Garage-door injury case settles for $2.2M
A delivery driver who suffered a spinal injury after a garage door closed on him has received a $2.2 million settlement.
David Turkyilmaz, 41, was a delivery driver for Tax Airfreight and was making a routine delivery to Littelfuse Inc. in Des Plaines in May 2007. While he was exiting the manufacturing facility, an automatic overhead garage door started moving while he was under it and struck with him in the head.
Turkyilmaz had no visible injuries at the time but later experienced severe pain in his neck, according to his attorney, Eugene K. Hollander of the Law Offices Eugene K. Hollander.
The injury caused a disk herniation in Turkyilmaz’s spine, which his doctors initially treated with physical therapy. Doctors later performed an MRI and saw a bulging disk. Turkyilmaz underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and spinal fusion.
The lawsuit alleged that several fail-safe devices on the door were not properly maintained. The door has sensors to respond when something or someone is approaching or in its path, Hollander said.
“If it (garage door) comes in contact with something, it should bounce back up”, he said.
Hollander said the garage door was not designed for a commercial space like Littelfuse’s.
A deposition from a United Parcel Service driver who was injured 2 years prior to Turkyilmaz’s incident also showed that there were problems with the door, Hollander said. The lawsuit requested that Littelfuse; the door maintenance company, Reliable Door Systems Inc.; and the door manufacturer, Paul Reilly Inc., pay punitive damages to Turkyilmaz.
The defense argued that Turkyilmaz was trying to “beat the door” when he ran under it and that because he waited months before seeking treatment, the garage door was not proximate cause of his injury.
In the combined $2.2 million settlement, Littelfuse paid $1.965 million; Reliable Door paid $200,000 and Paul Reilly paid $35,000. The settlement was approved in November by then-Cook County Circuit Judge William D. Maddux. Hollander released details about it last week.
Hollander said Turkyilmaz has difficulty turning his head and must lay down often to alleviate neck pain.
“He is not able to work and other than running errands to the grocery store he is confined to his house much of the time,” said Hollander, who represented Turkyilmaz with his colleage, Paul W. Ryan.
Littelfuse’s attorney, Jeremiah P. Connolly of Bollinger, Connolly, Krause LLC declined to comment on the case.
Paul Reilly was represented by Kathryn M. Metz and Fred Allen Smith III of Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP. Reliable Door was represented by Jon P. Malartsik of Paulsen, Malec & Malartsik Ltd. In Wheaton.
The case is Turkyilmaz v. Littelfuse Inc, (sic) et al, No. 09 L104L.