Worker's Injury Suit is Settled for $1.45M

A 27-year-old Mahwah warehouse worker whose head was crushed three years ago by a delivery truck has received a $1.45-million settlement to compensate for his injuries, which include near-blindness, facial paralysis, and partial deafness.

At the conclusion of a six-day trial in Superior Court in Hackensack, Judge David B. Follender Tuesday approved the settlement between All Glass Aquarium Company of Franklin, Wis., and Dennis Lang of Pomona, N.Y.

Lang was assistant warehouse manager at his father's company, Kenlin Pet Supply on Island Road in Mahwah, when the March 12, 1982, accident occurred. Lang was standing on the warehouse loading dock, directing a trailer truck.

According to police reports, the truck had backed up too close to the dock, and Lang motioned for the driver to pull away. The driver apparently misunderstood Lang and jolted backward, crushing Lang's head between the truck and the warehouse wall.

All Glass, the trucker's employer, agreed to the settlement Tuesday morning, shortly before attorneys were to present closing arguments to the jury.

Lang testified, along with the truck driver and coworkers who witnessed the accident. The trial also included videotaped testimony by four New York physicians who treated and operated on Lang.

Lang's attorney, E. Carter Corriston of Hackensack, said his client suffered total blindness in the left eye, and partial blindness in the right eye, which may require a cornea transplant.

Lang also suffered near-deafness in the accident, but underwent surgery that restored some of his hearing.

The injury also partially paralyzed nerves in Lang's face, limiting the use of his mouth.

However, Corriston said Lang suffered no brain damage in the accident. Although Lang has been unable to work since the accident, he hopes to return to work for his father, Meyer Lang, Corriston said.

The Wisconsin aquarium company will pay Lang at least half the settlement in cash, Corriston said, and invest the rest in annuities that would provide Lang with regular payments over a period to be decided.

Corriston said Lang's medical bills amounted to more than $90,000, which was paid by workers compensation but must be repaid by Lang upon receiving the settlement.

This article is reprinted with permission from the January 31, 1985 issue of the Record