Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

A former Pennsylvania road worker who was paralyzed by a drunk driver as he directed traffic has reached a workers’ compensation settlement agreement for $3 million. This is believed to be one of the largest settlements in the U.S. In getting to this point, he has also gone through a Dram Shop Act lawsuit and a bad faith insurance claim.

Joseph Tuski was directing traffic on January 17, 2001 in Warminster, Pennsylvania. At about 10:30 a.m., a car driven by Michael Petaccio struck him. Petaccio reportedly sped around a line of cars Tuski had stopped, hitting Tuski and throwing him about sixty feet. The accident rendered Tuski a quadriplegic, and he must spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair with 24-hour care. Petaccio had reportedly just left the Ivyland Cafe, a bar in Warminster owned by Petaccio’s family where Petaccio was the manager. Petaccio pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and aggravated assault later that year, and he was sentenced to three years in prison but received work release.

Tuski first filed suit against Petaccio and the Ivyland Cafe, claiming negligence and Dram Shop Act liability. Dram Shop Acts hold businesses who serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals liable for damages subsequently caused due to that person’s intoxication. Tuski presented evidence that, at the time, he had $1.6 million in medical bills and future medical expenses of at least 12 million. A Philadelphia jury awarded Tuski an enormous but largely symbolic verdict in 2004 totalling $75.6 million in damages. This included $50.6 million in compensatory and $25 million in punitive damages, but neither defendant had the ability to pay such an amount. Petaccio only had $100,000 in liability insurance coverage, while The Ivyland Cafe had coverage of $1 million.

After the verdict, the bar lost its appeal, although a judge cut the jury’s award in half. The bar’s insurer then reportedly refused to pay the policy limits of the award. Tuski sued the insurance company for bad faith refusal to pay a claim. Although a plaintiff in an injury case has no direct relationship with a defendant’s insurer, since the insurance company’s obligation to pay is based on a contractual relationship with the defendant, many states allow a plaintiff to pursue an insurer for payment of a specific award. In this case, the bar assigned its rights under its insurance contract to Tuski. In June 2007, Tuski reached a settlement with the insurance company for $20 million.

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Two recent worksite accidents on November 2, 2011 resulted in serious burn injuries to a welder in one instance and a laundry worker in the other. At a granite quarry operated by Vulcan Materials in Kennesaw, Georgia, a welder was shocked by a high-voltage power line, receiving critical, but not life-threatening, burns. He was using a bucket truck to lift materials when the truck boom made contact with a 4,160-volt power line. Another man was apparently trapped on the crane during the incident, but was not injured. The burn victim was taken to an Augusta hospital’s burn center for treatment. The company that operates the power lines, along with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, is reportedly investigating the incident.

A laundry worker at a commercial laundry plant near Rome in northwest Georgia was severely burned in a steam pipe explosion. A pipe allegedly ruptured in the early evening, with sufficient force to blow out a wall nearby. Only two employees and one contractor were present in the plant at the time, according to news reports, and only one injury was reported. The Rome Fire Department and Floyd County EMS responded to the incident, and the Rome Fire Marshal is reportedly conducting an investigation.

Fortunately, no one was killed in either incident. Cases such as these demonstrate the risks present at construction and industrial worksites and the difficulty in determining liability for individual injuries. The workers’ compensation system provides a mechanism for workers injured on the job to recover damages from their employers. The system has many legal restrictions, and the process of making and recovering on a claim can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Workers’ compensation is also generally only available in situations where a worker can make a claim directly against an employer. Worksites often involve multiple contractors ands employers with a tangled web of relationships.

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A jury has awarded $2.4 million to the family of Daniel Edwards for his Maryland wrongful death. Edwards died from mesothelioma in 2008.

His families said that he developed mesothelioma lung cancer from moving bags of asbestos for six years during the 60’s and 70’s while employed with National Gypsum. They contend that Union Carbide supplied and mined the asbestos and did not warn workers about the risks associated with exposure to asbestos even though they allegedly knew about the link between mesothelioma and asbestos two years before Edwards started working at the product manufacturer. Union Carbide’s lawyers have argued that it was National Gypsum’s job to warn its employees about the dangers of asbestos exposure.

However, a Baltimore City jury found that it was Union Carbide who was responsible for Edwards’ work-related disease. Because of the state’s cap on damages, the Maryland wrongful death award was lowered to $2.2 million.

At John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Thursday morning, a gunman who became distraught about his mother’s medical care shot and injured a doctor before turning the gun on his mom and himself. Paul Warren Pardus the alleged shooter, and his mother Jean did not survive their injuries.

According to police, Pardus, 50, shot orthopedic physician David Cohen in his upper abdomen and chest. Cohen, who specializes in scoliosis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis, had to undergo surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

A little over two hours after Cohen was shot, a SWAT team determined that Pardus, who was in his mother’s hospital room, had fallen to the ground. When they entered the room, they saw that both he and his mom were dead from gunshot wounds to the head.

A jury in Baltimore County is ordering Keibler-Thompson Co. to pay a Maryland welder over $3 million for a crushed leg injury he sustained at work in 1999. James Morris, 58, was seriously injured on his first day working as a welder at the Beth Steel Sparrows Point plant. Morris had been hired by a general contractor to reline a blast furnace.

A Bethlehem Steel dump truck, involved in Keibler’s cleaning project, rolled down an incline, crushing Morris’s leg. The welder was hospitalized for 1 month. He has not been able to perform his job since then.

Morris’s personal injury lawyer described how the truck’s wheels did not have chocks to keep it from rolling back. While the Keibler-Thompson Co.’s attorney argued that the defendant was only liable for the routine cleaning project and that the contractor that hired both the cleaning company and Morris should be held liable for the catastrophic accident, the jury disagreed.

The Baltimore County jury awarded Morris over $2.2 million in economic damages and $952,000 in non-economic damages, which Maryland will cap at $560,000.

Bethlehem Steel was also a defendant in the personal injury lawsuit until it filed for bankruptcy.

Work-related accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, and many injured workers are unable to ever return to their jobs.

Although Maryland’s worker’s compensation law prevents injured workers and their families from suing an employer, there may be a third party that is also responsible for your injury accident.

Our Maryland and Washington D.C. catastrophic injury attorneys have helped many injured workers obtain recovery from liable third parties. Often, workers’ compensation will not be enough to cover all medical costs and economic losses. Filing a third-party lawsuit can help you recover additional compensation.

Welder whose leg was crushed at Beth Steel plant wins $3M, The Daily Record, April 29, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission

Keibler-Thompson Co.

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The body of Wayne Kerr, a Maryland construction foreman employed by Centerline Construction Co., was found on Thursday at the bottom of a shaft in the Constellation Energy Group Headquarters in Baltimore.

Kerr, 55, was last seen by coworkers on Wednesday and did not return home from work. His wife called Centerline Construction yesterday morning to see if anyone had seen him.

Coworkers noticed his truck parked near the worksite. They discovered his body by paging his cell phone and listening for its beeps.

Baltimore homicide detectives and the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health are investigating the incident for the cause of death.

Falls are the number one cause of construction worker-related fatalities.

Other common causes of construction injuries and deaths:

• Scaffolding accidents
• Electric shock
• Explosions
• Fires
• Compressed gases accidents
• Welding accidents
• Machinery accidents
• Trench collapses
• Motor vehicle-related injuries
• Being hit by falling or heavy equipment or materials

Although construction workers (and their families) cannot sue their employers for work-related injuries, they are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits for injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, disability, or the death.

If a third-party that is not the employer was responsible for causing the construction accident, the injured party may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Our Maryland and Washington D.C. personal injury law firm would be happy to discuss your case with you.

Missing construction foreman found dead near Inner Harbor, Baltimore Sun, February 15, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health

Constellation Energy Group Headquarters

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The man who survived the force of gravity when he fell 47 stories while getting ready to wash the windows of a Manhattan building plans to file a personal injury lawsuit against the company that installed the scaffolding that broke, as well as the skyscraper’s management company.

37-year-old window washer Alcides Moreno says it just wasn’t his time to die after he dropped more than 500 feet to land on the ground and lived to tell his tale.

The catastrophic work accident occurred on December 7 while Alcides and his brother Edgar were cleaning windows on the Upper East Side. Edgar died of his injuries.

Doctors say the fact that Alcides even survived is a miracle. He has already undergone nine surgeries and is starting to talk. More surgeries are expected.

Alcides arrived in the ER at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, abdominal injuries, chest injuries, and fractures to his legs, ribs, and one of his arms. He received 19 blood plasma units 24 units of blood. Alcides is expected to make a slow but substantial recovery.

According to the Department of Buildings, the scaffolding the two men were standing on fell because the cables connecting it to the roof snapped. The two brothers had previously voiced concerns about the safety conditions at the building, located on E. 66th St.

