EDWARDSVILLE — A jury Thursday awarded a top Edwardsville High School student and his parents $910,000 in connection with a bicycle accident that left a gash from his nose and down his right cheek.
Trevor Brady, who said he plans to use to money for college tuition, told the jury Thursday he was riding his bicycle on St. Louis Street when he ran into a misplaced steel reinforcing beam at a construction site.
He said he was rounding a corner when he hit the beam and fell to the ground. He was on his way to Lincoln Middle School on March 5, 2010.
He said he was in shock but someone helped him dial 911 on his cell phone and he was taken by ambulance to Anderson Hospital in Maryville. The pain was intense, and the recovery was complex, he said.
“In the ambulance, several times I said I wanted to die the pain was so bad,” he told the jury.
Named in the suit was Plocher Construction Co., which was building a new office building at 411 St. Louis St. The company admitted its responsibility for the misplaced beam but the trial was held to determine damages.
Brady’s lawyer, Richard Witzel of St. Louis, argued for a total of $3.3 million. David Simkins, the attorney for Plocher, suggested $250,000.
The jury awarded Trevor Brady $725,000 for his medical expenses, pain and suffering and his parents, Danette and Brian Brady, $185,000 for their emotional pain and for their efforts in caring for him.
Brady testified that he was rushed by helicopter to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, where doctors stitched the wound both inside and outside his cheek. He said the injury entered his nasal cavity and knocked some of his teeth out.
He was on bed rest at home for two weeks and had to undergo plastic surgery about a year after the accident to remove a scar on his face. He also had to undergo surgery on his mouth and nose. The scar made him self-conscious at school, he said.
Brady had speech therapy as a younger child, but had to start again after the accident because his teeth were misaligned.
He said he still has to be conscious of his speech, but he makes presentations in front of his peers despite his speech difficulty. He told the jury he is a member of the National Honor Society and plans to be an engineer. He said he participated in running and swimming before the accident and had some difficulty getting back in shape afterward.
He said in an interview with The Telegraph after the verdict that he wants to enter University of Illinois and study engineering. The school has a top reputation for its engineering school.
After the verdict, a juror walked up to the parents and said, “as a parent, I know what you went through. Good luck.”
Witzel had little to say after the verdict, except that Madison County’s reputation as a “plaintiff’s paradise” is overrated. Simkins declined to comment.
Reporter Sanford J. Schmidt can be reached at 618-463-2558 or on Twitter @SanfordJSchmidt.