HARTFORD, Conn. (WNTH) — A Hartford man who was left paralyzed after a work-related injury was awarded $100 million in what is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement in Connecticut history.
In 2017, Juan “Mikey” Cruz was working at Phillips Lighting North America’s Locust Street warehouse when a 1,300-pound cube of lighting equipment fell on top of him. The incident left Cruz with a crushed abdomen, fractured ribs and paraplegia.
“A load of lamps came down on me and knocked me out,” Cruz said. “When I regained consciousness the first three words were, or the first phrase was I can’t feel my leg. I tried to get up, but the only movement that I had was just my upper body.”
The Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC represented Cruz in his case against Philips Lighting North America Corp, which is now known as Signify North America Corporation.
Ryan McKeen, an attorney and co-founder of the Connecticut Trial Firm, told News 8 that the accident could have been prevented and that the company chose to fight his client for five years.
“They didn’t see them, they didn’t value them, and the jury did see them, and did value them as people,” McKeen said.
News 8 reached out to Signify North America Corporation but we have yet to hear back.
Cruz said he wants to help others like him.
“I want to start a foundation to help folks that come into a work accident or any kind of accident,” he said. “Not just to help them and their needs and understanding and keeping them upbeat, but also to help the families.”