Whenever someone is at work there is always a chance that, no matter what kind of work they are involved in, they may become injured. When you add large, heavy objects and motor vehicles into the equation, that risk increases. While workers’ compensation does exist and can take some of the financial burden off of an injured worker, the fact is that it rarely covers all losses, which is what one hospital employee found out the hard way.
Disaster By The Dumpsters
As part of his daily housekeeping duties, the plaintiff had taken a load of trash out to the loading dock of the hospital where the dumpsters are located. He was in the process of throwing several bags of trash into the containers and was standing with one foot on the dock with the other on the dumpster when suddenly, it moved.
It turned out that the dumpster had only just been delivered and was in fact still attached to the truck. The driver, unaware of the man behind him, had no idea that when he pulled forward, that the plaintiff had fallen to the ground. The driver then backed up again, causing the dumpster to hit and crush the plaintiff’s left knee.
The accident caused a fracture of the left distal femur. Despite immediate surgical fixation and extensive physical therapy, there was a nonunion on the bone. He required an additional revision surgery and bone graft. Not long after, he developed secondary arthritis in the knee which was so severe that a total knee replacement was the best option. His medical expenses were substantial.
Due to his losses, the plaintiff decided to file a lawsuit against the driver of the truck, the company the driver worked for, and a third party who owned the truck. In his complaint, he alleged that the driver was negligent because he failed to look at the area in order to determine if anyone was in the vicinity before moving. The companies he alleged, were also responsible under respondeat superior, which means that they are responsible for the actions of their employees.
As many cases do, all parties agreed to settle before trial for the defendant’s insurance policy limit of $1 million.
Do Most Cases Really Settle Before Trial?
Yes, the majority of cases don’t go to trial, however, clients shouldn’t be concerned if a trial is necessary. Our firm begins each case under the assumption that we will need to prove our case in court before a judge and jury, which means that we will fully investigate every possible part of the accident and the losses sustained by the victim. We also make sure that our client is fully communicated with during the entire process and that they too are prepared for their experience.
How Do I Know If An Offer To Settle Is Worthwhile?
When you work with an attorney, part of their job is analyzing the offer and counseling you as to whether or not it is a good option. In most cases, it takes careful negotiation and often the first offer is not the final offer.
Doesn’t Workers Compensation Cover Work-Related Accidents?
Yes, it does, and in this case, workers’ compensation did cover some of the costs of his medical expenses. However, this form of insurance almost never allows a victim to recover full compensation for all of their losses. Through a lawsuit against the negligent third-party, plaintiffs are able to recover:
- past medical expenses that were not covered and estimated future medical expenses
- the full amount of lost income, also past and expected future
- compensation for their physical pain and suffering
- compensation for the emotional trauma they have gone through because of the accident and resulting injuries.
It is normal to have multiple claims at the same time. In fact, in addition to workers’ compensation and a personal injury lawsuit, there may be other forms of compensation available. Contact us today to learn more.