Every month, a reader asks one of our sponsor legal experts about a work-related issue. These building trades law professionals respond in an Organized Labor exclusive. This month's expert is David L. Winnett The Veen Firm. Ask David a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit the VEEN FIRM website.

I hurt myself at work recently while I was operating a stand up lift truck with the forks trailing, such that the rear of the truck was facing forward. As I was slowing down, I lost my balance and my leg moved outside of the operator compartment, causing it to be crushed between the truck and a fixed metal shelf. The rear of the truck was open, meaning that there was nothing preventing my body from falling out of the truck.

Am I entitled to workers' compensation benefits for my injuries? If I do receive workers' compensation benefits, will I be prevented from suing the manufacturer of the truck for failing to equip the truck with adequate safety measures?

Since you were injured at work, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Even more importantly, however, the fact that you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits does not necessarily prevent you from suing the manufacturer and supplier of the truck. Although the workers' compensation system is designed to provide necessary medical treatment and lost wages to injured workers, it often does not provide an injured worker with a full and complete recovery of emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other similar damages suffered by an injured worker and his or her family. Those types of damages would only be available in a lawsuit against the companies that were involved in the manufacture and sale of the truck.

For additional advice as to what you should do in your specific situation, you should consult with attorneys who specialize in workers' compensation and personal injury claims as soon as possible, because both of these types of claims have strict rules and time limits to follow.

-David L. Winnett, Attorney; The Veen Firm, PC
Ask David a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“Interaction via “Ask the Expert” does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any advice given is neither legal advice nor does it serve as a replacement for hiring an attorney. In addition, any case results mentioned or discussed are not guarantees of similar results.”
David L. Winnett

This Month's Expert; David L. Winnett

David L. Winnett is a trial attorney representing catastrophically injured plaintiffs. Having joined The Veen Firm's Peters Trial Team in 2014, Mr. Winnett brings invaluable experience from his previous work on behalf of defendants. He was a partner at the defense firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP where he practiced for 13 years and tried cases involving employment matters, personal injuries and professional malpractice.

Past Questions

Ask the Expert

Ask a Question

Labor 411

Labor 411

IBEW Builds San Francisco Transit Center


Please Support the Sponsors that Support the Labor Movement...

Blue Shield CA
UA Local 38 Plumbers & Pipefitters
Labor 411
OE Federal

Go to top