The United States government has been ordered to pay nearly $900,000 to a disabled truck driver who suffered brain and spinal injuries after a fall at an Indiana post office.
Indiana Southern District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt entered judgment totaling $899,833.19 in damages for Raymond Lilly, who fell off a loading dock while delivering packages to the Lawrenceburg Post Office.
Lilly was working for Joe Poff Inc. delivering packages for Amazon at the time of the December 2013 fall. He’d once owned a trucking company, but after he lost his commercial driver’s license because of his diabetes in 2000, his business went under in 2002.
Lilly did not work during the period between 2000 and 2013.
“He worried all the time and did not take care of his health. He received social security disability during that time and his disability benefits converted to retirement benefits in 2013 when he turned 65,” Pratt wrote in a Tuesday order listing her findings of fact and conclusions of law, which were entered after a bench trial on damages. “In 2009, Mr. Lilly decided that he was going to get his life back in order and he started exercising, eating right, taking his medications and lost approximately 80 pounds. In March or April 2013, he passed a (Department of Transportation) physical to become a truck driver once again.”
Lilly had been back to work only six weeks on Christmas Eve 2013, when he was working with a United States Postal Service employee to unload packages. When the work was finished, the employee unhooked a portion of the loading dock without looking to see if Lilly had cleared it.
Lilly fell backward four to five feet, Pratt wrote, and he was initially unable to get up on his own. He declined the USPS employee’s offer of medical care, but he later sought treatment Dec. 26 and was eventually admitted to the hospital for four days.
“The fall from the loading dock on December 24, 2013, resulted in Mr. Lilly sustaining two spinal fractures … a mild traumatic brain injury, and post-concussive syndrome. … In addition to the spinal fractures, the concussion, and the post-concussive syndrome, the fall from the loading dock on December 24, 2013, also caused an exacerbation of Mr. Lilly’s pre-existing diabetes, neuropathy, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia; short-term memory loss; hypogonadism; psychological trauma, including depression and anxiety; renal failure; weight gain; and chronic pain.”