Attorneys representing Steven Domalewski, a teenager from New Jersey who suffered extensive brain damage after being hit by a line drive during a youth baseball game in 2006, have officially recovered a $14.5 million settlement for the boy, according to a news report from ESPN. His family had filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the bat, Little League Baseball and a sporting goods retailer.
Seattle brain injury attorney Greg Colburn of the Davis Law Group, who played baseball at the University of Washington and was selected by the Dodgers in the 2002 MLB draft, says there are multiple factors that contribute to the complexity of this case.
“In Steven Domalewski’s case, it’s important to remember that he was pitching and in Little League, where the pitching rubber is located just forty-six feet from home plate,” Colburn says. “A ball that exits a bat at only 60 mph is traveling 88 feet per second, which is plenty of velocity to cause serious personal injury to youth baseball players.”
Although Domalewski was participating in a Police Athletic League (PAL) baseball game, Little League was the target of the lawsuit because that group certifies that certain aluminum bats are safe enough to be used in games by children, the ESPN report says. Colburn says that likely also played a significant role in the outcome of the lawsuit.
“When Little League Certifies a bat, it is essentially telling parents and players that the bat will perform within expected standards and is safe for ordinary use,” Colburn added. “We know that aluminum bats were not safe because the exit speed of the ball from the bat was so fast that 10, 11 and 12-year-olds could not protect themselves from a baseball flying toward them at an extremely high rate of speed.”
ESPN says that Domalewski, who was 12-years-old at the time, was pitching in a PAL game in June 2006 when a batted ball struck him in the chest, sending the boy into cardiac arrest. His brain was without oxygen for at least 15 minutes, leaving the boy with long-term brain damage.
In the early 1990s, Little League Baseball and major baseball bat manufacturers had agreed to begin limiting the performance of metal bats to be equivalent of wooden bats. According to the Little League website, there were 145 injuries to pitchers during competitions in the year before that agreement had been reached, and the rate fell to between 20 and 30 annually since the changes were made.
As a public service to victims of child injuries, the Davis Law Group is offering Christopher M. Davis’s book, “Little Kids, Big Accidents: What Every Parent Should Know About Children & Accidents” for free to residents of Washington State. The 103-page book includes statistical information about child injuries, as well as the legal process and benefits of hiring an attorney for your case. Anyone interested in ordering a copy can find the entire Washington Accident Books series at http://www.washingtonaccidentbooks.com.
About the Davis Law Group
Christopher M. Davis, founder of the Davis Law Group, has been a licensed attorney in the state of Washington since 1993. He has tried dozens of personal injury cases to verdict and has successfully handled and resolved hundreds of accident claims. He has been a Washington Super Lawyer' for seven years in a row for his expertise and success in litigating personal injury claims. You can learn more about the firm by visiting: http://www.DavisLawGroupSeattle.com.