Ironworker Steps Into An Uncovered Pvc Pipe ($3.4 Million)

A local 1 IronWorker recovered $3.4 Million for an injury occurring on 12/2/03.

The Case

The 47-year-old IronWorker stepped into a small uncovered PCV pipe that was buried in the lay-down area for the beams that had just been removed from a truck in preparation for erection at the Life Science Education and Research Building on Loyola University’s Main Campus.

In-Depth Look

The general contractor, Power Construction, failed to provide a safe place to work, allowing an uncapped PVC plumbers pipe to remain allegedly hidden, embedded within the gravel of the lay-down area.  The IronWorker stepped into the pipe where his foot got caught.

Normally this would not result in a serious injury other than a bad sprain; however, the IronWorker’s body reacted to the injury by growing new bone into the muscle, an incredibly rare condition that caused chronic pain. The injury ended his career.

The employer has refused to take responsibility for the accident, denied the IronWorker Worker’s Compensation benefits, and blamed the general contractor.  As a result, Horwitz attorneys structured a deal with the general contractor that required the contractor to pay $2.8 million for the injury as part of a Third Party claim and assign (or give) the IronWorker their right to contribution against the employer.

By law, an injured employee cannot sue their employer for on-the-job injury compensation, outside of a Worker’s Compensation claim. However, as a result of this negotiation, the IronWorker was able to prosecute the general contractor and recover from the employer. The insurance carrier for the employer could have escaped from the case by merely waiving their WC lien.

Some Insurance carriers are difficult to understand.  They complain when a judgment is entered against them, but they have every opportunity to reasonably settle cases; they string out lawsuits at the expense of an injured worker’s well-being. Insurance companies are primarily concerned with earning interest on their investments and compensating lawyers for defending their cases indefinitely, rather than doing what is legally and morally right.