury.

Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP partnered with MediVisuals to develop multiple illustrations of the Plaintiff’s injuries and surgeries. Selected Exhibits shown below.