GWC Partners Joseph P. Sorce and Louis A. Cairo and attorney Lawrence J. Amato have obtained the full insurance policy limits of $6 million for a machine operator injured by hazardous manufacturing equipment.
Hand Pulled into Unguarded Machinery
GWC’s client was a 56-year-old machine operator at a plant that produced roofing materials in Kankakee, IL. As part of his duties, he was required to operate a roll winder system to create a roofing and waterproofing membrane product. The system featured several components, including rubber rollers that rotated an “in-running nip point.” This nip point was not equipped with any type of machine-guarding equipment or protective devices.
In December 2018, representatives for the system’s manufacturer went to the plant in response to production delays caused by adhesive gravel and asphalt clumping on the machine’s rubber rollers. When the client was ordered to remove these clumps while the machine was in full operation, the unguarded in-running nip point pulled his left hand in between the rollers.
Machine Operator Suffers Extreme Injuries
As a result of this incident, the machine operator suffered a crushed left hand with degloving from the wrist to the fingers, tears of the collateral and triquetrial ligaments, laceration and fraying of the tendons, and significant nerve damage.
He underwent a total of eight surgeries to resolve his extreme injuries, including skin grafts, ligament reconstruction, and a fusion.
GWC Establishes Unreasonably Dangerous Nature of the Machinery, as well as Manufacturer Negligence
The machine operator retained GWC Injury Lawyers as his personal injury attorneys. GWC filed suit against the manufacturer of the roll winder system, alleging Strict Product Liability and Negligence.
Attorneys Sorce, Cairo, and Amato argued that the Defendant sold an unreasonably dangerous product that disregarded multiple federal regulations and industry standards, as well as its own contract with the client’s employer.
The machine lacked pinch point protection at the nip roller on the winder in violation of guidelines from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
GWC showed that not only was the roller machine designed in a manner that caused it to be unreasonably dangerous to a machine operator, the Defendant was well aware of its dangerous propensities yet put the machine into the stream of commerce nonetheless. Through evidence uncovered during document discovery and sworn depositions with key personnel, the firm also established that the Defendant had received multiple complaints from the client and his coworkers prior to the incident at issue.
“Even one of the Defendant’s own employees admitted that he brought the system’s various safety concerns to the direct attention of the project manager for the Defendant manufacturer prior to the incident,” said Mr. Amato.
Nevertheless, the Defendant did not perform a risk hazard analysis on the system, nor did it make any effort to eliminate, guard against or provide adequate warnings/instructions relative to the dangerous propensities of the machine so as to reduce the risk of injury to the end user.
“The system was an accident waiting to happen, but the Defendant did nothing about it,” Mr. Sorce said. “Unfortunately, our client was the one who paid the price.”
Defendant Tenders Full Policy Limits
Based upon the strength of GWC’s arguments, the Defendant agreed to tender its full insurance policy limits of $6 million prior to trial. Additionally, GWC secured a partial waiver of the workers’ compensation lien, representing a significant savings to the firm’s client in the amount of $571,840.16.
“Our client suffered life-changing injuries because of the Defendant’s negligence,” said Mr. Cairo. “He was very happy that we were able to get him the maximum amount of money available for his case.”
Helping Clients Injured by Dangerous Machinery
If you have been seriously injured by dangerous machinery or defective products, you may find it challenging to obtain fair compensation, particularly in the face of strong opposition from negligent manufacturers seeking to limit their financial exposure.
To maximize your claim value, whether by settlement or trial, contact the dedicated personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2.5 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier personal injury and workers’ compensation law firms in Illinois. At GWC, our trial lawyers have the experience, determination, resources, and reputation you need to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.<< BACK TO BLOG POSTS