Allen Ginn, the owner of a trucking company, drove his truck to a sawmill to unload the logs he was hauling. When he reached his designated unloading area, the mill employees instructed him to release the tie-down straps on his load. As he did that, a log fell onto him striking him directly on the head and back.
Ginn was 49 years old at the time and suffered a subdural hematoma, a subarachnoid hemorrhage and skull fractures. He also had spinal fractures at L1-3 and fractures to his right hip and the right side of his pelvis. He was in a coma for several days. He later went through a regimen of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
As a result of this incident, Ginn has suffered a brain injury, occasional seizures, memory loss and chronic fatigue. He will likely require supervision and assistance with daily living activities well into the future.
Ginn’s past medical expenses totaled approximately $220,900. His future medical expenses and life-care costs were estimated at $1.5 million.
At the time of this occurrence, Ginn was earning $76,000 annually. Because of his injuries, he lost his trucking business. Ginn now makes just $12,500 a year doing part-time maintenance work for a golf course.
Ginn and his wife sued the mill owner, Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., claiming that the company chose not to have a safe procedure for unloading logs. The Ginns contended that the mill workers were negligent in instructing Ginn to release the tie-downs before it was secured.
In addition, the lawsuit claimed that the mill did not have a secure place for unloading logs. The Ginns maintained that the defendant had a rack in place previously, but it had become unworkable before this incident.
The Ginns obtained a default judgment on liability based on the defendant’s failure to timely appear in the case. Smurfit-Stone contested the damages, noting that Ginn had suffered a significant low-back injury in a car accident about four years before this incident. The defendant also maintained that Ginn’s brain injury was not as severe as he had claimed and that most of his problems resulted from the pre-existing back injury.
Included in the jury’s verdict of $3,970,000 was $500,000 to Mrs. Ginn for lost of consortium.
The attorneys representing the Ginn family were Alexander Blewett III, Kurt M. Jackson and Anders Blewett.
Ginn v. Smurfit-Stone Container Enters., Inc., No. DV-12-761 (Mont., Missoula Co. Dist. Jan. 15, 2014).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic injury cases, construction work injury cases, worker injury cases, trucking accident cases and forklift accident cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Wilmette, Winnetka, Winfield, Gurnee, Arlington Heights, Naperville, Bensenville, Antioch, Palos Hills, Palos Heights, Elk Grove Village, South Holland, Chicago Heights, Blue Island, Olympia Fields, Rolling Meadows, Mundelein and Hinsdale, Ill.
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