Our firm recently settled a lawsuit that arose out of a workplace injury. Our client was employed by American Industrial Contractors (AIC) and working construction at an Alabama industrial plant in 2004. AIC was hired by Eisenmann Corporation, a Canadian company, to perform certain millwork labor at the plant. Our client was instructed to help Eisenmann change out the belts on the cockpit lift station on site on September 24, 2004. While our client was working to change out the belts, the 5,400 pound cockpit lift station fell on him and he suffered very serious injuries. He sustained a closed head injury, a concussion, scalp lacerations, blunt chest injuries, multiple rib fractures, pulmonary contusions, a left tibia/fibula fracture, and serious spinal burst fractures which resulted in a four-level fusion surgery. He had permanent rods inserted in his left leg. He also developed pneumonia and was hospitalized for 15 days. We filed suit on his behalf in an Alabama state court. The case was removed by Defendants to federal court.
At the time of settlement, our client’s medical bills were substantial. His workers’ compensation carrier, Travelers Insurance, asserted a subrogation claim of $117,623.53 for medical benefits and $69,680.63 for indemnity benefits paid. According to our economist, our client’s lost earnings at present value were $779,444. His special damages amounted to over one million dollars, again at present value, at the time of the settlement. He also suffered severe physical pain and emotional distress because of his injuries.
Plaintiff retained the following experts in the case: Joseph Stabler, an elevator and escalator consultant; and Dr. William Hardy, Jr., an economist. Eisenmann was in charge of this work project and was responsible for ensuring that all equipment was locked out in the proper position. That company was also responsible for supervising all of the employees on site, including our client, at the time this incident occurred. The Eisenmann foreman told our client and his co-worker that the locking devices were engaged. This was confirmed by our client’s co-workers on the project.
Both Defendants failed to identify and guard against the dangerous hazards that were present on the day when the Plaintiff was injured. The Defendants knew that if the equipment or safety locking devices were not functioning properly or were not in the proper position that an employee could be seriously injured when replacing the belts on this lift. The case was mediated and settled without the necessity of a trial. The case was handled by Julia Beasley for our firm and she did a very good job for our client. The amount of the settlement is confidential.
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