This case arose from the negligent maintenance of a storm grate at a Kmart facility in Easton, Pennsylvania. The storm grate at issue was missing a tine. Our client sustained serious and permanent injuries when he fell through the storm grate and permanently injured his knee and back. At the time of the incident, our client was working as a delivery truck driver for Pepsi Beverage Company. His job required him to provide various retail stores with bottled beverages from Pepsi and involved both driving and unloading the truck. On the morning of the incident, our client arrived at the K-Mart and began unloading his vehicle. The truck’s design required him to unload the beverages from the side rather than from the rear. This meant that he could not use the loading dock ramp or the actual loading dock, but rather parked alongside the rear edge of the property. As he arranged his hand cart on the side of the vehicle and began to unload cases of bottled beverages from the side doors located at the rear of the truck, he was required to step partially onto the vehicle in order to position the cases and to transfer them to the hand cart. As he stepped back from the vehicle, his right foot and leg fell through the storm drain that was missing a tine. Our client screamed in pain and was assisted in removing his body from the drain by an eyewitness. An MRI performed a few weeks later revealed a complex tear of the lateral meniscus of the anterior horn, as well as a mild compartmental osteoarthritis. Our client continued working at this time, but was restricted from driving a commercial vehicle, one of the primary duties of his position with Pepsi. He pursued physical therapy in an attempt to resolve the pain in his knee but ultimately was required to undergo a right knee arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy. In addition to his physical pain and suffering, our client sustained significant economic damages from this incident because he is could longer engage in the type of work that he did at the time of the incident, and because he lost his union benefits. The case went to trial in August, 2013.
Verdicts and Settlements
Our client was a pedestrian crossing North Park Road at the intersection of Oley Street from east to west in West Reading. At the time of the incident, there was afternoon traffic backing up North Park Road where it crossed Oley Street. A car that was stopped on the north traveling lane in North Park Road waived for our client to cross in front of him so that she could cross North Park Road.
Unbeknownst to either of them, at the same time, the Defendant was driving northbound on Park Road North in the center turn-only lane, using the lane as a through-way to get to the next intersection. In the words of an eye-witness, the Defendant was “flying up” the center turn-only lane.
Without any warning whatsoever, the Defendant violently struck our client as she stepped into the lane, resulting in serious injuries, including fractures in her left foot to the 4th and 5th metatarsals, a low back injury as evidenced by an acute lumbosacral radiculopathy (confirmed by EMG), and carpal tunnel wrist injuries (she braced herself with her hands as she went down to the pavement).
The case settled during a Judicial Conference at the Court house.
Our client was driving her 1997 Ford Escort northbound on Oxford Valley Road and had entered the left-hand turning lane to turn onto Trenton Road. She was using her lap and shoulder seat belts. Approximately two hundred yards before reaching Trenton Road, the 2007 Hyundai owned and operated by the at-fault driver abruptly exited a parking lot on the east side of Oxford Valley Road, crossed two lanes of traffic, and struck our client’s vehicle. The violent impact of the at-fault vehicle disabled both vehicles and caused our client’s airbag to deploy. This impact caused significant bodily harm to our client and required that she receive immediate emergency care. The at-fault driver had insurance of $100,000 and our client had an additional $15,000 in insurance on her own policy. We were able to obtain the maximum amount of insurance without filing a lawsuit.
Our client was shopping at a Center City, Philadelphia grocery store. Walking through the juice isle, she stepped into a pool of liquid spilled by a store employee who dropped a juice container while loading a shelf. The entire incident was caught on tape. The tape confirmed that the spill was caused by an employee. The tape also confirmed that our client was pushing a cart forward and did not see the spill. In our client’s own words, “My feet just flew out from under me. My whole, like, right side, my right back, my shoulder, everything slammed, and then my head kind of slammed, I almost feel like there was a whiplash at the end, like my head slammed at the end.” The grocery store agreed to settle the case after our client’s doctor found that there was nothing more that could be done to improve her condition.
The firm’s client was a truck driver required to climb up metal steps to secure a tarp over the trailer. While climbing down the ladder he stepped onto a corroded step. The step failed and he fell about 15 feet. Our client sustained career-ending back injuries and has been awarded full disability benefits by the Social Security Administration. The step corroded because the trailer was assembled by putting two dissimilar metals in direct contact with each other. This causes a condition called galvanic corrosion. Assembling a trailer this way is negligence. The case was handled by Eric G. Zajac. Settlement was reached a few days before the start of trial. The substantial award is for a confidential amount. The case was referred to Mr. Zajac by the client’s workers’ compensation attorney.