Quarry Worker’s Death Leads to $6.5M Settlement in Wrongful Death Action Against Equipment Manufacturer and Employer
Any time an accident claims the life of a loved one, it is a tragic loss. When that loss happens because someone else acted improperly or wrongfully failed to act, the pain can be that much worse. In those situations, though, the law does allow your family to seek compensation and hold accountable those whose misconduct led to the tragedy. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can help you in these times. While you focus on your personal matters, your attorney can be there to take care of your legal matters and protect your rights.
An example of such a loss was the case of a worker named Wesley. The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader recently reported on Wesley’s death at a rock quarry in Susquehanna County and the settlement that came from it. One day in December 2011, the rock crusher that Wesley was operating became jammed. When Wesley climbed outside a protective railing and over the mouth of the crusher in an attempt to clear the jam, he fell into the machinery and was killed.
In a case like Wesley’s, the facts can seem daunting. Should the family sue the employer, the manufacturer of the crusher, or others for Wesley’s death? Did the fact that Wesley climbed outside the protective railing and over the mouth of the crusher mean the family could not prevail? All of these questions involve intricate analysis and decision-making with which a knowledgeable attorney can provide extensive help.
Wesley’s family chose to sue several entities, including the employer and the manufacturer of the crusher, in federal court. In a case like this, the evidence that you and your legal team can amass will often make the difference between success and failure. Proof that the deceased worker was following directions when he died can often be very persuasive. Additionally, reports from governmental agencies critical of the employer’s operations may also carry significant weight.
Wesley’s family and their legal team were able to put together considerable proof to strengthen their case. They had a report from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, which stated that the workplace had multiple shortcomings regarding safety. The agency concluded that the employer didn’t have proper procedures in place for dealing with crusher maintenance issues, and Wesley, who had only been on the job a short time, had not received the proper training, according to court documents.
The family also had the testimony of Mark, one of Wesley’s co-workers. Mark asserted that the employer instructed workers to climb over the mouth of the crusher in order to clear it. (Wesley was over the mouth of the crusher when he fell in.) Mark also stated that the employer also told workers to say that they did not see how Wesley fell, according to the Times Leader.
All of this evidence was enough to persuade the defendants to settle the case before trial. The quarry settled for $4 million, while the equipment manufacturer agreed to pay an additional $6.5 million.
If you’ve been hurt, or a loved one was killed, due to someone else’s improper conduct or failure to act, reach out to the diligent Pennsylvania wrongful death attorneys at Needle Law Firm. We have been providing knowledgeable representation and personalized attention to our clients for many years and are here to discuss your matter with you.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (570) 344-1266.