A Cook County jury has awarded a record-setting verdict of more than $85 million to a truck driver who had both his legs amputated following a 2014 crane accident in Rockford, IL.
Disabling Crane Accident
Robert Montagano was employed as a truck driver at the time of the disabling crane accident in question. On July 1, 2014, Mr. Montagano drove a truck to Metal-Matic in the Bedford Park area, where a crane operator placed five full bundles and one partial bundle of carbon steel tubing onto the trailer bed.
Mr. Montagano then drove the truck to Leading Edge Hydraulics in Rockford, where another crane operator requested his help unloading the bundles of carbon steel tubing. The crane operator successfully removed two of the bundles. When he began removing the third bundle, however, the crane operator dislodged a fourth. The bundle fell on Mr. Montagano and crushed both of his legs.
Crushing Injuries and Amputations
Mr. Montagano suffered fractures of the tibia and fibula and a lacerated right popliteal artery. Because of Mr. Montagano’s crushing injuries and massive loss of blood, he first lost his right leg above the knee.
Mr. Montagano subsequently developed a fungal infection, which necessitated above-the-knee amputations of both legs.
Multiple Parties at Fault
Mr. Montagano’s attorneys filed suit against Metal-Matic Inc., Leading Edge Group Inc., and Leading Edge Hydraulics Inc., alleging strict liability and negligence counts. The attorneys argued that Metal-Matic failed to stack and load the carbon steel bundles in a way that would have prevented them from rolling. They also claimed that Metal-Matic failed to warn its employees to place heavier bundles on the bottom of a stack so as not to make the stack “top heavy.”
The lawsuit further accused the crane operator at Leading Edge Group Inc. of working the crane while Mr. Montagano was outside of the line of sight.
Following a three-week trial before a Cook County Circuit Judge, the jury awarded Mr. Montagano a total of $95,477.464.00. This award included $10 million for his disfigurement, $22 million for his loss of normal life, $23 million for his pain and suffering, $15 million for his emotional distress, $12,703,690.00 for his necessary medical care, and $773,774.00 for his lost earnings and benefits. The jury also awarded $12 million in damages to the truck driver’s wife.
The award was subsequently reduced to $85,929,717.60, or by the ten percent Montagano was determined to have been at fault. Nevertheless, the reduced award was still the highest ever for a double leg amputation in Illinois history, besting a $39.2 million award from 1985 that included $26 million in punitive damages.
Industrial Accident Litigation
As you can see, pursuing litigation for injuries sustained in an industrial accident is no easy task, particularly when multiple parties may be responsible, as in Mr. Montagano’s case. It is therefore highly important to identify and pursue all parties who are potentially at fault within the time limited by law. Failure to do so in a timely fashion could forever bar an injured person from obtaining the financial compensation he or she deserves.
Given the complexity of industrial accident litigation, those who have been injured often find that they may benefit from the help and guidance of a seasoned attorney, like the Chicago personal injury lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers, Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
With more than $2 BILLION successfully recovered for our clients, the personal injury lawyers at GWC can provide the experience and determination to fight for the justice that you deserve.
If you or your loved one has been injured, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.