$1,650,000.00 settlement for loss of vision and smell with skull fracture
Our client was in his twenties when he was severely injured when a commercial-grade chain snapped across his head and eye. He asked a construction contractor to dig a large hole in private property to lawfully bury a family horse. The horse was supported by commercial strapping, and lifted into the air by a backhoe with a commercial grade chain. My client was guiding the horse into the burial site when the chain snapped and struck him across his head, forehead, and face.
My client was life-flighted to UPMC in Pittsburgh. An emergency craniotomy was performed. A section of my client's skull was removed to perform the surgery. The surgery went well and my client regained his motor skills and had no difficulty with his speech. However, he permanently lost nearly all of the vision in one eye. He also lost his ability to smell.
I arranged for various medical experts to treat and evaluate him. The Taste & Smell Center at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital evaluated that injury. Not only is the ability to smell one of our five natural senses, a human's ability to taste is dependent, in great part, on his ability to smell.
I handled the claim delicately and proceeded through the claims process and settled the claim without needing to file suit. The claim was brought against the insurer for the backhoe operator. Some discussion took place regarding the manufacturer of the chain but the identity of the manufacturer was difficult to determine. Further, the manufacturer may have been an overseas entity. The insurer for the backhoe operator took full responsibility based upon the operator's negligence, and evidence also showed that the operator may have compromised the integrity of the links to the chain before the incident occurred, or actually used a chain not strong enough.
I presented my client's claim to a focus group for several hours at a local hotel. The focus group answered questions about key issues in the case, such as the defendant's negligence and my client's damages. Before the incident my client was gainfully employed as a successful self-employed landscape contractor. Thus, we were able to make a viable claim for loss of future earnings, in addition to the serious injuries mentioned above. Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that my client risks injury to his other eye in his line of work, and may be at risk for injury at work, due to his inability to smell gas leaks, etc.
All medical bills were paid and my client and his wife were compensated nicely for these horrible injuries. My client is doing well, his business and family are growing, and I believe that he invested his settlement proceeds wisely.
$355,000.00 settlement and payment of medical bills: defendants' negligence in dropping client over railing
My client was a student at Penn State - Altoona. He attended an off-campus party. He was conversing with a friend on the second floor balcony of an apartment. Two acquaintances who were under the influence of alcohol picked up my client and dangled him over the railing. This began as a stupid prank but ended with serious consequences. The two defendants could not maintain their grip on my client and he fell to the frozen ground below. The defendants did not drop him intentionally but were negligent for their actions.
I brought the claim against the homeowners insurance companies for both defendants. Specifically, both defendant students had permanent residences out of town. I located their parents and made a claim against their respective homeowners' policies. My client underwent emergent low back surgery by a neurosurgeon. He made a nice recovery but still continues with pain and stiffness. He will likely develop arthritis at an early age. The insurers for the defendants assumed negligence on behalf of their insureds. After much negotiations we settled the claim for a total of $355,000.00 plus payment of all medical bills.
Defective product causes senior citizen to fall
A Rollator is an assistive device similar to a walker on wheels. It also has a seat component. Our client had previously suffered a stroke and had limited use of his left arm and hand. He was prescribed a Rollator and was using this in his home. He sat on the seat of the Rollator in his bedroom and attempted to move backwards while pushing off with his right foot. Unfortunately the Rollator tipped to the left and crashed into a bedroom bureau. Because our client could not raise his injured left arm to break the fall, he smashed directly into the bureau and fell to the floor.
We determined that the left front wheel had come out of its chamber. This was a defective product that was either designed or manufactured with a flaw. My client shattered his left elbow and we pursued this claim against the distributor of the Rollator. Medical bills were paid and we obtained a personal injury settlement for nearly $100,000.00 on behalf of my client.
Tyrone Teenager severely burned when pushed into an open fire pit
Our client attended a party where he and other underage guests were permitted to consume alcohol. During the party a fire was built. One of the underage guests became very intoxicated and while our client was standing by the fire, this guest gave him a bear hug and knocked him off balance. Our client fell into the fire on his back. Our client suffered partial-thickness burns to the back and bilateral upper extremities, partial-thickness burns of the coccyx and buttocks areas and knees, with a total body surface area of 20-25% burns, blistering to the upper torso, development of methicillin res staph aureus ("MRSA") resulting in heavy dosages of antibiotic medication, scarring and disfigurement, depression, anxiety; and, emotional distress. The claim was initially defended very vigorously by the homeowner's insurance company. However, after depositions were taken during this litigation, the case was settled for a significant sum of money and payment of medical bills.
