Record Verdict For Crps Injury To Dentist ($10 Million)

A jury awarded a record-setting verdict of $10 million to a woman who suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which proceeded from the initial impact injury when she was struck by an overstocked hand truck.

The Case

After picking up a prescription at the Walgreens pharmacy, the woman left the counter and returned to the aisle. A delivery employee from Dean’s Transportation, Inc. was carrying an overstocked hand truck with about 350 pounds of Dean’s milk. The cart which was stacked about the delivery employee’s head obstructed his vision and he struck the back of one the woman’s calves causing trauma and severe bruising.

In-Depth Look

A dentist who suffers from chronic pain due to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which arose after being struck on the leg by a hand truck, received a $10,000,000 verdict from a Cook County jury on September 15, 2016.

The amount is an Illinois record for a CRPS injury, according to the Jury Verdict Reporter.

On March 26, 2012, the woman was picking up a prescription for flu-like symptoms at the Walgreens pharmacy in Lincolnwood, Illinois. While walking away from the counter to leave the store, she was struck in the right calf by a hand truck carrying roughly 350 lbs. of Dean’s milk.

“Initially, it was an injury you thought would heal and go away, but it never stopped. Instead, it morphed into a disease process called CRPS,” stated Clifford W. Horwitz, a principal partner and lead trial personal injury attorney at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates Ltd, who represented the woman.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain condition characterized by severe pain that often worsens over time, sensitivity, swelling, and skin changes. A hallmark of the condition is pain that is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury.

As time passed, the CRPS in the woman’s right leg spread into to her left leg and feet – a process known as mirror image spreading.

“She endures a ‘chronic unstoppable burning sensation’ in both her feet and legs now, and has to take high-dosage morphine in conjunction with a spinal cord stimulator to help manage her pain,” Horwitz described.

He continued, “The medication will never completely relieve her symptoms. Modern medicine still doesn’t have a cure or any kind of resolution for this disease, which dates back to the Civil War era.”

Horwitz filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the Dean Transportation’s employee operating the hand truck failed to give warning to store customers while he pushed the hand truck and that the crates were stacked so high that the employee’s vision was obstructed.

“The hand truck was operated by an employee of Dean’s Transportation, Inc., who failed to safely stack and move the dairy delivery cart,” stated Clifford Horwitz. He continued, “The Dean’s Transportation employee disregarded not only common sense but also OSHA rules.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) spells out material handling and storage guidelines in its rule 2236, which states that in order to prevent injuries, employees should seek help when they cannot see around or over a load. Further, employees should not stack loads to where their field of vision becomes obstructed.

Dean’s Transportation, Inc., eventually admitted negligence after the trial began by withdrawing its affirmative defenses, which alleged the woman failed to avoid an obvious condition and keep a proper lookout for her own safety. However, they continued to contest that their employee’s actions proximately caused the woman’s CRPS.

Testifying for the plaintiff were pain management specialists Ira Goodman and Timothy Lubenow, and occupational and environmental medicine specialist Jeffrey Coe. The woman’s medical bills had totaled $300,000 over the four years leading up to the trial.

After eight days of trial, twelve jurors unanimously agreed with the liability and medical arguments presented by Clifford Horwitz and Michael Carter, awarding the woman a $10,000,000 record-setting jury verdict.

The woman and her work injury attorneys including Clifford Horwitz and Michael Carter are pleased with the verdict.

“Is she thrilled? No.” Cliff remarked. He continued, “She was a dancer, a SCUBA diving expert, an avid traveler, a loving aunt, a full-time dentist, and much more. She accomplished so much in only 46 years and had plans to accomplish so much more before it was all taken away from her. How can someone be thrilled by losing what they enjoy most?”

Over the last 4 years, the lead trial team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has collected a number of record-setting jury verdicts including what was the largest personal injury verdict for an individual in Illinois history.

Among others, they have won what was the largest jury verdict for a back injury, the largest jury verdict for a neck injury, the largest jury verdict for a brain injury, the largest jury verdict for spinal cord injury, the largest jury verdict for a hand injury, and now the largest jury verdict for a CRPS injury.