CHICAGO — On April 7, 2020, Cavanagh Law Group partners Tim Cavanagh and Mike Sorich obtained a $1.5 million settlement for a 33-year-old truck driver who was injured when he was pinned between two tractor trailers at a Chicago-area truck repair facility.
The settlement is subject to a confidentiality agreement limiting the information that can be disclosed.
The plaintiff was standing behind his tractor, which was housed in a bay of the repair facility on Oct. 5, 2017, when another tractor that was parked just outside the facility, approximately five to eight feet behind the man’s truck, lurched forward. The plaintiff was pinned between the two tractors for two to three seconds.
A mechanic employed by the truck repair facility was servicing the clutch sensor on that second truck at the time. The mechanic was standing on the “runner” next to the driver’s seat, while the owner/driver of the tractor was seated in the driver’s seat. The mechanic asked the owner/driver to turn on the engine. The owner/driver, who was named a defendant in the case, released the clutch while the truck was stopped but the ignition was still on. Because that defendant driver did not have the parking brake engaged, the vehicle lunged forward.
The plaintiff in the case alleged that the repair facility, located in Summit, Ill., was also negligent because it failed to place chocks (blocks) behind the truck’s wheels to prevent it from moving.
The incident was caught on three surveillance cameras.
A lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County in February 2018. Cavanagh Law Group was retained by the client in December 2019 while the case was still in fact discovery with a trial approaching in May 2020. Within four months, CLG hired three liability experts, deposed three treating doctors, retained a board-certified orthopedic surgeon as an expert and performed a site inspection.
Following the 2017 incident, the firm’s client spent six days at a Chicago-area hospital and was diagnosed with bilateral Morel-Lavallée lesions, rare internal degloving injuries caused by severe trauma. The impact from the semi-truck caused the skin and fatty tissue in the man’s thighs to abruptly separate from underlying fascia. The resulting gap fills with fluid, which balloons under the skin.
The client has had numerous medical procedures to remove fluid buildup in his thighs. He experiences ongoing pain, undergoes physical therapy and requires compression garments.
Defense attorneys argued the plaintiff was at fault for standing between two vehicles that were being worked on, in violation of the rules of the repair facility. Using expert testimony, on-site inspections and truck inspections, Cavanagh Law Group was prepared to argue at trial that both defendants were at fault.
“This incident was entirely avoidable,” Cavanagh said. “Both the truck driver and repair facility displayed a blatant disregard for long-established safety protocols. Our client, who is a father with young children, can no longer enjoy the same level of physical activity he did before the incident. He has lasting pain and needs continued invasive medical treatments.”
A confidentiality agreement remains in place limiting the information that can be revealed.