St. Paul Approved $500,000 Settlement in Tree Cutting Accident
The St. Paul city council recently approved a $500,000 settlement to compensate a local man injured in a horrific tree cutting accident outside a neighborhood bar on West Seventh Street almost four years ago. The victim, 65 years old at the time of the accident, had just stepped outside his favorite bar after getting off work when an 800 lb. tree limb careened from a nearby work site and struck him.
The victim suffered two broken legs, a severed artery, and a shattered pelvis, leaving him with life long injuries from which he will never fully recover, according to his claim. The victim underwent five surgeries to graph titanium supports to his bones during his three-month stay in the hospital.
The victim’s lawsuit alleges the city acted negligently by failing to warn onlookers when forestry crews cut down the century-old American elm tree. According to reports, the crews laid down a “crash pad” of tree limbs already cut down to cushion the fall of the 7-foot log. One of those limbs flew across the street and hit the victim.
Instead of roping off the work area or placing signage, the city reportedly had crews out to keep bystanders out of harm’s way. Unfortunately for the victim, that system was too little, too late to prevent his serious personal injury.
City claims “sovereign immunity”
After the victim filed suit in 2014, the city initially denied any responsibility and actually blamed the victim for his own injuries, claiming he assumed responsibility for being an onlooker across the street. The city claimed sovereign immunity from the suit, meaning it cannot be sued as a governmental entity.
However, attorneys took the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which ruled the city could not claim sovereign immunity in this case and after the state Supreme Court refused to hear further appeals, the city settled the case. While we expect our local governments to do what is best, the case is another prime example of the depths wrongdoers go to in order to skirt responsibility for their careless actions.
Contact our Minnesota personal injury lawyers
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in an accident, contact our office to discuss your case. Our Minnesota personal injury lawyers have years of experience helping the injured recover compensation for their accident and holding wrongdoers accountable for the harm caused.