Worker claimed forklift accident caused permanent injuries

Posted on August 9, 2019 by We Can Help Law

as published on
VerdictSearch

Settlement $500,000
Case Aaron Katz v. Thomas Tiplady and Hilti Inc., No. BER-L-000770-17
Court Bergen County Superior Court
Date 2/13/2019
Plaintiff Attorney(s) Michael S. Noonan, Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC, Freehold, NJ
Defense Attorney(s) Thomas A. Zammatore, John Hendrzak & Lloyd, Parsippany, NJ

We Recover Damages for Client Injured in Hackensack NJ Workplace Accident

FACTS & ALLEGATIONS

On Feb. 10, 2015, plaintiff Aaron Katz, 45, a deliveryman, was knocked down by a forklift while picking up materials at Hilti Inc., in Hackensack. He claimed multiple injuries. Katz sued Hilti and its employee, forklift operator Thomas Tiplady. Katz alleged that Hilti negligently failed to provide a safe workplace.

According to Katz, he was loading his truck when Tiplady struck the skid behind him with his forklift. This caused the skid to be pushed into Katz’s legs, causing him to fall down and strike the back of his head on his truck as he fell backward. Katz’s counsel argued that Tiplady operated the forklift in an improper manner and that Hilti failed in its duty to ensure a safe work environment. The defendants did not stipulate to or contest liability.

INJURIES/DAMAGES

  • aggravation of pre-existing condition;
  • arthroscopy;
  • bulging disc, cervical;
  • closed head injury;
  • cognition, impairment;
  • concussion;
  • decompression surgery;
  • decreased range of motion;
  • depression;
  • disc protrusion, cervical;
  • emotional distress;
  • glenoid labrum, tear;
  • head; headaches;
  • massage therapy;
  • memory, impairment;
  • mental/psychological;
  • photophobia;
  • physical therapy;
  • post-concussion syndrome;
  • shoulder impingement;
  • SLAP lesion/tear;
  • strain, cervical;
  • traumatic brain injury

Immediately following the accident, Katz presented to a medical provider and was examined and released. In the ensuing days, he came under the care of a workers’ compensation physician with complaints of headaches, neck pain and pain in the shoulder of his dominant arm, the right. He underwent MRIs and was diagnosed with bulging at cervical intervertebral discs C4-5 and C5-6 and with a labrum tear of his right shoulder. He was put on a course of physical therapy, which consisted of massage and exercise. Katz came under the care of a neurologist, who diagnosed him with a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion and postconcussion syndrome.

In May, Katz, his shoulder having not improved from physical therapy, underwent an arthroscopic superior labral repair and subacromial decompression. Following the surgery, he treated with a brief course of physical therapy, which also addressed his neck injuries.

Katz continued to treat with a neurologist for his traumatic brain injury, which allegedly caused him headaches, light sensitivity, adjustment disorder and some memory loss. He also treated with a psychiatrist for his adjustment disorder, which allegedly resulted in depression. No further treatment was rendered.

In his report, Katz’s expert in orthopedic surgery attributed Katz’s injuries to the accident and opined that Katz also suffered a right shoulder impingement, a SLAP lesion of the right shoulder, chronic cervical strain, cervical facet syndrome, a protrusion at C3-4 and an aggravation of pre-existing cervical degenerative disc disease.

Kat’s expert in neurology, in his report, causally related Katz’s traumatic brain injury to the accident, and determined that he suffered permanent closedhead injuries.

Katz alleged that he continues to experience pain and limitations from his injuries, including neck pain, a limited range of motion in his shoulder, headaches, sensitivity to light and occasional forgetfulness. He sought damages for past and future pain and suffering.

The defense’s expert in orthopedic surgery examined Katz and determined that, at most, he suffered a temporary shoulder injury that later resolved. The expert stated that Katz’s MRIs showed pre-existing degenerative changes in his neck and shoulder.

Result

The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. Hilti’s insurer agreed to pay a total amount of $500,000, from a policy that provided a substantially greater amount of coverage.

Insurer(s) Experts

Zurich North America for both defendants

Defense Expert(s)

David H. Rosenbaum, M.D., neurology, Englewood, NJ (did not testify) Cary I. Skolnick, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Morganville, NJ (did not testify)

Plaintiff Expert(s)

Warren A. Hammerschlag, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Hackensack, NJ (did not testify)

EDITOR’S NOTE

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.

 

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