Student Wins Brain Injury Lawsuit After Fall Down Elevator Shaft

The Chicago brain injury attorneys at our firm have worked with local victims whose head trauma resulted from a wide range of incidents. Brain damage can be caused by oxygen deprivation-such as during a birthing error-or when a victim suffers severe head trauma. One of the most common ways that an adult suffers head trauma is after a fall.

That appears to be what happened in the case of one college student who was recently awarded $4.1 million by a jury following a brain injury lawsuit. As reported in Commercial Appeal, the award was a long-time coming for the plaintiff, who is now thirty years old. He was injured when he was at a school-sponsored event in 2005. The student was at a senior art exhibit at an art gallery near the school when the accident occurred. The university had rented the gallery to display student artwork. Many questions remain about the accident, because there were no witnesses and the victim has no recollection of the accident. All that is known is that there was an open elevator shaft on the first floor of the gallery. The young man was found moaning at the bottom of the shaft after falling at least fifteen feet from the first floor to the basement.

Following the accident the victim was forced to have a large section of his skull removed to allow the swelling in his brain to subside. He was forced to wear a helmet to protect his head from further injury. The man’s life has still not fully gotten back to normal. Once a promising art student, he now struggles to complete his artwork as before. He filed the elevator accident lawsuit after his recovery was underway, and the jury in the case recently decided in his favor.

Both the university and the gallery owner shared blame for the tragedy. Our Chicago brain accident lawyer knows that this joint liability is common in many tragic accidents where multiple causes combine to lead to the injury. While the man in this case should eventually receive the sum awarded, the legal wrangling around this case is not concluded. There is a second phase to the case that will be heard soon related to an indemnification agreement between the university and the art gallery. Specifically, the art gallery owner is contending that the university signed an indemnity waiver when renting the space which requires the university to pay the art gallery’s portion of the award. The jury had determined that the university was 65 percent at fault, the art gallery was 30 percent at fault, and the victim was 5 percent at fault. In the trial’s second phase, the judge will decide if the indemnity clause was indeed agreed to and whether or now it applies in this situation.

Our Chicago injury attorneys are glad that this victim will likely receive the compensation he needs to pay for past medical problems and get on with his life as much as possible. However, as they second phase of the case demonstrates, it is often a long, drawn-out and arduous process before victims finally receive the redress to which they are entitled. Hopefully the resolution can be reached as quickly as possible.

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