Santa Ana, CA— November 30, 2013 began like any other day for Mr. Ortega.
Ortega was a successful maintenance worker in the Orange County area. At 7:00am, he arrived at the house he was assigned to work on that day. John Doe, his partner, helped him unload some tools from his truck and then left the property.
While Ortega continued to unload the tools, the gate to the backyard closed. The gate locked automatically and prevented Ortega from accessing the backyard to unload the heavy welder. Ortiz called Doe and explained that the gate had closed and locked, and that he still needed to offload the welder. Doe responded, “Just lift the welder over the gate.”
However, Doe failed to warn Ortega that he had previously sharpened the ornamental arrows of the cast iron gate to razor sharpness. As Ortega tried to lift the heavy welder over the gate, as instructed, he lost his balance and one of the arrows impaled his hand. Ortega was rushed to the hospital where doctors determined the arrow caused irreparable injuries to his hand’s tissues, tendons, ligaments and nerves.
Ortega retained Jorgensen & Salberg, LLP to file a complaint for damages.
In 2014, the owners of the home were found liable for failing to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. By allowing Doe to sharpen the cast iron ornamental arrows to razor sharpness, they were aware of the unreasonable risk of harm it posed to visitors of the property. Doe was also found responsible for failing to warn Ortega of the danger presented by lifting the welder over the sharp cast iron gate.
Ortega, who relied on his hands for a living, now has a permanent disability. The paralysis and disfigurement of his hand has led to a drastic loss of work and income.
Fortunately, Jorgensen & Salberg successfully settled his personal injury case for an undisclosed amount. Ortega commented, “No amount of money can bring back the feeling in my hand, but I’m thankful for everything Jorgensen & Salberg did to ease the financial stress of living with this disability.”
*Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.