Man Receives $2.45 Million Settlement After His Arm is Amputated at Work

Five years ago, a Reading, Berks County man was working as a temporary employee in a Berks County recycling plant when he attempted to clear a paper jam in a shredding machine by reaching in to remove the jammed paper.

But as he reached in with his left hand to remove the clog, a co-worker put the machine into reverse, pulling the victim’s glove and arm into the powerful mechanism, which didn’t have a safety guard attachment, according to a recent story in The Legal Intelligencer. “The worker did not know [the victim] was behind the machine and [the victim] was unaware the co-worker was putting the machine into reverse,” the story stated.

The victim, Kerry Liebensperger, lost his left hand and forearm which were “chewed up” in the accident that happened on Oct. 29, 2007 at the Cougle’s Recycling facility. The shredder had been manufactured by the Allegheny Paper Shredder Corp.

He sued the manufacturer of the device, alleging premises liability, negligence and breach of warranty, and in a settlement on April 1, Liebensperger was awarded $2.45 million for his injuries, according to The Legal Intelligencer story. The shredder processes paper through a conveyer and a series of cutters as it operates.

During the investigation into the case, it was learned that the Allegheny Paper shredder was originally sold to Vertis Inc. (formerly known as WebCraft Technologies) in 1988, which then traded it in Recycling Equipment Corp. (REC) REC five years later, the story stated. REC later sold the shredder to Cougle’s. The shredder had gone through a series of repairs and reconditionings over that span, during which the original-equipment safety guard was not re-installed, the story reported.

In the settlement, defendant Cougle’s paid $60,000 in the case, while REC paid $1 million and Allegheny Paper paid $1.39 million.

A key issue in the case was that the recycling center’s pretrial memorandum said that neither “Allegheny Paper nor REC advised it that a rear output guard should have been on the machine,” according to the story.

Workplace injuries like this happen every day in the United States. There were 3.06 million nonfatal workplace injuries in private industry in 2010, the last full year in which complete statistics are available, according to statistics from the U. S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those cases involved 933,200 missed work days, 370,130 cases involving sprains, strains and soft tissue tears, 185,270 cases involving back injuries and 208,470 cases involving falls, according to the statistics.

For workers hurt on the job, the legal fight for compensatory damages to cover your injuries and pain and suffering starts with knowing your rights and have the best legal representation.

If you are hurt in your workplace, you have legal rights to ensure that you get proper medical treatment and are compensated for your wages in the event you are unable to work.

The AFL-CIO labor union has several tips for injured workers, including getting the medical treatment you need. You may be required to see a doctor selected by your employer. If you are injured on the job, your employer’s insurance company is obligated to pay for reasonable and necessary medical treatment. Also, iIf your employer has written an incident report, get a copy of it for your records. You may need this information if you seek Workers’ Compensation benefits.

OSHA has several tips for injured workers as well, including that you should report any injuries or workplace accident incidents immediately and carefully document everything and keep good records about the incidents that led to your injuries.

If you are seriously injured at work, you should immediately talk with a competent, professional and compassionate attorney about your case. You have a myriad of legal options, including filing for Workers’ Compensation or filing a lawsuit to recover damages if your case warrants additional legal action.

The best way to review your legal strategy is to know your legal options from the start so that you can make the best choices for you and your family.

In the meantime, in the workplace, you can be you own best advocate. If you or someone you love is asked to do something in a workplace that appears to be dangerous or life-threatening, then you need to thoroughly and completely discuss it with the person asking you to perform the dangerous task.

You need to be sure that all safety procedures are being followed to the letter and that you are minimizing any and all risks to yourself and others.

And if you still have concerns, then you need to discuss them immediately with others in the workplace until you get a satisfactory reply regarding safety and proper procedures.

If you or someone you love is suffers a workplace injury, you certainly know that a serious work-related accident can be deadly or debilitating for the rest of your life, affecting your personal mobility, earning potential and your livelihood. That’s not something that you want to take lightly.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or someone you love is ever seriously injured in a worksite, workplace or construction accident anywhere in the United States. At MyPhillyLawyer, you can consult with a qualified, experienced and compassionate attorney to explore all of your legal rights.

We represent the families of victims who are killed in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.