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Products Liability – Plaintiff truck driver filling truck's water tank at cement mixer facility contends that view of gauge on passenger side obstructed – Plaintiff overfills tank – Water splashes and freezes in frigid weather – Plaintiff slips on platform and leg crashes through truck's step

Ocean County, NJ

The plaintiff, approximately 60 years old at the time, contended that the truck, designed and manufactured by the defendant, was defective. The plaintiff, who was employed by the cement mixer facility, was standing on a platform next to the driver’s side, filling a water tank on the truck. The gauge was situated on the passenger side, and maintained that because he could not see the gauge, the tank overfilled, with water splashing onto the platform, quickly freezing, and that he slipped and fell on the platform. The plaintiff contended that his leg crashed into the step, and that he suffered a compound fracture that ultimately led to the need for a below-the-knee amputation. The plaintiff also contended that a railing should have been placed on the truck to provide additional stability while filling the tank, and that such a railing would have enabled the plaintiff to grab as he began to fall, preventing the injury. The defendant denied that the placement of the gauge rendered the truck defective, and also maintained that a railing on the truck was not necessary, and that any railing should have been placed on the platform.

The plaintiff, who no longer works, maintained that had it not been for the injury, he would have continued working for several additional years.The jury found that the truck was not defective, and a defense verdict was entered following less than 15 minutes of deliberations.

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