$15.6 Million Verdict in “Crushed Hand Case”

Negligent facility owners and machinery providers must be held accountable for injuries sustained by those simply living, working, or visiting a building. In the case of a delivery driver in Brooklyn, he was compensated fairly for an injury he received by acting via a personal injury civil lawsuit.


The case of plaintiff Patrick Gilbert stems from an incident on January 11, 1996.

Gilbert, who was delivering milk to the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, had his hand violently crushed by the door of a freight elevator. He filed a negligence suit against the facility, as well as the Serge Elevator company, who was responsible for maintaining the elevator where the incident occurred.

Fault was found in the form of 45% against Kingsbrook, 45% against Serge, and only 10% against the plaintiff, Gilbert.

A jury also found that the defendants were liable for Gilbert’s life-long injuries and awarded damages of $15,606,000, including $2,300,000 of that sum for lost earnings caused by the injuries.

Gilbert’s experienced personal injury attorneys from the firm of Kelly & Grossman, LLP felt the compensation was fair. The suit requested $20,000,000 for past and future pain and suffering, $50,000 for past medical expenses, and $2,300,000 for past and future lost wages.

Holding Responsible Parties Liable

The claim was recognized that the elevator where the incident occurred had an outdated metal astragal, not found in modern elevators where a rubber astragal exists. By using a rubber astragal, modern elevators have a mechanism to prevent crush injuries, which is not provided with the metal product.

While defense counsel attempted to argue that Gilbert assumed the risk by putting his hand in the elevator door, and that an unknown passenger should be held responsible for closing the door on Gilbert’s hand, the majority of liability was held against the elevator company and facility at fault.

The chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit vary by case, however, for Mr. Gilbert and many others, clients often receive the compensation they deserve for negligent acts committed against them.

Lasting Injuries

Following the incident, Gilbert suffered from a crushed left hand, which was his dominant hand, as well as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (R.S.D.). Unfortunately, he was never able to return to work full-time, and has only been able to complete limited work.

The day of the incident, Gilbert transported himself to the emergency room at the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, where x-rays were performed and he was released later that same day.

In April of 1996, a surgery was performed by Dr. Roger Simpson to place a screw in Gilbert’s left wrist. Simpson performed two other surgeries the following two years, one for a partial left wrist fusion and the other to completely fuse Gilbert’s hand, wrist, and forearm.  

Gilbert was then referred by Dr. Simpson to Dr. Alexander Weingarten, who performed more than 50 injections of Stellate Ganglion Blocks, providing temporary relief for R.S.D.

For three years, Gilbert also endured 117 physical therapy sessions to attempt to assist with his injuries. Still, he was not able to bend his wrist, due to the metal plate. The R.S.D. he suffers from is also a permanent injury that is extremely painful. Gilbert describes the pain as “constant,” “radiating,” and “severe.”

Defense counsel for the defendant’s had attempted to argue that Gilbert’s injuries were not related and were merely “pre-existing.”

How Do I Find a Personal Injury Attorney?

Kelly & Grossman, LLP is a dedicated team of personal injury attorneys, fighting for justice for clients who are injured and require civil litigation to act against negligent users. Personal injury lawsuit settlement amounts like those compensated to Gilbert are possible with the right legal team.

If you have been unfairly injured or mistreated in the workplace, by medical malpractice, a defective product, or other circumstance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. Contact us today, or call 631.314.4996 for more information about how our counsel can help you.