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Lance Rubin
Lance Rubin
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Man Awarded $18 Million for Fall into Manhole

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For years, the company that operates the steam system under Philadelphia streets has had a problem with homeless men removing manhole covers. Even though the company knew about this problem, it did nothing to stop it. In 2004, this failure spelled disaster for 30 year old medical student Marcus Gustafsson, who fell into an uncovered manhole and plunged 18 feet, breaking his back.

Because of his injuries, Mr. Gustafsson has been unable to finish his medical education and will lose millions in income. A jury found that, if the accident hadn’t happened, Mr. Gustafsson would have finished his education. The jury held Trigen-Philadelphia Energy Corp. responsible for its failure to secure the manhole cover and the injuries Mr. Gustafsson suffered.

The trial showed that Trigen had known for 10 years that homeless men were removing manhole covers, Casey said

. Since this accident, the company has welded some of these manholes shut to prevent other incidents like this one.

At first blush, it might seem that the homeless man who moved the manhole cover was the one mostly responsible for this accident, but the jury found it was 99.99% the fault of Trigen, and only .01% the fault of the homeless man.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, it is important to hire a lawyer who can help determine ALL the parties who might be responsible for the injuries and damages. It’s not always the obvious ones.