In November 2009, Joshua Jaeger suffered severe injuries when he fell from a raised platform while assessing a broken garage door spring at a public works garage in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He suffered serious injuries during the fall and, as a result, has been unable to continue his work as a service technician.
Jaeger filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city of Elmhurst, alleging that the work-related accident occurred as a result of the city’s negligence. On Friday, October 5, a DuPage County jury found that the city was negligent and awarded Jaeger $4.16 million in damages. The jury reached its verdict following a five-day trial.
Jaeger Hired By City to Provide Estimate for Broken Garage Door Spring
Jaeger was a garage door service technician hired by the city of Elmhurst to provide an estimate of the cost to repair a broken garage door spring. At the time, he worked as a serviceman for Accurate Garage Door Service, a company owned and operated by his family.
Using a forklift, a city employee lifted Jaeger up on a platform so that he could take a look at the broken spring. The platform was suspended 16 feet in the air. When Jaeger stepped to one side of the platform to measure the garage door spring, the platform fell to the ground. Jaeger landed on the concrete floor below.
Jaeger was 26 years old at the time of the accident. He suffered a broken right femur and claimed that he had significant back pain as a result of the fall.
Jaeger Physically Unable to Continue Work as Service Technician
According to Joshua Weisberg, Jaeger’s lawyer, attorneys for the city argued that Jaeger’s fracture had healed completely and did not cause him a substantial loss of income. They argued that, because Jaeger worked for a small family business, his losses are minimal because he may have the opportunity to run the business with his brothers in the future. Weisberg claims that the city denied that the back injury was related to Jaeger’s fall.
Weisberg argues said that Jaeger suffers from chronic pain and is unable to continue his work as a garage door service technician. He is no longer able to climb ladders and is only able to lift objects that weigh no more than 70 pounds. He currently works for his family’s company in an administrative capacity.
The $4.16 million verdict is a state record for a case involving a fractured femur. The award included $1.86 million for his lost capacity to earn money and $1.3 million to cover his pain and suffering. The jury also awarded him $1 million for the loss of a normal life. Weisberg claims that this award is fair compensation for the injuries Jaeger suffered due to the city’s negligence.
Weisberg stated that Jaeger was open to settling the case prior to the jury trial, but he was unwilling to accept the $650,000 that was offered by the city and its insurance company.
Norman Barry, the city’s attorney, released a statement claiming that the city accepts responsibility for the employee’s negligence. However, he was surprised by the size of the jury’s award. The city may appeal the case or seek to have the award reduced.
Kelly Rutherford is a legal writer interested in personal injury cases. When serious back injuries that prevent you from working are sustained, it is important to find good legal representation for yourself.