$1M Settlement for Man Injured By a Falling Ceiling Tile
Jason Sanders* was a member of a health club playing a game of Wallyball on a designated racquetball court with his family and friends. He was injured when a wooden ceiling tile weighing more than three pounds fell from a height of over 20 feet and hit him on the head. The blow was severe. It knocked Jason to the ground and immediately opened a deep cut on the bridge of his nose. This was not the first time one of these unsecured wooden tiles fell from the ceiling. The gym was aware that these tiles had come loose and fell in the past, but never corrected the problem until after the injury to Jason.
Jason went directly to the hospital where he received stitches for the gash on his face. He was diagnosed with a head injury and discharged with the instructions to see his family doctor, which he did a few days later. In addition to the cut on his face, Jason was suffering from dizziness, severe headaches, and sensitivity to lights and noise. His family doctor referred Jason to a neurologist who diagnosed him with post-concussion syndrome. This diagnosis began a course of treatment for his mild traumatic brain injury that lasted for more than seven frustrating years. During this time, Jason continued to suffer from crippling headaches, severe sensitivity to light and sound, congestion and neck pain.
To get relief from these debilitating symptoms, Jason tried everything the doctors recommended, from tests and therapy to medications and medical procedures. Nothing really helped, and many days the pain was so intense that he was simply unable to get out of bed and leave his dark room. A husband and the father of three children, Jason was devastated. He was missing watching his kids grow up as he sat in the dark. In addition, Jason’s wife was forced to take over most of the operation of the family business because he was incapacitated.
With his health compromised and his income reduced, Jason sought out the help of an attorney. The injuries Jason suffered were clearly the fault of the gym and he needed compensation to help manage the consequences of his injury. Unfortunately, this attorney did not do anything to help. The attorney filed a lawsuit against the gym, but Jason’s case just sat for more than six years without any progress, until Jason found Michael van der Veen.
It took nine months for van der Veen to undo the neglect to Jason’s case and get the file in order to properly pursue a recovery. The gym had an insurance policy that could pay Jason up to $1 million and van der Veen wanted to them to pay the whole thing. It was now seven years after the injury and Jason still suffered from daily headaches and pain. Although his symptoms had improved and he was able to function at a basic level, Jason was still only a fraction of the man he had been prior to the accident. In addition, Jason had past medical bills that still needed to be paid, future medical bills to consider, and a significant reduction in his income and earning capacity.
To prepare Jason’s case, attorney van der Veen anticipated the cost of Jason’s future medical care, he then factored in all of the medical bills, reports from Jason’s doctors and a vocational expert. This helped quantify the damages that Jason had suffered. When consideration for Jason’s pain and suffering was added to this calculation it was clear that the gym’s entire $1 million insurance policy should be tendered.
After another attorney had six years to try and help Jason Sanders, it took Michael van der Veen a fraction of that time to secure a settlement for the full amount of the $1 million insurance policy.
One of Philadelphia’s foremost personal injury, criminal defense and commercial litigation law firms, van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin combine nearly a century of passion-driven comprehensive law practice and client-centered representation for the full benefit of their clients. Their experience fighting for clients, serving the community and excelling in litigation has earned them the reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s toughest, hardest-working law firms.
* Not his real name.