Truck driver paralyzed delivering merchandise to store – $11.5 million settlement

Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff

April 19, 2024

In May 2020, the 59-year-old plaintiff was married with two grown sons and working as a truck driver. He was transporting a load of merchandise to a store in Massachusetts.

The plaintiff was responsible for unstrapping the cargo on the flatbed trailer and removing tarps that covered the cargo. The store’s forklift drivers were responsible for removing the cargo from the trailer.

According to the plaintiff, while the forklift drivers were unloading the cargo, they allegedly caused a heavy pallet to fall from the trailer to the ground below, striking him and causing a spinal cord injury.

The defendant expressly denied liability for the accident, and the parties disagreed on the manner in which the incident occurred. The defense argued comparative negligence in that the plaintiff should not have been standing in that location while the cargo was being offloaded. The defendant also instituted a third-party complaint against the plaintiff’s employer.

The plaintiff was hospitalized for a week before moving to Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, where he spent considerable time before going home. His house had to be retrofitted.

The plaintiff has essentially been confined to a wheelchair since the incident. His injuries are permanent. His wife had a claim for loss of consortium.

Action: Negligence and tort
Injuries alleged: Acute C4 spinous process fracture, right lateral orbit, zygomatic arch, lateral maxillary fractures, central cord syndrome, scalp laceration, tetraplegia, concussion, post-concussive symptoms, pain/paresthesia in extremities, loss of motor function/sensation in arms and legs
Case name: Withheld
Court/case no.: Withheld
Jury and/or judge: N/A (mediated)
Name of mediator: Brian Mone
Demand: Withheld
Highest offer: Withheld
Amount: $11.5 million
Special damages: Withheld
Most helpful experts: Franklin “Chip” Darius, president, Safety Priority, Cromwell, Connecticut; Dr. Alexander Merkler, neurology, Weill Cornell Medicine Physicians, New York City
Date: Dec. 22, 2023
Attorneys: Matthew J. Fogelman and Jeffrey M. Simons, of Fogelman Law, Newton (for the plaintiff)


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