July 3, 2014

Hecht Kleeger & Damashek Joins NY “Top Verdicts” List

By Jonathan Damashek

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A damages award totaling more than $3 million secured by the attorneys at Hecht Kleeger & Damashek for a client has earned the firm a spot on New York’s “Top Verdicts and Settlements” list.

The case, Mejias v. Ceva Logistics, involved a makeshift “fix” of a truck’s liftgate that ultimately led to an accident and severe injuries.  The injured plaintiff, Jose Mejias, a 30-year-old clerk at an automobile dealer, was helping a delivery driver unload an 800-pound container of automobile parts.  The container was balanced on the truck’s liftgate when it fell, causing severe damage requiring surgery to Mejias’s head, back, and other areas.

As the case unfolded, attorney Jonathan S. Damashek discovered that the problem with the truck’s liftgate was a known issue. The lift gate had already malfunctioned earlier that day, and the problem had been addressed by removing one of the support chains, rather than by correcting the source of the problem.  As a result, the driver needed Mejias’s help to balance the 800-pound load as it was being lowered, putting Mejias in a dangerous position – with disastrous consequences.  The severe injuries he suffered in the accident left him unable to work and to help around the house in many of the ways he had before his accident.

The case involved several potentially responsible parties, including the truck driver’s employer, the company that arranged the delivery, and the company that had worked on the liftgate.  By bringing these parties together and working through the case, Hecht Kleeger & Damashek was able to reach a settlement without the expense and burden of trial.  The final award totaled $3,050,000, covering more than $1 million in lost wages, substantial medical bills, and other losses.

While the award is substantial, it does not represent the single largest success the firm has achieved on behalf of an injured client.  As a NY Magazine profile of the law firm notes, Hecht Kleeger & Damashek has succeeded on behalf of other severely injured clients, including a $9 million verdict in 2004 for two brothers who were injured while working on a construction site in the Bronx.

Injuries suffered during work can be among the most difficult to pursue in court.  Those who are injured in the workplace may be entitled to workers’ compensation for the injuries. They may also have a case against a third party, such as the maker of a defective product, the driver of another vehicle, or a company that fails to perform equipment repairs properly.

In these situations, an injured person can find it overwhelming to try to determine exactly who is responsible, especially when he or she is already working hard to recover from severe injuries.  An aggressive New York attorney may be your best ally.