In late June, 22-year-old Matt Imhof, a minor league pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, lost his right eye when a resistance band he was training with tore loose from a wall and its metal base was hurled into the player’s face. Imhof suffered a fractured nose, two fractured orbital bones, and complete loss of vision in the freak accident. After reconstructive surgery failed to yield favorable results, doctors at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami removed the eye and replaced it with a prosthetic.
Imhof posted a message to fans on Instagram, thanking them for their support and promising to persevere and succeed. Over three minor league seasons, the former second-round draft pick compiled a 13-10 record with a 3.69 ERA. However, Imhof’s prospects for a baseball career post-accident are questionable.
People with sight in only one eye face significant disadvantages in activities that require depth perception and peripheral vision. The lack of depth perception can also affect a person’s balance. Monocular individuals may also frequently bump into objects because they are either outside their field of vision or they cannot properly perceive how far away the objects are. These individuals also have trouble with tasks that require fine eye-hand coordination. Having sight in one eye would not necessarily preclude Imhof from playing baseball, but it is doubtful he could ever compete at the major league level.
From a personal injury attorney’s standpoint, Mr. Imhof’s case is both urgent and challenging. This promising young man is an innocent victim of someone’s negligence, according to the facts made public. A metal anchor holding a resistance band down should not, under any circumstances, break loose. Either the manufacturer of the device or the contractor who installed it must be held liable for this foreseeable harm. The Philadelphia Phillies organization might also be liable if they provided this equipment for Imhof to use or arranged for him to train at their facility.
Mr. Imhof sustained obvious injuries, but what amount of money might be fair compensation? Losing his eye impacts his quality of life as well as his career. Lifetime earnings for a professional baseball pitcher run the gamut: they can be astronomical, as in $32.8 million per year for MLB’s highest-paid pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, or fall below minimum wage, for most minor league ballplayers. In a sport where only one in six draft picks ever plays in a major league game, how much in future economic losses might Mr. Imhof have suffered if his professional baseball career is now over? The pitcher’s attorney has a duty to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible under the facts of the case.
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