$1.7M Awarded to Worker in Alabama Construction Accident

Apr 12, 2013 - Construction Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

A jury has awarded $1.7 million to an Alabama man who incurred severe injuries as a result of a 2009 manlift accident at a steel mill.
Our Tuscaloosa construction accident lawyers understand this incident occurred in Daphne, which is in southern Alabama, not far from Mobile.

According to news reports, the incident happened the day before Halloween, while the worker was using a manlift to install an overhead crane. He was nearly 80 feet in the air. Suddenly, the wire ropes in the equipment failed. He plunged some 25 feet.

The manlift’s boom retracted, similar to what you might see with an accordion, only on a much greater scale. As the worker fell, his right femur bone snapped. His head struck the control panel and he was knocked unconscious.

The scene to which he awoke was horrific. He was 60 feet in the air. Suspended. Immobile. The pain was immense, but there was nothing he could do until rescue workers arrived and were able to get him free – nearly an hour later.

The worker, incredibly lucky to have survived, was not finished with his ordeal. In the months that followed, he required a series of major surgeries. He had to have a steel rod inserted from his hip all the way down to his knee.

He now walks with a cane, though he pushed to be able to return to work, albeit on modified duty, a few months later.

As the investigation into what happened got underway, it was revealed that three different companies may have been collectively responsible for what happened – the crane rental company, the aerial lift company and the welding firm.

To begin with, the manlift being used for the job was rated to be able to hoist a load of about 90 pounds. Yet, the company was using it to push rolling girders. These materials in some cases weigh as much as 90,000 pounds. This was despite the fact that the safety manual for the device EXPRESSLY prohibited such action.

What’s more, the crane’s manufacturing schedule called for maintenance inspections either every 150 engineer hours or every three months. However, the crane rental company wasn’t in compliance. A one-time mechanic for that firm told the court that administrators at the company ordered those inspections no to take place, so they wouldn’t have to pay the cost for overtime.

However, regular inspections would have turned up the damage to the lift that could have prevented all of this from happening in the first place. By taking shortcuts, these firms were hoping to save time and money. In the process, safety was compromised and this worker was nearly killed.

Ultimately, a jury saw fit to hold the negligent parties responsible. The three firms were collectively ordered to pay $1 million, while the crane company will have to pay another $700,000 in punitive damages.

Additional Resources:

Daphne man awarded $1.7 million in damages from ThyssenKrupp construction accident, April 5, 2013, By Brenden Kirby, Al.com

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