Siegel v. Wheeltronic
Jefforey Siegel loved his work and his company, Big Chief Tire. A veteran mechanic, he had worked hard to be promoted to supervisor. On August 15, 2006 his situation changed in an instant when he was working under a Ford F-250 and the hydraulic lift holding the 9000 lb. truck failed. Jefforey was pinned to the wall of the garage, fracturing bones, dislocating his shoulder and tearing muscle. At that time he weighed in at about 300 and was able to use his body mass and strength to push the truck off himself. “It was in the blink of an eye. I feel really lucky – if it has been someone else in the shop smaller than me they would have been dead,” Jefforey comments .
Luck in one sense is certainly correct, however Jefforey was seriously injured by a scissor lift that failed suddenly and at a crucial moment. It turned out that a specific weld on the lift was in the wrong place and, with continual use, it gave out, endangering any mechanic counting on it to keep a bone-crushing vehicle from crashing down on them as they worked. The product was manufactured by Wheeltronic, a Canadian company and distributed by Snap-On.
Jefforey required three surgeries and he will never be able to work as a mechanic again. This is something he deeply regrets. During our investigation into the case, our firm learned that the lift was not adequately tested for safety and that welds were in locations where solid pieces of steel should have been used. “The welds that were present on the lift were too weak to support the loads properly placing on it and it had an inadequate safety system because users of the lift would not be able to see fatigued welds prior to failure,” explains Partner Matthew Posgay, who represented Jefforey Siegel in this case.