$10.5 Million Jury Verdict in Inadequate Fall Protection for Commercial Truck Driver

Oberlin Garcia, 50, worked as a commercial truck driver. He arrived at a chemical plant owned and operated by BASF Corp. On arrival, he checked in with a BASF staff member and was instructed to prepare his tanker for the unloading of a hazardous chemical for delivery.

Garcia was told that BASF policy required a truck driver unloading chemicals from a tanker to climb to the top of the tanker in the facility’s parking lot and open the tanker’s crash-box lid without fall protection equipment.

Garcia climbed to the top of the tanker as instructed using an access ladder.  As he got to the top of the ladder, he reached toward the crash-box lid while holding onto an extension of the ladder. His right foot slipped and he fell more than ten feet to the concrete pavement below.

He suffered catastrophic leg injuries that required five surgeries and led to his death eight months later. His medical expenses totaled approximately $319,200. Garcia, who earned $35,000 a year, was survived by his wife and three children.

His wife, individually and an on behalf of his estate and his children, sued BASF Corp., alleging premises liability and the unreasonably dangerous condition he was exposed to. The Garcia family alleged that BASF chose not to provide adequate fall protection, such as a harness, and put in place safety policies and procedures that would have prevented this untimely death. The lawsuit claimed that based on previous similar incidents, BASF knew or should have known of the danger posed to truck drivers.

Harris County jury awarded $10.5 million to his estate, including his wife and their children.

Garcia v. BASF Corp., No. 201823951 (Texas Dist. Ct. Harris County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic injury lawsuits, forklift accident cases, truck accident cases, work injuries, wrongful death cases, and traumatic brain injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 45 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Lake Zurich, Crystal Lake, South Elgin, Naperville, Aurora, Tinley Park, Glenview, Chicago (Brighton Park, Back of the Yards, Washington Park, Grand Crossing, Burnside, Cottage Grove Heights, Pullman, Gold Coast, Logan Square), Berwyn, Oak Park and Maywood, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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