Wheelchair Accident

WORKER/WORKPLACE NEGLIGENCE

Negligent Assembly or Installation

Plaintiff: Bolts on wheelchair armrest weren’t tightened

 

Verdict (P)        $807,600

Case Eduardo Trujillo, III and Lizeth Trujillo, his wife, v. T.D. Medical, Inc., and Miguel Nunez, No. 13-23500-CA

Court   Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, 11th

Judge    Jose Rodriguez

Date     8/12/2014

 

Plaintiff Attorney(s)

Jeffrey S. Altman, Jeffrey S. Altman, P.A., Miami, FL (Eduardo Trujillo, Lizeth Trujillo)

Jeffrey R. Davis, Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A., Miami, FL (Eduardo Trujillo, Lizeth Trujillo)

 

Defense Attorney(s)

Gerry A. Giurato, Murphy & Anderson, P.A., Jacksonville, FL (Miguel Nunez, T.D. Medical Inc.)

Christen E. Luikart, Murphy & Anderson, P.A., Jacksonville, FL (Miguel Nunez, T.D. Medical Inc.)

 

Facts & Allegations

On Aug. 13, 2012, plaintiff Eduardo Trujillo III, 40, a musician who has spinal muscular atrophy, received a new wheelchair from T.D. Medical Inc. that was delivered to him at his Miami home by its employee Miguel Nunez. Trujillo claimed that after Nunez delivered the wheelchair, adjusted the armrests, and left his home, the left side wheelchair armrest collapsed, causing him to fall to the ground. Trujillo fractured his right femur.

Trujillo sued T.D. Medical, which supplied the wheelchair, and Nunez for alleged negligent assembly and delivery of the wheelchair.

Trujillo had ordered the wheelchair custom-made. His counsel claimed that T.D. Medical failed to fit it properly for him. They claimed that Nunez, a technician employed by T.D. Medical to provide adjustments to Trujillo’s chair upon delivery, failed to tighten the bolts that controlled the pivoting of the armrest. They also claimed that had Nunez tightened the bolts, the armrest would not have fallen and caused Trujillo to lose his balance and fall.

Defense counsel denied that the armrest was negligently adjusted. They also claimed that if the armrest fell, the wheelchair manufacturer was responsible. Nunez claimed he tightened everything perfectly.

 

Injuries/Damages

fracture, femur; decreased range of motion; loss of consortium

Trujillo sustained a fracture to his right femur and underwent immobilization of the leg. He did not have surgery and the fracture healed on its own. He claimed he suffered a decreased range of motion of his leg.

Trujillo sought to recover damages for past medical costs, past lost earnings, and past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Lizeth, who initially joined the action on a consortium claim, dropped the claim prior to trial.

The defense’s orthopedic expert testified that Trujillo did not suffer a permanent injury. He also noted that Trujillo was already 100 percent disabled and confined to a wheelchair before the accident due to his underlying spinal muscular atrophy. He also pointed out that Trujillo was unable to walk before the accident due to his spinal condition.

 

Result

The jury found the defendants 100 percent negligent. It determined that Trujillo’s damages totaled $807,600.

 

Plaintiff(s)

Eduardo Trujillo

$7,100 past medical cost

$500 past lost earnings

$360,000 past pain and suffering

$440,000 future pain and suffering

$807,600 plaintiff’s total award

 

Insurer(s)

Benchmark Insurance for T.D. Medical Inc. and Miguel Nunez

 

Trial Detail(s)

Trial Length: 3 Days

Jury Composition: 3 male, 3 female

 

Plaintiff Expert(s)

David A. Peterson, M.D., orthopedics, Winter Park, FL (Jeffrey S. Altman, Jeffrey R. Davis) (treating)

 

Defense Expert(s)

Michael Ziede, M.D., orthopedic surgery, West Palm Beach, FL (Gerry A. Giurato)

Editor’s Note

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ and defense counsel.

 

Written By –Gary Raynaldo

Edited By -Miguel Fernandez