Wheelchair Lift Defect Leads to Traumatic Brain Injury, Quadriplegia, $10M Judgment

A wheelchair device that was supposed to prevent wheelchairs from rolling off a vehicle has left one man with serious permanent injuries. Miguel Colareta, who was suffering from a progressing neurological order, had just backed his wheelchair onto the lift of a Paratransit van in 2012 when the lift malfunctioned, causing him to fall to the ground.

Colareta, who is 64, sustained a broken vertebrae and a traumatic brain jury. He is now a quadriplegic and lives in a nursing home.

Following the catastrophic accident, Colareta filed a personal injury case seeking damages for negligence and products liability. Apparently the device that was supposed to keep his wheelchair from coming off the lift was recalled just prior to the incident because of a defect.

Already, Colareta and his family have settled with Braun Corporation, which manufactured the defective wheelchair lift. Last year, a circuit judge signed a $10 million judgment against Allied Medical Transport, which was responsible for the Parantransit van involved in his wheelchair lift accident. AMT had gotten a recall notice for the lifts and had started replacing the faulty parts in some of the vehicles. It had yet to fix the lift in the van that Colareta had been using.

He and his family have yet to receive that amount. They are pursuing the ruling in federal court because AMT’s insurer is only willing to pay $500,000. That’s the maximum allowed under the company’s auto liability insurance policy.

The plaintiffs are also seeking damages from the Florida County where the accident happened. They blame Broward County for not properly maintaining or inspecting the wheelchair lifts.

In Massachusetts, it is so important that you work with a Boston personal injury law firm when you are pursuing damages for your civil claim or lawsuit. Sometimes, there may be numerous factors involved in your case and even more than one defendant.

The best way to fight for all of the compensation that you are owed and to ensure that your legal rights are protected is to have a lawyer on your side. With Massachusetts injury cases, you won’t pay any legal fees unless you recover from the parties responsible. And any payments will come out of your settlement or verdict and not our own pocket.

A Horrible Fall, a $10 Million Judgment, and a Family’s Search for Justice, NBC Miami, March 31, 2015

Sparta Insurance Company v. Colareta et al, Justia


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