Proven Results

Lift Carrying Worker Topples Over, Resulting in Multiple Injuries

A construction worker fell eighteen feet from an aerial lift on the job site after a second lift became entangled in an extension cord and pulled his lift over.

Settlement Amount: $13,000,000

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Our client, a fifty-four year old employee on a construction site, was drilling holes overhead while standing in an aerial lift at a height of eighteen feet, using a drill connected to ground power by an extension cord.

A second lift, operated by an unidentified contractor, was driven by our client’s elevated lift and its wheels became entangled in the extension cord of our client’s drill, toppling the lift our client was standing on. He sustained multiple serious injuries, the most severe of which were fractures to his lower right leg.

Sheff & Cook filed suit for negligence against the general contractor, the subcontractor who rented the offending lift, a subcontractor working in the vicinity believed to have operated the offending lift, and the property owner. The identity of the operator of the second lift at the time of the accident was not able to be verified.

We alleged that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy of silence to hide evidence and protect the wrongdoer. We maintained that the general contractor performed a sham investigation that put the blame on our client alone and failed to make a good-faith effort to investigate the offending lift’s operator.

We also alleged the defendants failed to adequately supervise and monitor lift traffic, in violation of OSHA code, internal safety policies, and industrial standards.

The defendants expressly denied any and all liability and contended that our client was comparatively negligent based on eyewitness testimony that the extension cord was incorrectly tied around the lift, and that our client was improperly moving the lift at height prior to the accident. The defense also noted that the extension cord should have been plugged into the lift itself rather than ground power. They further contested liability by virtue of OSHA finding no wrongdoing against any of the named defendants.

Our client supported his claims and countered the defendants’ allegations with the expert testimony of a biomechanical engineer, a construction management specialist, and an aerial lift expert.

In addition, Sheff & Cook secured a variety of medical and damages experts, including the president-elect orthopedic surgeon of the American Foot and Ankle Society, a neurologist, a neuroradiologist, and a vocational rehabilitation specialist. These experts verified that our client had suffered permanent and total disability while extrapolating all anticipated necessary future costs through his life expectancy.  

We also presented video footage which included an in-depth interview with our client, as well as a look at a day in his life.

The defendants disputed the extent of damages on the basis that our client was a convicted felon and had not reported any taxable income for several years.

The settlement was achieved after two full days of mediation.

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