A Jackson County, Missouri jury awarded $30 million to a DBJ-client carpenter who received a 277-volt electric shock at a construction site. Virgil McCormack claimed that an electrical sub-contractor was negligent in failing to turn off the electricity while he was working. The defense argued that McCormack was to blame because he touched an uncapped wire.
According to attorney Grant L. Davis, of DBJ, the case hinged on the “frivolous, hurtful defense” argued by the sub-contractor. “Despite all evidence to the contrary, they accused him of being a malingerer, that he was faking,” Davis said. “They said Virgil, his wife, and all of the treating doctors were lying.”
Electrical shocks can cause progressive injuries that worsen over time. A PET scan on McCormack showed abnormal brain activity similar to that of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
“Virgil was a journeyman carpenter, he coached his daughter’s softball team, he was an avid outdoorsman,” Davis said. “After high school, he was recruited to play minor league baseball. That was all taken away. He can’t drive, can’t follow TV shows. His IQ dropped from normal to borderline retarded. He volunteers at the hospital to give him something to do.”
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