4.16 Million Jury Verdict in Work Injury Fall; Jaeger v. City of Elmhurst

In a record setting jury verdict, $4.16 million, Joshua Jaeger, age 26, was severely injured when he fell 16 feet from a forklift and personnel platform.  Mr. Jaeger was a garage door serviceman who went to the Public Works garage for the City of Elmhurst to give an estimate for repairing a broken garage door spring.

An employee of the City of Elmhurst used a forklift and personnel platform to lift Mr. Jaeger 16 feet into the air to take a look at the spring. After Jaeger reached the proper height, he stepped from one side of the platform to the other when he fell to the concrete floor.  He fractured his right femur, which required open reduction internal fixation surgery.  He also suffered soft tissue injuries to his back.

Mr. Jaeger claimed at trial that he was no longer working as a garage door serviceman because of his injuries.  He claimed past and future lost earning capacity in that job totaling $2,480,794.

The City of Elmhurst admitted negligence, but disputed the extent of Mr. Jaeger’s injuries and claimed damages. That means that at the outset of the trial, the jury was only to consider damages to Mr. Jaeger, not the fault of Elmhurst.

At the jury trial, the defendant Elmhurst denied that Mr. Jaeger’s back injury was related to the fall.  It was also argued that the fractured femur healed well and would not substantially contribute to problems that Jaeger would have in the future.  Defendant also maintained that Jaeger returned to work with a small family business, which would reduce his lost earning capacity.

According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this was the highest DuPage County personal injury verdict for a single plaintiff.  The previous high was $3,390,000 for a jury verdict in 2000.  This was also a record Illinois verdict for a fractured femur without other serious injuries.

The attorneys for Mr. Jaeger were Joshua L. Weisberg and Michael L. Teich.  The demand before trial was $2,500,000.  The offer to settle from the City of Elmhurst was $650,000.

The jury’s verdict of $4,160,000 was made up of the following damages:

  • $1,860,000 for past and future loss of earning capacity and benefits;
  • $1,300,000 for past and future pain and suffering;
  • $1,000,000 for past and future loss of normal life.

Joshua Jaeger v. City of Elmhurst, 10 L 245 (DuPage County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling construction worker injuries for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Glenview, Park Ridge, Chicago (Edison Park), Harwood Heights, Oak Park, Stickney, Evergreen Park, Chicago (Washington Heights) and Harvey, Illß.