PERSONAL INJURY: $900,000
Injuries: Leg severed below the knee
Case name: Bradley B. Beschta, by his GAL vs. West Bend Insurance Company
Case no.: 2008-CV-000728
Court: Ozaukee County Circuit Court
Judge: Honorable Paul V. Malloy
Verdict/settlement: Settlement in favor of plaintiff
Amount: $900,000; with $480,000 set aside in a structured settlement, paying out sums to Bradley through his college and graduate school years and up to his 35th birthday, yielding $746,000.
Plaintiff’s attorneys: Victor C. Harding and Eric M. Knobloch, Warshafsky, Rotter, Tarnoff & Bloch, SC, Milwaukee
Defendant’s attorneys: Jeffrey Leavell, Offices of Jeffrey Leavell, SC, Racine
Insurance: West Bend Mutual Insurance Company
Plaintiff counsel’s summary of the facts: In the early evening of Saturday, June 13, 1998, Bradley Beschta, age 4, was being watched by his father, Brian, along with his 5-year-old sister and 3-year-old brother. Shortly before this, his mother, Angela, had gone into the backyard to mow the lawn on a riding mower. As Brian started to prepare the children for bed, he received a business phone call. While Brian was distracted on the phone, Bradley ran down to where his mother was mowing the grass. As Angela came around and between two evergreens, she was confronted by Bradley. Unable to stop the lawn mower in time, she struck Bradley. He was knocked to the ground with the mower deck riding over his left leg. Bradley’s left leg was severed completely below the knee. Bradley was immediately rushed to the hospital, however, the leg could not be saved and he suffered a below the knee amputation.
At the time of the incident, Brian and Angela owned and operated BRAMM Construction Company, Inc. BRAMM was basically a concrete finishing and landscaping company, whose corporate offices were located in the family’s basement.
West Bend Mutual Insurance Company issued a corporate liability policy of insurance to BRAMM Construction which carried the same address as the Beschta residence. The limits of liability were $1.5 million.
On June 12, 2008, Bradley Beschta commenced a claim against West Bend Mutual Insurance Company sounding generally in negligence. It was asserted by Bradley that his mother was in the scope of her employment at BRAMM Construction while mowing the lawn. It was further asserted that she negligently and carelessly operated the mower, causing it to collide with Bradley and sever his leg.
West Bend generally denied the allegations of negligence and further denied that at the time of the incident, Bradley’s mother Angela was in the scope of her employment when the incident occurred. West Bend affirmatively asserted Angela was performing a domestic duty, wholly separate from her responsibilities as an employee of BRAMM and, therefore, denied coverage. West Bend further asserted that Bradley’s father, Brian, was negligent in his supervision of the children, which would offset mom’s negligence.
Immediate medical bills incurred by Bradley totaled approximately $125,000. Thereafter, his treatment was picked up by Shriners Hospital in Chicago at no charge. Over the years Shriners provided Bradley with various prosthetic devices and fittings.
The plaintiffs retained the services of Dr. John Michael, a prosthetist, to render an opinion concerning Bradley’s future medical costs after reaching age eighteen. Dr. Michael predicted that his future medical bills would be approximately $900,000.