Man Pinned Under Forklift Awarded Almost $17M

(August 8, 2011) A Las Vegas man was awarded nearly $20 million in damages after he was run over by his boss in a 14,000-pound Sky-Trak 5028 rough terrain forklift. After being pinned underneath one of the tires, Tom Novick was completely trapped underneath the forklift, requiring multiple surgeries and two amputations of his right leg.


Novick had hoped to return to his career as a roofer, and was employed by Panelized Structures only as a temporary laborer. However after bringing up this suit, it was determined that Panelized Structures did not have a strong stance on the safety of its employees.


The driver of the forklift at the time of Novick’s accident was the brother-in-law of the company’s owner, and had been recently promoted as safety director after the most serious injury in company history. Maybe he should have been promoted as “Lack-of-Safety Director”.


In addition, Panelized Structures used temporary workers without training them. Tom Novick’s past lost earnings totaled $171,000, and future lost earnings is roughly $514,000. He is suing the supervisor who was operating the forklift, as well as the construction contractor who employed him.


After the jury apportioned 80 percent fault to the contractor and 20 percent fault to Novick (because he walked behind the forklift), they reduced the $19.85 million verdict to $16.83 million, as well as factoring in post-judgment interest.


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