Jury Awards Record $4.16 Million Verdict To Worker Severely Injured In Accident

On Friday, October 5, 2012, at approximately 2:30 p.m., a DuPage County jury returned a record $4.16 million verdict in favor of Joshua Jaeger of Montgomery, Illinois, in a personal injury case against the City of Elmhurst. The Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter confirmed that the verdict is an Illinois record for a personal injury case involving a fractured femur and soft tissue back injury, and a DuPage County record for a personal injury case involving one plaintiff, excluding cases involving medical malpractice.

The case grew out of an incident that took place on November 12, 2009 at the City of Elmhurst Public Works garage located at 985 S. Riverside in Elmhurst. Mr. Jaeger, a garage door serviceman, was at the Public Works garage to provide the City with an estimate for repairing a broken garage door spring. A City employee used the City's forklift to lift Mr. Jaeger in a personnel platform 16 feet in the air. As Mr. Jaeger moved from one side of the platform to the other, the platform fell to the ground, dropping Mr. Jaeger to the concrete floor below.

As a result of the impact, Mr. Jaeger severely fractured his right femur and claimed he also injured his back, although treatment for the back injury was delayed. The City denied the back injury was related to the fall, even though Mr. Jaeger's treating doctors testified it was related, and the City argued the fracture healed well and would not present substantial problems in the future.

The plaintiff also presented evidence that his loss of earning capacity was between $2,480,794 and $2,837,493. The City argued that the plaintiff's loss of earnings was minimal because he worked for a small family business and may take over the business one day with his brothers, and also because he is still able to work, just not as a garage door serviceman anymore.

Prior to trial, the City admitted negligence. Based on the testimony of 10 witnesses, the unanimous jury awarded Mr. Jaeger $1.86 million for lost earning capacity, $1.3 million for pain and suffering and $1 million for loss of a normal life. The case was presided over by Judge Ronald D. Sutter.

The plaintiff was represented at trial by Joshua L. Weisberg and Michael L. Teich of Rapoport Law Offices, P.C. The City's lawyer was Norman J. Barry of Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth, LLC.

The City is insured for the verdict amount other than $250,000 which is the City's self-insured retention.

Lead trial attorney Joshua Weisberg of Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., in Chicago stated after the verdict, "Mr. Jaeger was hurt through no fault of his own. He was just 26 years old, a husband and father of two, and he had a bright future as a garage door serviceman. This fall had a devastating effect on his life and has left him with chronic pain and disability. The jury based their decision on the evidence presented by the witnesses, including Mr. Jaeger's treating doctors. The City's defense was not supported by the evidence and the jury was able to see right through the City's arguments that Mr. Jaeger's injuries and economic loss were not as bad as the evidence showed they were. While the verdict is a lot of money, Mr. Jaeger was a young healthy guy whose life is changed forever, and the verdict is fair compensation for the substantial amount of harm the City has caused to Mr. Jaeger's life."

The case is Joshua Jaeger v. City of Elmhurst, 10 L 245, Circuit Court of the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County, Illinois.

At Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys represent clients who have been injured or the loved ones of those who have died due to the negligence of others in a wide variety of situations, including work-related accidents, auto accidents, medical malpractice, aviation accidents and product liability. In cases where the wrongdoing party or its insurer refuses to settle with our clients for full and fair compensation, our experienced trial lawyers have repeatedly held them accountable at the courthouse by obtaining appropriate jury verdicts. To contact Josh Weisberg or any of the attorneys at Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., call 312-445-9160 or contact us online.