$41.5 Million Jury Verdict for Fatal Death of Sanitation Worker Crushed Between Street Sweepers

Steven Frosch was working for the New York City Department of Sanitation operating a street sweeper. He was at the city department garage greasing the brushes on one of the street sweepers when his coworker, Antonio DiCaro, stopped another street sweeper next to him. As DiCaro was waiting, he reached down to unplug his Bluetooth radio. DiCaro’s vehicle then lurched forward, crushing Frosch between the two sweepers.

Frosch suffered multiple internal crush injuries, including a severed spinal cord, ruptured diaphragm and spleen and kidney damage. Tragically, he was pronounced dead at the scene within just ten minutes. He was 43 years old. Frosch was survived by his wife and four minor children.

Colombina Frosch, his wife, individually and on behalf of her husband’s estate, sued DiCaro and the City of New York alleging that DiCaro was negligent in choosing not to put his vehicle in park before reaching for his Bluetooth radio.

DiCaro initially argued that the street sweeper had malfunctioned, but later admitted liability; the case went to trial against the City of New York on damages.

The Frosch family claimed approximately $9.8 million for future lost earning capacity arguing that Frosch had planned to retire from the department in two years and start a new career as a financial planner. The Frosch family also sought damages for Frosch’s conscious pre-death pain and suffering as well as the children’s loss of parental care and guidance.

The City of New York argued that Frosch suffered no conscious pain and suffering, suggesting that he had lost consciousness immediately on the impact between the two sweepers. The defendants also disputed whether Frosch would have become a financial planner and argued that future damages were merely speculative.

During the trial, the Frosch family demanded $18.5 million to settle the case. The defendants offered $6 million, which was rejected.

The jury’s verdict of $41.5 million included $25 million to the estate for future loss of pecuniary contribution, including loss of parental guidance; $15 million for past loss of pecuniary contribution; and $1.5 million for Frosch’s conscious pre-death pain and suffering. According to the report of this case, it is anticipated that the city will file a motion to reduce the jury’s verdict in the form of a remittitur.

The attorneys who successfully handled this tragic case were Ben B. Rubinowitz and Peter J. Saghir. At trial, the Frosch family attorneys presented experts in pathology and economics. The defendants presented experts in accident reconstruction and economics.

Frosch v. City of New York, No. 17285/14 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Queens County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling wrongful death cases, work injury lawsuits, truck accident lawsuits, forklift accident cases, motorcycle accidents and car accident lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones 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 Buffalo Grove, Calumet Park, Deerfield, Dixmoor, East Hazel Crest, Ford Heights, Forest Park, Franklin Park, North Riverside, Melrose Park, Hoffman Estates, Hinsdale, Hickory Hills, Harvey, South Holland, South Barrington, Skokie, Schiller Park, Sauk Village, Riverdale, Richton Park, Westchester, Wheeling, Winnetka, Stickney, Steger, Palos Heights, Chicago (Morgan Park, Loyola Park, Lincoln Square, Diversey Harbor, DePaul University Area, Bridgeport, Beverly, Avondale, West Loop, Sauganash), St. Charles, Morton Grove, Joliet, Highland Park and Geneva, Ill.

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