A jury in a West Virginia federal court has awarded a trucker more than $5 million after his leg was crushed on the job. Two trucking companies were defendants in the lawsuit, including the company that employed the driver worked.
On Aug. 14, the jury in a case at the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia awarded truck driver Richard Edwards Jr. $5,415,811 for injuries sustained at work. Huntington, W.V.-based McElliotts Trucking and Coal City, Ill.-based Cardinal Transport were ordered to pay $4 million in physical pain/suffering and reduced capacity to function as a whole person. The remaining award comes in the form of medical bills, past lost earnings and reduced earning capacity.
In October 2015, Edwards assisted McElliotts owner Danny McGowan in loading metal pipe into his truck with a forklift. According to the complaint, McGowan first secured the forks of the forklift to a strap that wrapped around the pipe while the pipe was lying on the ground. McGowan then lifted the pipe from the ground with the forklift with the strap and placed the pipe onto the truck.
Once in the truck, Edwards would secure the pipe and release the strap connecting the pipe to the forklift. As Edwards was loading in the last piece of pipe, McGowan “suddenly and unexpectedly backed the forklift up pulling the heavy pipe off the truck,” according to the lawsuit. Edwards’ foot was crushed and consequently, his right leg was amputated below the knee.
In February 2016, Edwards filed a lawsuit against McElliotts and Cardinal for 12 various counts, including seven counts of negligence. The commercial vehicle being unloaded at the time was registered to Cardinal. McElliotts and Cardinal did business as a joint operation.
The jury found McElliotts guilty of negligence and that Cardinal Transport is liable for the negligence of McElliotts.
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