In a recent work accident lawsuit before a court in Lubbock, Texas, a jury awarded an injured worker and his wife damages totaling $5,298,590.78. The damages stemmed from a lawsuit that Charles Robinson and his wife filed in connection with injuries sustained while Mr. Robinson worked for his employer, West Star Transportation, Inc.
Worker Suffered Traumatic Brain Injury at Work
In April 2007, Mr. Robinson suffered a traumatic head injury after falling head first from a loaded flatbed trailer. Mr. Robinson had been attempting to cover the flatbed in the shipping yard of his employer, West Star Transportation, Inc. The load that Mr. Robinson had been covering was uneven and contained both uncrated equipment and pallet crates of differing heights. Furthermore, the load had been about 13 feet off the ground, which apparently was not normal.
To cover the load, Mr. Robinson had to place a tarpaulin on the highest point of the load. The cover weighed about 150 pounds. A borrowed forklift was used to raise the tarpaulin to the top of the load. Mr. Robinson stood on a pallet on the forklift and was raised to the top. Mr. Robinson fell while he was on top of the load attempting to manipulate the tarpaulin without safety equipment or assistance. The fall caused Mr. Robinson to suffer a severe brain injury.
Negligence Lawsuit Filed Against Employer
Following the accident, Mr. Robinson filed a lawsuit against his employer claiming that it was negligent in failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work. The case went to trial, and the jury found that West Star was negligent. The jury awarded Mr. Robinson and his wife $5.3 million in damages for past and future physical pain and mental anguish, past and future loss of earning capacity, past physical impairment, and past and future medical care. Mr. Robinson’s wife was awarded damages for past and future loss of consortium. The employer appealed the decision.
On appeal, West Star argued that the evidence was legally or factually insufficient to support the jury’s finding. And, West Star also argued that the negligence standard submitted to the jury was too broad. The appellate court, however, affirmed the trial court’s judgment.
The court held that the evidence showed that “West Star created an unusually precarious work environment and an unreasonable risk of harm to its employees—a risk that proved to be true when Charles fell and was injured.” Ultimately, the court held that West Star breached its duty by failing to provide equipment necessary to safely perform the task at hand and by failing to provide appropriate supervision or assistance. Additionally, the appellate court upheld the jury’s award of $5.3 million in damages.
Injured at Work? Contact Zehl & Associates’ Texas Work Accident Attorneys
If you have questions about recovering damages against your employer in a work accident, our Texas work accident attorneys have experience helping injured workers recover compensation for their injuries. Contact Zehl & Associates’ Texas work accident lawyers today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation