Power Plant Worker Awarded $1.88 Million
Kenya Harvey, a subcontractor doing work for the Florida Power & Light Co., won a $1.88 million verdict in a lawsuit filed after a 70 lb piece of equipment fell on top of him. The company was found to be negligent in the causing of Harvey’s injuries.
According to the lawsuit, the equipment fell from spring-loaded hinges causing injuries to his back and neck. The lawsuit named a second company for unsafely designing the plant but the company was cleared of any wrongdoing in the lawsuit.
The 37-year-old Harvey was working for a contractor who was employed by the power plant. In cases where a third party is responsible for causing your injuries on the job, it no longer becomes a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation only covers employees who are injured on the job when their own negligence or the company’s negligence is to blame. As a no-fault system, it doesn’t matter who is to blame. The claim is filed against the company’s insurance policy and it covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, but not pain and suffering or other “non-economic” damages.
When the injury is found to be the negligence of a third-party (ie: not yourself or your employer) a suit can be filed against that third party for negligence related to the injury. Employers otherwise have immunity against lawsuits as a tradeoff for the no-fault workers’ compensation system.
Harvey Suffered Extensive Injuries
As a result of the work-related accident, Harvey suffered injuries that required a chain of successive surgeries over the course of three years totaling $180,000. It is unclear whether or not Harvey suffered permanent injuries as a result of the accident but his lost wages across that period of time would have also been substantial. Harvey likely endured a protracted period of reduced mobility, loss of the ability to enjoy life, and pain and suffering.
The “We Don’t Know” Defense
In a case like this, most of the facts are reasonably clear. A piece of equipment fell onto a man. However, one viable strategy is to simply play dumb and contest the facts. In this case, Florida Power & Light Co. claimed they “didn’t know” what piece of equipment fell onto Harvey and it was, therefore, impossible to establish whether or not they were negligent.
In a case like this, it is important that the plaintiff establish that there was some kind of negligence and that negligence was the proximate or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Meanwhile, a fellow employee had taken a photo of the offending equipment directly after Harvey had been injured. In this case, the facts were easy to establish but the company thought they could save money by rolling the dice in front of a jury. In this case, it backfired.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today
If it’s raining 70 lb devices onto you, then you can recover damages related to the dangerous condition that was allowed to exist in the first place. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb P.A. to set up a free consultation today.