Jury awards $668,000 to injured delivery worker

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.