Truck Driver Tore Tendon Tripping on Parking Lot Pothole; Jury’s Verdict $257,800

 A Lake County, Ill., jury returned a verdict of $257,800 for Joseph Briski, a truck driver who tripped and fell in a pothole after parking his trailer-truck at National Gypsum’s plant in Waukegan, Ill.  This incident occurred on Feb. 2, 2008.  Briski was walking toward the rear of his truck to undo the air lines when he fell.  He landed on both knees. 

Briski contended that the parking lot in which truck drivers park their tractors and trailers was filled with numerous potholes and depressions hidden by snow and slush.

Briski, 49, suffered an acute rupture of the left quadriceps tendon and fractured his kneecap. The quadriceps repair surgery two months after the incident failed. It resulted in permanent chronic quadriceps rupture, which is a very disabling condition; permanent significant impairment of leg extensions; inability to continue working as a truck driver and potential future left knee arthritis. 

Due to Briski’s altered gait with increased weight-bearing on the right foot, he also suffered aggravation and creation of diabetic foot ulcers.  Briski underwent five surgeries to try to close or to assist in healing the right foot ulcers. 

The defendant National Gypsum denied the lot had potholes and argued there were only gradual depressions with no sudden drop-offs or sharp edges. National Gypsum also argued that Briski did not trip in a pothole but instead slipped on a natural accumulation of ice. National Gypsum also maintained that Briski ruptured his quadriceps tendon before this incident and that his foot ulcers were due to his diabetes and non-compliance with treatment recommendations.  The jury did not award any damages related to the foot ulcer claim. 

The jury’s verdict in total was $515,600 but reduced it by 50% accounting for Briski’s contributory negligence. That brought the verdict down to $257,800.  The demand to settle before trial was $299,000, wherein the jury was asked to return a verdict of $1,560,781.  Before trial the defendant National Gypsum offered $100,000 to settle the case.

The jury’s verdict of $258,800 after being reduced by 50% was comprised of the following damages:

  • $50,000 for past pain and suffering;
  • $50,000 for future pain and suffering;
  • $35,000 for past loss of normal life;
  • $3,232 for future loss of normal life;
  • $25,818 for medical expenses;
  • $43,750 for past lost earnings; and
  • $50,000 for future loss of earnings.

The attorneys representing Joseph Briski were Michael A. Silverman and Thomas A. Kelliher. 

Joseph Briski v. National Gypsum, Inc., No. 09 L 1032 (Lake County, Illinois).

 Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling trucking accident cases and car 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 Rosemont, Elmwood Park, Elmhurst, Schaumburg, Alsip, Calumet Park, Chicago (Albany Park, Andersonville, Lithuanian Plaza, Lower West Side, East Garfield Park, Pilsen, Pill Hill, Kenwood), Skokie, St. Charles, Western Springs, Morton Grove, Lake Forest and Lincolnwood, Ill.

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