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Man who lost his leg in forklift accident awarded $17 million

A security guard in another state was patrolling a PennySaver USA facility when he was struck from behind by a forklift. The forklift driver was operating the vehicle in reverse.

The forklift ran over the man's right leg, crushing it, and dragged him several feet. The accident degloved the man's lower limb. In order to get the first forklift off of the man, a second forklift had to be brought in to lift it off, according to Claims Journal.

The man was rushed to a hospital, where he had to have a number of different emergency surgeries in order to repair his ankle and leg. Over the next 18 months or so, he underwent 11 more surgeries to repair damage to the leg, his ankle, and his foot.

Unfortunately, the injury zone was very large, which creates a risk of complications and, indeed, the man did suffer some. Those complications required even more hospitalizations and surgeries over the course of nearly two years.

Ultimately, the man had to have his leg amputated below the knee. After that, he continued to suffer medical issues. He required three revision surgeries. Finally, he was fitted for a temporary prosthetic and is expected to be fitted for a permanent one next year.

PennySaver is now out of business, but the company was insured and the insurance company was the defendant in the man's lawsuit. After a 10-day trial, a jury awarded the security guard $17 million. According to the man's attorney, Travelers insurance has already agreed not to appeal the verdict and plans to pay the award in full.

Although we typically concentrate on accidents that occur on construction sites, this case has many of the same issues. The man almost certainly had a valid workers' compensation claim because he was injured on the job.

However, it appears the forklift operator and the security guard were not employed by the same company. This is common with security guards, who are typically brought onto the grounds of one company while working for a security company. In cases where a worker is injured by a third party -- someone other than the employer or a coworker -- that worker generally has the right to bring a separate personal injury claim.

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