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Trucker awarded $4.5M after “poorly trained” forklift operator crushed him with load

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Trucker crushed by load awarded $4.5M for an incident involving a forklift driver that left him seriously injured. 

Truck driver Yaroslav Ilnytskyy was awarded more than $4.5 million by a jury for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan on November 8th for a lawsuit initially filed in August of 2029. The company EquipNet Inc. was found to be “100%” responsible for the “permanent disability and disfigurement” sustained by Ilnytskyy in the accident. 

According to Law360, Ilnytskyy was an owner operator under his company Red Express LLC. based in Michigan when he was hired to pick up a load at EquipNet in Brockton, Massachusetts for a delivery to New Jersey.  

Ilnytskyy arrived at the facility on March 19th, 2019 and waited as an EquipNet employee loaded pieces of equipment onto his trailer using a forklift. Ilnytskyy secured the cargo, but the employee soon told him that he had loaded the wrong equipment onto the trailer and asked that he unstrap the load. 

As Ilnytskyy was unstrapping the load, the employee attempted to pick up one of the pieces of equipment with the forklift. “While he was removing the straps, [the employee] shouted, ‘Look out!'” the suit states. “Before Mr. Ilnytskyy could react, he was struck by the 4000 [pound] load that had fallen off the forks of the hi-lo. The force of the impact knocked him off the trailer, pinning him between a wall and the trailer.”

Ilnytskyy suffered a dislocated elbow, multiple shoulder fractures, multiple foot fractures, nerve damage to his arm and leg, and concussions resulting in headaches. The injuries forced Ilnytskyy to stop driving, sell his tractor trailer, and shut down his company. 

The lawsuit states that the EquipNet employee in the incident was “poorly trained on how to operate the hi-lo and was known to be an employee who could not use the hi-lo safely and who often failed to pay attention.” Additionally, the suit states that other workers at the facility avoided working with him “out of fear for their own safety.”

$505,831 of the award amount was for Ilnytskyy’s economic damages and $4 million for noneconomic damages for his pain, suffering, and “permanent disability and disfigurement.”

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