Attorneys from Dan Caplis Law earlier this month won a $2.45 million verdict for an elderly client who was injured in a wheelchair transport incident.
A Denver County jury on Oct. 15 awarded 81-year-old Mary Herbka the seven-figure verdict for injuries sustained while being transported by Metro Care Ambulance from a doctor’s appointment to her Denver-area nursing home.
According to attorney Michael Kane, the ambulance driver didn’t properly secure Herbka to her wheelchair, and when he slammed on the brakes, she slid out from underneath the restraint system and was pressed up against a metal barrier separating the driver’s seat from the back of the vehicle with her leg “bent at a funny angle.” Even after realizing Herbka was no longer in her wheelchair, Kane said, the driver kept driving rather than calling 911.
The client was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery the next day, Kane said, and she suffered a broken tibia and fibula requiring rods to be inserted to fix the broken bones.
The injuries resulted in a drastic reduction in Herbka’s mobility, independence and quality of life. Kane said he thinks one of the biggest considerations for the jury was the fact that Herbka’s right leg was already unusable due to a disability, and following the serious fracture to her left leg, she is no longer able to stabilize herself while transferring from her bed into her wheelchair.
She is now confined to her bed, Kane said, and requires the nursing home to use a Hoyer lift to transfer her to her wheelchair. She can no longer move around the nursing facility by herself or use the toilet independently, he added, and she now needs to wear diapers.