Michigan Teenage Volunteer Injured on Farm, Awarded Settlement

Colton Brooks, 17-years-old, was a volunteer worker on Stanton Orchards. While working on the farm, his left leg was crushed when a 4,000 pound cherry catcher (a tractor for cherry collection) that Brooks was operating lost control and rolled down a hill.

It was contended that the teenage boy did not receive the proper training to operate the vehicle by the orchard’s management. Also, it was alleged that the 30-year-old tractor was not maintained properly, and the brakes were not kept up.

A retired Michigan State University agricultural engineering professor, Gary VanEe, testified for the plaintiff in this accident that if the equipment had been properly maintained, the tractor would have been stopped on the hillside. He explained that the brakes gave the wheels more power because of their placement.

During the discovery phase, it was revealed that the machine had broken free and rolled down the hill twice in 2010. The mechanic testified at the trial that he told the owners that the machine should be replaced after the 2010 harvest. The mechanic also said that a cage should be welded around the seat to protect the occupant if the machine did roll down the hill again.

The Verdict

The jury allocated only 15% of fault to the injured boy. The verdict was broken down as follows:

$134,888 in past and future medical expenses and $510,500 in past and future non-economic damages

Cases of this Nature

Cases such as this require an experienced attorney. If you or your loved one has ever been injured in a similar accident in which equipment’s improper maintenance resulted in serious injury, contact the lawyers at our office at 800.637.8170. We can help you receive the compensation that is deserved for any injuries sustained. 

Charles Boyk
is a personal injury attorney and author practicing law in Ohio. 419-241-1395
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