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$4M Settlement for Construction Worker Hit By Dump Truck

Attorneys John M. Dodig and Jason A. Daria obtained a $4 million settlement for a construction laborer who was seriously injured at a job site along the New Jersey Turnpike when a dump truck backed up into him.

Michael Leon, of Camden, was cleaning concrete from an expansion joint in a newly paved roadway overpass on Sept. 23, 2013, in East Windsor Township, when a dump truck delivering asphalt backed up into him, driving over both his legs and pinning him under the passenger-side rear tires.

Leon was employed by Union Paving, which was the general contractor on the project. Defendant M.L. Ruberton Construction Company was a subcontractor retained to install guide rail, including asphalt around the guide rail posts. Ruberton, which owned the truck, retained Aqua-Tex Transport to deliver the asphalt. The truck was operated by defendant Joseph Shuhart, who was an employee of Aqua-Tex.

Shuhart failed to use a “spotter” while backing up, which was a violation of the New Jersey Commercial Driver License Manual, the operator’s manual for the truck, and the safety manuals of Aqua-Tex, Ruberton and Union Paving. Aqua-Tex and Ruberton had hired Shuhart two months prior to the accident. Shuhart had no experience operating a dump truck, and the two defendants did not provide him with training on the safety and operation manuals. Shuhart, Aqua-Tex and Ruberton also failed to inspect and maintain the truck and its back-up alarm, which was not working properly at the time of the accident.

Several witnesses testified that Leon was wearing earbuds at the time of the accident, and the defense blamed him, arguing that he could not hear the back-up alarm.

Leon sustained extensive injuries including crush injuries and compression neuropathy to his lower extremities, left talar avulsion fracture, concussion, right and left knee medial meniscus tears, L5-S1 bilateral neural foraminal encroachment, lumbar radiculopathy, lower extremity infection, cellulitis, sepsis, seroma, abscess, nerve dysfunction, complex regional pain syndrome, posttraumatic osteoarthritis, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. He has undergone multiple surgeries and procedures and is permanently disabled and cannot return to gainful employment.