EquipNet to pay trucker crushed by load $4.5 million

November 15, 2023

Tyson Fisher


A federal jury has awarded an owner-operator millions of dollars for a workplace incident involving a 4,000-pound load and a “poorly trained” forklift operator.

On Nov. 8, a jury for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan awarded Yaroslav Ilnytskyy more than $4.5 million after it found EquipNet liable for an incident that left the man severely injured. EquipNet is an online venue that sells pre-owned manufacturing, packaging, laboratory, test, electronics and facility support equipment, according to its website.

The incident at the center of the lawsuit took place in March 2018. Ilnytskyy, an owner-operator, was picking up a load at EquipNet’s property in Brockton, Mass.

According to the complaint, the machinery the driver was to transport weighed more than 10,000 pounds. EquipNet was to load the machinery onto Ilnytskyy’s truck. Once loaded, Ilnytskyy was to secure the load to the bed of his truck.

While Ilnytskyy was securing the load, an EquipNet employee operating a hi-lo began to load more material onto the bed of the truck. As the employee was adding to the load, about 4,000 pounds of machinery fell on Ilnytskyy.

The lawsuit portrays the EquipNet employee as incompetent when it comes to his job duties. The complaint specifically claims the employee was “unqualified to operate the hi-lo.” Furthermore, Ilnytskyy claims that the employee was “poorly trained on how to operate the hi-lo.”

The lawsuit alleges that the EquipNet employee was known around the workplace to be a dangerous worker. The complaint states that the employee was known as someone who “could not use the hi-lo safely, who often failed to pay attention and who others refused to work with out of fear for their own safety.”

According to the complaint, managers of EquipNet’s Brockton location were aware of the issues surrounding the employee operating the hi-lo. Despite this knowledge, managers permitted the employee to operate the equipment without supervision or assistance.

As a result of the incident, Ilnytskyy suffered severe injuries and was transported by ambulance to a hospital. After being released from the hospital, Ilnytskyy was treated at home by a visiting nurse for more than three months. He also received treatment from an orthopedic doctor, rehabilitation doctor, internal medicine physician and other health professionals.

Ilnytskyy’s injuries have led to permanent limitations and impairments. Most notably, he has been unable to return to work, causing him to sell his tractor-trailer and close down his company, Red Express.

A federal jury agreed with Ilnytskyy’s assessment of the situation by finding EquipNet 100% negligent by way of the employee operating the hi-lo. The jury awarded Ilnytskyy more than $500,000 in economic damages and $4 million in non-economic damages, which includes sustained injuries, pain and suffering, mental and emotional injury, fright and shock, and denial of social pleasures and enjoyment. LL

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