Leg Crushed by Crucifix Leads to Amputation and $3M Lawsuit

St Paul's chapel New York City........WTC site
Scott Hudson * / Foter.com / CC BY

Several media outlets reported that a catholic family man had his right leg amputated after a crucifix he was cleaning located outside a church in Newburgh crashed down into his leg. The amputation caused him to file a $3 million negligence lawsuit against the church.

The victim, a 45-year-old man, began praying to the crucifix ever since his wife, a mother of 3 children, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After his wife made a full recovery, he offered to clean the crucifix as an expression of his gratitude to his faith, to which the church agreed.

In May 2010, the crucifix somehow detached from its base while the man was cleaning the crucifix. He fell back onto the parking lot of the church, but the cross weighed heavily on him and crushed his right leg. His young son witnessed the accident. He was immediately transferred by helicopter to the Westchester Medical Center. The doctors, saying they could not save the severely injured leg, recommended an immediate amputation of his leg below the knee.

The amputee’s personal injury attorney told reporters that the accident was caused by the negligence of the church’s priest who allowed his client to clean the crucifix. The priest allegedly failed to check on the cross to determine how safe the cross was for the cleaning task to be performed. As a result of this alleged negligence, the priest was not able to know the crucifix was in defective condition. He added that the priest negligently told his client to perform an action that caused the accident.

The insurance company of the diocese made it difficult for the victim’s family to obtain financial assistance.

According to the church, the congregation conducted fundraising activities to help the man’s family, and was thus able to collect $7,000 and food donations. Church members visited the man’s home, and a devout registered nurse from the parish would stop by his home to make sure his amputation was always clean.

The trial is scheduled for early 2013 in Orange County Court.

Adapting to life after an amputation can be very difficult, as the victim will need the help of specialists such as medical practitioners and therapists. The victim will also require training on using an artificial limb and assistance with daily tasks. These costs are potentially recoverable as part of special damages for the victim’s injury claim.

The amount of compensation for an injury, particularly for an amputation, depends on the extent of the amputation, as well as factors such as the person’s capacity to use a prosthetic limb in order to perform tasks. Another factor usually considered is the number of surgeries performed in an attempt to save the injured leg before it was amputated, as it likely prolonged the victim’s suffering.

There are many other factors to take into consideration when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. An experienced personal injury attorney can help amputees and their families obtain the compensation they deserve.

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