A man who was severely injured after a 1,000-pound loader arm collapsed on him while he was fixing a piece of machinery at a North Carolina industrial plant has confidentially settled a claim against the plant’s owner for $1.7 million, his attorney reports.
Coleman Cowan, Hoyt Tessener and Barry Jennings of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Durham said that his client was a contractor working at the plant in November 2015. He was performing preventative maintenance on a large piece of machinery when the loader arm fell onto his head and leg, breaking his jaw, knocking out his teeth, and crushing his leg. He was rushed into surgery at a trauma center, where a surgeon worked to save his leg, but it wasn’t until days later that they knew that the surgery was successful.
“His leg was saved, but he’ll never walk the same way again,” Cowan said.
The client settled a workers’ compensation claim with his employer for $294,000 and filed a lawsuit against the owner of the plant. Documents produced in discovery from both the plant owner and client’s employer determined the loader arm fell “due to piping design and pressure sensor location,” and “the contractors involved in this incident were not found to be in violation of any existing safety policy.”
Coleman said that the plant’s owners had improperly installed a part into the loader that caused its arm to release when it should not have. The owner of the plant raised the defense of contributory negligence.
“The defense was, ‘You did your job wrong,’” Cowan said.
Due to a confidentiality agreement, the names of the plant and its attorney were not available.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT – NEGLIGENCE
Amount: $1.7 million
Injuries alleged: Broken jaw, crushed leg
Case name: Confidential
Date of settlement: Oct. 25
Attorney for plaintiff: Coleman Cowan, Hoyt Tessener and Barry Jennings of The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Durham
Attorneys for defendant: Withheld