Airport Worker Awarded $352M After Paralysis Injury
An airport worker who was left paralyzed after he was struck by a van on the tarmac recently won a $352M verdict against the company that employed the driver who struck the worker. The driver of the van who struck the airport worker said the sun was in his eyes when the accident occurred. The airport worker was sent flying through the air as a result of the collision.
The 50-year-old wing walker was wearing a bright reflective yellow vest and holding bright orange wands when the accident occurred. As a result of the accident, the worker was paralyzed from the chest down. Two days later, he suffered a stroke which cost him the movement of his right arm. He managed to retain some movement but will likely require ongoing care.
If your case goes to trial, you should know that the defendant’s best play is to blame you for the accident. In Texas, this is a very good strategy because if the jury finds that you are more than 51% culpable, you are not entitled to recover any damages at all. In this case, the jury found that the company that employed the driver was 70% responsible for the accident. The driver was assigned 30% of the blame.
The defense attempted to lay the blame for the accident with the plaintiff. Nonetheless, the driver struck the plaintiff at full speed and never saw him. There is no world in which a plaintiff is responsible for that injury. This has more to do with how airports work than legal factors. If a wing walker is on the tarmac, any other vehicle must surrender the right of way. In this case, the driver said he never saw the driver even though he was wearing a bright yellow vest. The sun in his eyes does not help his case. One would expect someone to regain control of a vehicle once their vision was obstructed, not plow ahead until they heard a bump. So, the defense strategy didn’t pay off this time, but it was still the best option that the defense had since the case went to trial. It’s something you need to consider if you decide to take your case to trial.
Workers’ compensation issues
A worker who is injured on the job in Texas can file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. However, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that only pays a fraction of your lost wages and does not pay for pain and suffering damages or decreased quality of life issues. To get 100% of your lost wages and be compensated for reduced quality of life, you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Workers’ compensation benefits generally bar recovery, but only from your employer. In other words, you cannot sue an employer who has an active workers’ compensation policy. The rules say nothing about a third party or their company that negligently causes death or injury. In other words, the worker could file a lawsuit against the airport refueling company because he did not work for that company—he worked for the airport.
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The Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers represent the interests of injured plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.