On June 28, 2017, a Chicago jury awarded a tow truck driver $20 million for the loss of his eye due to a manufacturer’s defect on his work vehicle. The man had argued that the maker of his 1997 tow truck had failed to equip it with a way to secure its hood in the upright position, a feature that he contended would have ultimately protected him from injury.The man had been driving in the southwest Chicago suburb of Summit on January 23, 2012, when his 1997 tow truck, a Kenworth T-800, began choking on a bitterly cold day. It was as he neared the intersection between 60th Street and Harlem Avenue that he pulled it over on the side of the road.As he raised the hood of the truck in an attempt to diagnose what had gone wrong, a strong gust of wind blew by, causing it to slam shut on his face. When the man saw doctors soon thereafter, he discovered he had not only suffered a number of fractures to his face, but that his right eye had been so severely damaged it would need to be fully removed.At the time of the man’s accident, the tow truck’s manufacturer, PACCAR, Inc., had not yet begun equipping its fleet with an arm to stabilize the hood while it was open. They argue that this design flaw contributed to the man’s injury and justified PACCAR, Inc. in being held accountable for his injuries.
It was also argued that District Rebuilders, Inc., the company responsible for inspecting and repairing the man’s truck. also was negligent. They had previously removed and “hook and cable” component designed to keep hoods steady in heavy winds.Of the man’s $20 million settlement, $10 million is intended to be compensation for punitive damages.If you have been seriously injured by a defective product, a Chicago personal injury attorney can advise you as to whether you may be entitled to reimbursement for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Source: ABC 7 Chicago, “Jury awards $20M to man who lost eye driving tow truck in Summit,” accessed July 24, 2017