Settlement with oil refinery in death of a worker, believed to be the largest-ever reported settlement nationally for a single-victim employee fatality. (Motiva)
Accidents can and do happen on the job. Each year, thousands of workers are seriously hurt and killed in mishaps at mines, factories, agricultural operations, construction sites and at various other workplaces.
Among the most common causes of serious work injuries are accidents involving falling objects, workers falling from elevated equipment or structures, highway accidents and those involving cars, trucks, forklifts, factory machinery and other devices. Other causes include electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning and trench cave-ins.
More than three million occupational injuries each year are serious enough to require hospital treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In one year alone, 2004, the agency recorded 5,703 deaths attributable to work injuries.
Kline & Specter, P.C., attorneys have represented clients who suffered severe work injuries in Philadelphia and thorughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. If you or someone you know suffered a severe injury or death in a work-related accident, you may want to contact a workplace injury lawyer for a free evaluation of your case.
The firm recently filed suit against the owners of a Camden, N.J., chocolate plant where a worker died after falling from a raised platform into a churning vat of scalding chocolate. The lawsuit was announced a day after federal authorities said they fined the plant $39,000 for safety violations. (See the Smith Case)
Recently, in 2013, Kline & Specter obtained one of the largest verdicts for an undocumented worker in obtaining a $5 million award for a man crushed to death by a collapsing excavation site. (Arana)
Workplace injuries range from broken limbs to those involving more severe brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, even death. Among Kline & Specter's legal victories for working men and women are several with spectacular settlements or jury verdicts. They are:
- A lawsuit in which the firm won a $36.4 million settlement for a worker killed in an explosion at a Delaware oil refinery (see Davis/Motiva) The settlement, announced in September 2003, is considered the largest for a single-victim fatality ever reported in the United States.
- Two months later, in a case that spanned seven years and several appeals, an Allegheny County jury handed down a verdict of nearly $7.9 million for a Pittsburgh worker seriously injured in a fall from a forklift. (Drum)
- On Jan. 21, 2004, a jury in Luzerne County handed down a $19.1 million verdict for a woman who was struck and seriously injured by a van as she worked on a roadside construction job. (McManamon).
- In September 2008, Tom Kline won a $5.5 million jury verdict for the family of an 18-year-old man who was fatally shot while working as a parking lot attendant at Hahnemann University Hospital. The hospital had failed to improve safety and security after an armed robbery at the same booth only 12 days earlier. (Palmer)
In 2007, the firm won an $8 million settlement for a worker killed when he fell into a high-temperature pulping pit at a Manayunk paper mill. The case involved a lengthy dispute over which corporations were responsible. (Green.)
The firm also won two major cases for ironworkers. In November 2006, a jury awarded $3 million to a Philadelphia ironworker who sustained neck and shoulder injuries in a fall down a stairwell after temporary lighting failed at a construction site. (See McCormick 1 | 2) In December 2006, Kline & Specter negotiated a $1.7 million settlement for a Lehigh County ironworker severely injured in a fall at a cold storage facility. (Broadbent.)
In an earlier case, the family of a man crushed to death in a crane accident settled a suit against the manufacturer, seller and installer of the crane's control system. The settlement, reached in November 2002, was for $4.4 million. (Yankosky).
A workplace injury case was among one of Kline & Specter’s first victories as the firm secured settlements totaling $1.25 million in 1995 for Demetrius Atwood, a Philadelphia hotel employee injured by a malfunctioning elevator.
Click here to contact a work injury lawyer for a free evaluation of your case.
Click here to see Tom Kline interviewed about "cancer clusters" on Good Day Philadelphia on Fox TV, 3/8/07
- A jury has awarded a railroad worker more than $1 million after the railway disciplined him for reporting a workplace injury. The jury also awarded $50,000 for lost earnings, pain, suffering and disfigurement. The man was fired when he reported that a jack failed and a rail tie fell on his foot, breaking a big toe. The railway denied responsibility. An OSHA investigation showed the man had only been trained on the manual track jack for "couple of minutes," and a foreman reported that the work site was insufficiently lit. (Full story)
- Caterpillar settles for more than $9 million a paralyzed worker’s lawsuit. The construction worker was injured when an earth mover suddenly began bouncing up and down, slamming him against the machine's frame. He suffered a punctured lung and is now paralyzed from the waist down. A jury had awarded the worker $56.3 million, an amount that was cut by more than half because of limits on punitive damages. The case was on appeal when Caterpillar settled. (Full story)
- Workplace injuries may follow Daylight Saving Time, given the potential for lost sleep, according to a new study. Data taken from 1983 to 2006 shows that on Mondays after the time switch there was an average of 3.6 more injuries compared to other days. The study also showed that switching back from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time and gaining an hour didn't affect injury frequency or severity (Full story)
- Three illegal immigrants injured in construction accidents in New York were awarded settlements totaling $3.85 million in the past two weeks, lawyers said on Wednesday.
Lawyers representing the three men said that the settlements demonstrated that illegal workers should not be afraid to sue their employers if they are hurt on the job. (Full Story)
- A man is awarded $1.9 million for a workplace injury. He was painting a bridge when he tripped on a chain being used as a safety-mandated guardrail and fell over the side, crushing his foot, ankle and heel. An infection settled into his heel, and he has endured more than a dozen surgeries that sliced away at his heel bone. The man can no longer stand on his feet for more than an hour at a time, and he has been confined to light duty. (Full story)
- A Tennessee jury returns a $3.8 million judgment against a contracting firm following a steelworker’s construction injury. The man was working on the top level of a hotel that was under construction by standing on a platform being supported by a temporary beam. An employee of the contracting firm removed the support beam and the steelworker fell 26 feet onto concrete, crushing his pelvis, knee and face. The man suffers from permanent, painful injuries. (Full story)