Solow Management Corp is the building’s management company and Trachtel Group is the company that installed the scaffolding. The Moreno brothers worked for City Wide Window Cleaning.

If you are seriously injury in a work accident anywhere in Maryland or Washington D.C., workers’ compensation guarantees you benefits to pay for medical expenses. However, this does not mean that you should not speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you are receiving the maximum benefits for your injuries.

Although you cannot sue your employer for personal injury, there may be other parties that can be held liable for your injuries.

Family, NYC hospital officials describe window washer’s ‘miracle’ recovery, Newsday, January 3, 2008
Hurt window washer will sue, NY DailyNews, January 2, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Solow Management Corporation, NY Bites

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A worker was pulled from the rubble of a building basement on Tuesday after a 10-foot-masonry wall collapsed on him. According to Fire Division Chief Jeffrey Segal, the worker sustained injuries but they were not serious.

The building where the worker was found is located at 207 E. Redwood St. and is undergoing major renovations.

Because of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation law, construction workers and other employees injured on the job cannot sue their employer if they are injured in an accident.

Workers’ compensation guarantees employees injury benefits even if the employee was the one at fault in causing the accident. However, just because you file a claim with your company’s insurer does not mean that your claim won’t be denied or the insurer may find a reason for why you should not receive the full scope of benefits that you believe you are entitled to.

An experienced Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer can protect your rights and ensure that you are given the compensation that you are eligible for.

A few important facts to know about Maryland Workers’ Compensation Law:

• For workers’ compensation to cover your injury, your injury must have occurred while you were doing your job.

• In order to avail of workers’ compensation from an employer, you must be an employee of that employer.

• Your injury must have been sustained in a work-related accident.

• If you sustained an occupational disease while at work—even though there was no accident—you are eligible to receive benefits under workers’ compensation.

Man hurt after wall collapses downtown, Baltimore Sun, November 6, 2007

Maryland Workers’ Compensation Law

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Form Center, Workers Compensation

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Investigators in Barton, Maryland, are trying to determine the cause of the wall collapse that led to the death of two miners on Michael Road. Dale Jones, 51, and Mike Wilt, 38, were both killed on the site last week.

According to Amy Louviere, Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman, the team will look at the accident site, interview mining personnel, try to determine potential causes for the collapse, and look to see whether the conditions at the site where in compliance with federal health and safety standards.

Both Jones and Wilt had been operating heavy equipment at the strip mine when a 125-feet high wall collapsed. The two miners were buried in thousands of tons of earthen materials as a result. The victims were discovered inside their equipment after a three-day intensive search. Autopsies took place at the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office and the two men are believed to have died instantly.

When someone is injured or killed on the job because of negligence, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ Compensation laws are there to make sure that employees who are injured on the job are given a specific amount of compensation. They also allow dependents of workers that are killed on the job to receive benefits. Certain laws can protect employers and fellow workers by limiting the amount of liability that can be recovered.

Although workers compensation laws exist to help injured workers and dependents receive their financial recovery, an experienced attorney can help you make sure that you achieve the maximum recovery possible for your injury or loss.

If you are injured on the job or if you have lost someone because of a work-related injury, it is important that you speak to an attorney first before agreeing on a compensation amount with representatives of the company held liable for the injury or their insurance company.

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According to Maryland State Police, a worker in Pittsville, Maryland was injured last week after he fell to the ground from a conveyer belt that was 8.5 feet up in the air.

The worker, Stanford McKenzie, 53, is an employee of Maryland Coastal Supply Company. McKenzie was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been called upon to investigate the accident.

In Maryland, many workers who have been injured on the job because of their job are usually covered by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers’ compensation provides temporary partial disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and permanent total disability benefits. Workers’ compensation provides injured workers with permanent disability awards, pays for medical bills, and compensates them for lost wages.

Common injuries that can occur on the job:

• Back injuries
• Finger and hand injuries
• Wrist injuries
• Industrial accidents
• Repetitive stress
• Truck accidents
• Exposure to toxic substances
• Occupational illness
• Neck injuries
• Head injuries

If you have been injured at work, it is important that you report the accident and injury right away. You should also speak with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling workers’ compensation cases. An experienced lawyer can help you obtain the maximum recovery for your claim. If your employer is contesting your claim, an attorney can also represent you and protect your rights. By availing of workers’ compensation, you are not allowed to sue your employer for personal injury. You can, however, still obtain the recovery that you deserve for your pain and suffering or loss.

If you are someone who has lost a loved one due to a work-related accident, you also may be entitled to compensation under the workers’ compensation laws in your state.

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