$1 Million Settlement for Worker’s Knee Injury at Loading Dock

Richard Black worked for a hospital’s housekeeping staff.  He went to the loading dock to throw away trash into a dumpster.  Richard Cea, an employee of Royal Carting Service Co., had just delivered the dumpster.  It was still attached to the back of his truck.

As Black was throwing trash in the dumpster while standing with one foot on the loading dock and the other on the edge of the dumpster, Cea suddenly moved his truck. The dumpster moved away from the dock and Black fell. Cea then reversed the truck, causing the dumpster to hit Black’s left knee.

Black, 55, suffered a fractured distal femur. The femur bone is the largest bone in the human body. It is also known as the thigh bone. Black underwent open reduction and internal fixation followed by extensive physical therapy. The non-union of the femur necessitated revision surgery and the application of a bone graft. Black underwent additional physical therapy but later developed arthritis in his knee, and that required a total knee replacement.

Black’s total medical expenses were $188,700, which were paid by his worker’s compensation insurance. Black returned to work, but he continued to have pain and restricted range of motion in his knee, which made necessary that he be given certain accommodations at his job.

Through his guardian, Black sued Cea alleging that he was negligent in moving the truck while the dumpster was still attached to it without first determining if anyone was standing near or by the dumpster.

Black also sued Royal Carting Service claiming that it was responsible under the theory of respondeat superior for Cea’s negligence and another company that owned the truck. Respondeat superior is a Latin phrase used in the law that means that in certain circumstances or conditions, an employer is responsible for the acts or omissions of an employee when the employee is performing within the scope and course of employment.

Black was also seeking non-economic damages for past and future pain and suffering.

The defendants argued that Black was negligent himself in placing his foot on the dumpster when he should have realized that it was still attached to the Cea truck.

Before the beginning of the jury trial, the defendants settled for the policy limit of $1 million. The worker’s compensation lien of approximately $223,600 was reduced to $110,100.

The attorney representing Richard Black was George M. Levy.

Dart v. Cea, No. 12707/09 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Orange County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling worksite injuries, construction injuries, premises injury cases, bicycle accidents, car accidents, forklift accidents, truck crash cases and motorcycle accidents for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Alsip, Robbins, Crestwood, Oak Forest, Hickory Hills, Burr Ridge, Chicago (Lake View, Albany Park, Andersonville, Lakewood, Balmoral, Englewood, Buena Park, Canaryville, Belmont Gardens, Loyola Park, The Loop, Lincoln Square, Sheffield, South Shore, Wrigleyville, West Loop), Cicero, Deerfield, Fox River Grove, Geneva, Joliet, Lincolnwood, Lincoln Square and Glencoe, Ill.

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