$1,150,000 – Crane Injury

Award Amount: $1,150,000

Admiralty

Welder Permanently disabled in Crane Mishap

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

August 20, 2007

Amount of Settlement: $1.15 million

Type of Action: Negligence & Tort

Injuries Alleged: multiple left arm, shoulder, back, ear and head injuries

Name of case: Withheld

Court/case#: Withheld

Tried before judge or jury: jury

Special Damages: $1.43 million to $1.94 million

Amount of Settlement: $1.15 million

Date: February 2, 2007

Demand: $1.65 million($1 million plus $650,000)

Most Helpful Expert: Curtis M. Lund, Ft. Myers, FL

Attorneys: David J. Berg and David F. Anderson, Latti & Anderson LLP, Boston (for the plaintiff)

Files third-party claims against crane-bucket owner, lessor $1.1 million settlement

On October 1, 2003, the 39-year old plaintiff welder was working on a construction site when he was hit in the left arm by a six-inch long steel pin that flew out of a grapple bucket as it was being lifted by a crane.

As a result of the accident, the welder suffered a broken left forearm, nerve damage in the left shoulder and arm, a fractured skull, a perforated right ear drum, minor hearing loss in his right ear, headaches, a back injury and some numbness in his left leg. His other injuries healed, but he was unable to regain the use of his arm.

The welder, who has not returned to work since the accident, received temporary total disability compensation benefits under the Longshore Act at the maximum rate for two years after the accident and was then placed on permanent and total disability.

Since the bucket in questions was owned and leased by separate corporations, the welder filed third-party claims against the owner and the lessor. However, the liability insurer and the workers compensation insurer were different subsidiaries of the same insurer.

The case went to trial on January 31, 2007, and all parties, including the worker’s compensation carrier, reached a global settlement of $1.15 million after three days of trial.

Liability was difficult to prove in the third party case.

First, the defendants and the employer, although separate corporations, had common ownership. All personnel who perform work for these companies were employed by the welder’s employer.

The third-party defendants claimed that they had no employees and claimed that because they had not employees the only negligence could have been by the welder’s fellow employees, barring recovery.

Second, the welder had hooked up the bucket to the care immediately before it was lifted, thus exposing him to a claim of comparative negligence.

Third, although the employer’s post-accident investigation, which came into evidence, showed that there were two separate unsafe conditions in the bucket, there was no evidence as to when those conditions occurred, who caused those conditions, or whether the defendants ever knew about those conditions.

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