In a case tried by Cliff Horwitz and Jay Luchsinger, a Cook County jury has awarded $2,031,513 to a 48-year-old Teamsters 705 truck driver for a knee injury which ended his career as a trucker. Before the trial, the defendant, Albertson’s, offered the Teamster $250,000 to settle the case.
The injury occurred when a forklift operator clipped a stack of pallets, one of them striking the Teamster’s right knee. The trucker worked the rest of the day and went to the hospital the next day.
After three a half years of litigation, Albertson’s finally admitted liability one week before the trial date. But the company claimed the injuries were not serious. It argued that the forklift only clipped a pallet and that the pallet only bruised the trucker’s knee. It also argued that the trucker’s knee problems were pre-existing, claiming he had chondromalacia in the injured knee.
Further, the company claimed that the trucker could have returned to his truck-driving occupation if he wanted. It further argued that after the accident, the injured trucker went into business for himself and intentionally incurred tax losses to increase his monetary damages.
Albertson’s also retained a well-known orthopedic surgeon as an expert witness who opined that the chondromalacia to the back of the knee cap pre-existed the accident. He further stated that he could improve the trucker’s condition through extensive physicial therapy.
Horwitz demonstrated through a three-hour cross-examination that the condition was caused by the accident and that it had not existed before. Further, he demonstrated that the injury led to a vicious circle of knee problems and thigh weakness that was incurable.
Albertson’s claimed that because the trucker now had his own business and had built his annual revenues $6,000 to $400,000 in just a few years, that the trucker was doing well and therefore had not suffered serious economic damage. But the trucker testified that, despite the increase in gross revenues, the business was losing money.
Horwitz called two orthopedic surgeons and a physical therapist and also introduced substantial evidence showing how hard this Local 705 Teamster worked all of his life and demonstrated that he continues to work hard and struggle to make a living.