An Illinois iron worker recently received a $64 million jury verdict after suffering severe injuries in a construction accident. The iron worker fell at the Dekalb construction site and suffered a variety of injuries including closed head trauma and a spinal cord injury.
The jury found that the contractors failed to provide a safe workplace at the construction site and that the steel beam manufacturer produced steel beams with tripping hazards that caused the iron worker’s fall. Specifically, the steel beams were dangerous because they had shear studs and steel angle iron that jutted out from the upper flanges of the beams.
This is an example of what is known as a “third-party” lawsuit. Typically construction accidents are covered by workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are paid for by an employer or an employer’s insurer and prevent a worker from suing the employer. Construction workers are entitled to file lawsuits against non-employer entities such as the manufacturers of dangerous construction equipment.
In this case the construction worker was able to recover additional compensation by showing that the manufacturer of the steel beams contributed to his workplace accident. The jury award included $8 million for the worker’s disfigurement, $5 million for past medical expenses and $25 million for future medical expenses.
Source: Bayer v. Panduit Corp., 2012 WL 6098507 (Ill.Cir.Ct.)