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Merritt Island man, paralyzed after dare, wins $76.6M award

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  • Merritt Island man, paralyzed after dare, wins $76.6M award

    Wow just wow...

    Before I jump in water I want to see how deep it is and if there are any animals in the water...

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...,2110098.story

    A Merritt Island man who was paralyzed when he answered a dare to do a belly flop in the Indian River has been awarded $76.6 million by a Brevard County jury.

    Timothy D. Hoffman, who was 20 at the time of the accident on Jan. 16, 2003, broke his neck when he sprinted down a dock in Port St. John and slammed headfirst into the bottom of the shallow river.

    The former construction worker is unable to move his legs or arms but has limited movement in his shoulders, said his attorney, Donald Van Dingenen of Winter Park.

    Hoffman's mother quit her job to take care of him. He lives in his parents' converted garage, requires assistance to eat and dress, and cannot use the bathroom normally, Van Dingenen said. His father is a construction worker who has to travel out of state to take jobs to support the family during the recession.


    A jury late Wednesday in Viera decided that Hoffman should receive $1.5 million for past medical expenses, $89,000 for lost earnings, $21.7 million for future medical expenses, $583,000 for loss of future earnings, and a whopping $52.8 million for pain and suffering. The judgment is one of the largest in Brevard history, Van Dingenen said.

    Whether Hoffman will collect, however, is questionable.

    The defendant, C&D Dock Works, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May because of the incident, said its former owner, Charles Brunty. A judge in November 2007 ruled that the company was negligent.

    C&D was the general contractor on the job, to which Hoffman was sent by a temporary labor agency. Brunty said he hasn't worked for months and could not afford a lawyer, so no one defended the company in court.

    "There was no negligence on my part," Brunty said. There was a rail at the edge of the water, he added, indicating a potential danger.

    "Why he went into the water, I don't know," Brunty said. "There's got to be some common sense, too."

    The accident happened while Hoffman was waiting for a sea wall to harden. Accounts diverge. In one, Hoffman's boss and co-workers put up money -- either $10 or $20, according to varying versions -- to goad him to enter the chilly water. In another, Hoffman offered to jump into the river in exchange for the money.

    It is undisputed that he fell about 10 feet into about a foot of water and landed on his head, breaking his neck between his fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae.

    Hoffman tried to get workers' compensation payments, but the claim was denied in 2005 because the agency he worked for had no workers' comp insurance, both sides said. His family has no health insurance, and he owes $1.5 million to hospitals, Van Dingenen said.

    Before the accident, Hoffman hoped to work with reptiles at a zoo and was planning to get married and eager to have children. He and his fianc�e parted not long afterward, Van Dingenen said. Now, Hoffman is totally dependent on others.

    "He hopes for a better day and a better life if he can collect on a judgment," Van Dingenen said. "He hopes to be able to walk one day."


    Susan Jacobson can be reached at sjacobson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-540-5981.
    Last edited by Southflaguy; 01-23-2009, 08:20 PM.
    sigpic

  • #2
    What a moron. Another burden on the health-care system and taxpayers.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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    • #3
      He hurts himself in a willful act and wins a lawsuit?????????????????
      The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

      Comment


      • #4
        WTF??? He willingly and was fully aware of what he was doing and becomes a multi-millionaire??
        Dark and light shall merge to one, I cannot finish, what I haven't begun.

        Originally posted by Monkeybomb
        What pic are you looking at. Its a babbons @55

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        • #5
          Only in America...


          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            Moron. But the jury members are bigger morons....
            LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER!

            Comment


            • #7
              Whatever happened to accountability for your own actions?

              Horrible circumstances, but he shouldn't be able to get rich off of it. Looks like he won't since the business is bankrupt.
              David Bailey Photography | Bailey Tactical

              sigpic

              "Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor satan shudders and says oh hell he's awake!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Explorer528 View Post
                WTF??? and becomes a multi-millionaire??
                Only on paper
                Quote of the week: "I was going how fast? And that's a school zone?"

                Comment


                • #9
                  What are the chances he said "Hey y'all watch this" or "Hold my beer" before jumping?
                  -Landric

                  "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them"-Felix

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Landric View Post
                    What are the chances he said "Hey y'all watch this" or "Hold my beer" before jumping?
                    Now that's funny right there!
                    David Bailey Photography | Bailey Tactical

                    sigpic

                    "Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor satan shudders and says oh hell he's awake!"

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                    • #11
                      I agree.. unless the owner goaded him into it or allowed his employees to do so.. then BOTH of them are morons.


                      cheers
                      geo

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Landric View Post
                        What are the chances he said "Hey y'all watch this" or "Hold my beer" before jumping?
                        In Texas, its "Hold my beer and watch this!"
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW5w3xwAReo

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                        • #13
                          Stupid ***. So if I want to be a millionaire all I have to do is hurt myself and sue?

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                          • #14
                            This story is both tragic and funny.

                            If he was doing a belly flop, why did he land on his head?

                            The fact that he sued a bankrupt company that has since gone out of business seems idiotic.

                            Hell this quote from the former owner sums everything up

                            "Why he went into the water, I don't know," Brunty said. "There's got to be some common sense, too."
                            What is Perseverance?
                            -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
                            -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
                            -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


                            BOP - BPA - ICE

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                            • #15
                              His mom is going to be paid well for wiping his butt the rest of his life.
                              Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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