Crush Injury was Foreseeable – $1 Million

Type of Case – Massachusetts Workers Compensation Accident
Settlement – $1,000,000.00

History

Our client worked as a maintenance person for a large Massachusetts defense contractor in one of its manufacturing plants. On the day of his accident, our client was required to lower an industrial bucket filled with water and mop from one level in the building to another. In order to assist employees in moving material from one level to another, the employer had installed a scissors lift. A scissors lift is a flat piece of steel powered by a hydraulic ram to raise and lower it. The scissors lift was designed and manufactured by a corporation other than the employer.

Our client stood next to the lift and used an on/off switch attached to a wire to operate the lift. As the lift began to descend, the bucket began to roll. In an effort to stop the bucket, our client stepped forward to brace it and placed his foot under the lift as it descended to the floor. The lift came down and crushed the plaintiff’s left foot.

As a result of the crush injury, the plaintiff suffered reflex sympathetic dystrophy. This is a very painful condition that involves the soft tissues and nerves of the foot. One suffering from this injury is caused excruciating pain when attempting to stand on the foot or weight bear. As a result of this accident, the plaintiff became permanently non-weight bearing and now either uses crutches or a wheelchair. We took the case to trial on the theory that the lift was unreasonably dangerous and defective. Specifically, we argued to the jury that the scissors lift failed to have “telltales” or any other mechanism that would easily warn a user that the bottom of the lift was approaching one’s foot. We also argued to the jury that the on/off control attached by a wire to the lift also rendered the machine unreasonably dangerous because it allowed one to stand in a zone of danger while operating the lift.

The case was fully tried and went to the jury. During jury deliberations of several hours, we settled the case for $1,000,000.00. The case is significant for the fact that it is an example of us enforcing the rights of an injured worker by getting damages for him beyond those afforded under the Massachusetts Workers Compensation law. If an employee is injured on the job, in addition to bringing a workers compensation claim, he or she may also bring a lawsuit against someone other than his/her employer if that other person caused the injury. These cases are known as “third party workers compensation” cases. The third party in this case was the manufacturer of the scissors lift. The Massachusetts Workers Compensation Law limited the plaintiff’s recovery to medical bills and a portion of his lost wages. However, by suing the manufacturer of the lift, we were able to obtain a substantial settlement for the plaintiff which included damages for loss of use of his foot and for severe emotional distress.

The Workers Compensation lawyers at our firm provide legal services to individuals, families and businesses throughout the Greater Boston region as well as all of Massachusetts.  Located in the Boston Metrowest town of Framingham, our attorneys serve adjacent communities including Ashland, Cambridge, Dedham, Dover, Hopkinton, Holliston, Lowell, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Natick, Needham, Newton, Sherborn, Sudbury, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, Middlesex County and Worcester County.