Facial injuries for a minor while snow tubing
Our very young client was snow-tubing with her mother at a resort. Our client's snow tube was connected to the tow line by a nylon rope approximately three feet in length with a circular loop at the end, which was hooked to a plastic handle on the tow line. Her mother rode on a tube approximately two unoccupied handles behind our young client and was similarly attached to the tow line. Toward the top of the hill, our young client became disengaged from the tow line, and began sliding down the hill backwards on her snow tube. Her mother jumped out of her own snow tube and began running down the hill trying to stop her daughter's snow tube from sliding into the tow line. The mother attempted to attract the attention of the operator of the tow line at the bottom of the hill to stop the tow line, but he ignored her. There was also no one operating the tow line at the top of the hill. Our young client slid directly into the path of the tow line and was repeatedly struck on the head and face by unoccupied plastic handles. She suffered a horizontal laceration above her right eye which needed sutures, and a vertical laceration to the left bridge of her nose that also required sutures. She also lost much of her right eyebrow. We settled the claim against the ski resort and placed the money for our young client into a structured settlement which she cannot access until she attains majority.
Medical van operator negligent while transporting wheelchair-bound client
My elderly client was being transported to a medical appointment by a company that specializes in this service. She was wheelchair-bound due to her pre-existing medical conditions. The employee wheeled my client inside the van. However, the front two wheels were not secured to the floor. When the van driver pulled out from a stop sign, my client fell abruptly fell backwards while seated in her wheelchair. The fall was fast and traumatic and she struck her head. My client was admitted to the hospital for a large lump to her head, multiple bruises, and a fracture to her cervical spine. Fortunately the case was settled out of court with the insurance company for this transport company.
Workers' Compensation Settlement for nearly $200,000.00 in Hollidaysburg
I handled a workers' compensation claim for a client which resulted in a significant settlement. Our client was at work and had to unload a truck with heavy merchandise. He was pushing a dolly of merchandise when he felt tension in his lower back. He began missing time from work due to low back spasms and pain radiating down his leg. We helped our client make a successful workers' compensation claim, but eventually settled the claim for six figures after the client underwent fusion surgery for two different discs in his lumbar spine.
Golfer thrown off golf cart due to tree stump
Our client was participating in a charity golf tournament at a country club in Somerset. He was a passenger in a golf cart operated by a companion. The cart was driven off the fairway about 25 feet into the rough area. The grass was about three inches high. There wasn't a trail, but there was a well-worn set of tracks where previous golf cart drivers had driven. Suddenly the cart came to an abrupt stop and bounced backwards several feet. Our client was propelled from his passenger seat out of the golf cart, striking his head on the metal framing near the top of the cart.
Our client sustained blunt force trauma to his head and was unconscious for 2-4 minutes. The golf cart had a metal plate affixed underneath which hung low enough such that it struck a tree stump hidden by the grass.
Our client suffered a concussion, cervical sprain, a traumatic brain injury, and tinnitus (a constant ring or noise in the ear). The defendant argued no liability because this was the rough area of the course not intended for golf cart travel. Additionally, tree stumps are frequently found on golf courses. We argued that the cart was defective because of the piece of metal under the cart. We also argued that the defendant was aware that golfers would drive carts into this area, but took no action to remove the stump. Our expert witness would testify that it was common for golf courses in the area to grind down stumps with a machine. The claim settled shortly before trial.
We have provided these case results to you in order to provide a sampling of some settlements or verdicts by Attorney Stoehr. Even though the facts of your case may be similar to a case result you have read, Attorney Stoehr cannot provide you with any guarantee of your result. Every claim has to be evaluated upon its own set of facts. Therefore, the outcome of a particular case, including yours, cannot be predicted upon past results of other cases. Finally, the cases listed on our website are for illustration only, and do not represent all of the cases that Attorney Stoehr has handled.
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