Injured During Job Interview, Fall Victim Receives $8.25 Million Settlement
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on July 27th, 2012
Across the U.S., falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities in the construction industry, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in the U.S. Department of Labor. About 150 to 200 workers are killed each year and another 100,000 are injured in falls at construction sites, the agency says.
Not all such injuries actually occur when a worker is on a job, however.
Recently, an $8.75 million settlement was reached in the case of a 42-year-old man who was severely injured when he fell three stories to the ground during a job interview as an electrical lineman.
The victim, Jeffrey Adams, suffered a broken neck, back and hip and suffered severe brain damage after falling 35 feet to the ground while climbing a wooden utility pole as part of the job interview, according to a story in The Legal Intelligencer.
Adams was participating in the interview for a job with Metropolitan Edison Co. and was instructed to climb a wooden pole as part of his skills evaluation when the accident occurred.
“At about 35 feet, Adams, who was not attached to the pole with a retractable lifeline as required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, was instructed to remove his safety belt, according to the plaintiffs’ pretrial memorandum,” the story reported. “When he did, he fell to the ground and broke his neck and back, shattered his left hip and suffered a traumatic brain injury.”
In their arguments in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Adams’ attorneys pointed out that the specific pole he was told to climb was worn and defective and didn’t have the required retractable safety line, while other available test poles were so equipped.
The company and its parent company, FirstEnergy, argued in response that since Adams signed a release before climbing the pole, that they were not liable for his injuries.
OSHA has a full range of safety standards and rules to protect construction and other workers from serious injuries due to dangerous falls.
The OSHA rules detail “what an employer must do to provide fall protection for employees, such as identifying and evaluating fall hazards and providing specific training,” as well as what equipment is provided.
The standards include rules for self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that were involved in the Met-Ed case. The devices are designed to automatically limit free fall distance for workers who are performing duties in dangerous conditions, according to the rules. Had such a device been in place, Adams injuries might not have occurred, according to the facts of the case.
Those kinds of details are facts that your legal team needs to know as they pursue your case and fight for you in court.
That’s why it’s critical to have legal representation from attorneys who are skilled in construction accident cases, workplace cases and a wide variety of personal injury cases.
Electrical line work is a dangerous job, but it needn’t be one where workers have to be concerned each day that they’ll make it home in one piece. Employers and their supervisors must be sure to be vigilant about worker and workplace safety and ensure that corners are never cut when it comes to keeping workers safe.
If you or someone you love is employed in the construction industry and is ever seriously injured in a worksite accident, be sure to consult with a qualified, experienced and compassionate attorney to explore all of your legal rights. If you need us, the attorneys and legal team here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to help you, consult with you and to fight for you.
A serious construction-related accident can be debilitating for the rest of your life, affecting your mobility, earning potential and your livelihood. That’s not something that you want to take lightly.
When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.