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Paralyzed Texas warehouse worker awarded $12.1 million

When someone is awarded a large amount in a personal injury lawsuit, many people assume that person must feel as if they've just won the lottery. In reality, it means the person has suffered devastating injuries that often result in a lifetime of pain, medical care, surgeries and more.

That's the case north of Houston in which a 46-year-old Texas warehouse worker was paralyzed from the chest down after a 1,000-pound pallet was knocked 20 feet down onto his head and back in 2012. The industrial accident left him unable to even attend the Waco trial due to a recent surgery and recovery at a rehabilitation facility.

Jurors heard two weeks of testimony before taking just three hours to unanimously find the man's former employer negligent in the matter.

The forklift operator who knocked the pallet holding a half-ton of dog food onto the man will not be held financially responsible for the tragedy.

The man had worked for the Waco distribution warehouse for about a month before the May 2012 accident left him paralyzed for life, with "limited use of his arms."

Three jurors told a Waco newspaper that they realized no amount of compensation would restore the victim's health, but that they wanted to give him fair compensation for his massive injuries.

A spokesperson for the warehouse said the injuries were the result of an "unfortunate, isolated incident."

He also stressed the company's commitment to "providing a safe environment" for its workers.

Despite that "safe environment," the jury decided the man should receive $5 million for future medical care costs and $538,589 for medical expenses already incurred. He is also to receive $68,000 for lost wages and $540,000 for future lost income. He's also to get $1 million for past and future physical impairment, as well as $4 million for past and future pain and mental anguish.

In addition, he will receive $1 million compensation for past and future disfigurement.

The jurors' words ring true: no amount of compensation will ever make up for those injuries and that pain.

We are among the many glad that his personal injury attorney persuaded the jury to ensure that he will get the care he'll need for the rest of his life.

Source: WacoTrib.com, "Injured warehouse worker awarded $12 million," Tommy Witherspoon, Jan. 25, 2014

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