Material Handling Injuries at Work Head Travelers Injury Impact Report

Material handling injuries at work account for the largest proportion of workers comp claims over a five-year period according to recently released research.

The “Injury Impact Report” was compiled by the insurance carrier Travelers. Travelers handles more workers comp claims than any other insurance carrier in the country and was able to draw on data from more than 1.5 million claims made between 2010 and 2014 to determine what nature of accidents were the most common in the workplace.

At the top of the list, material handling injuries at work accounted for 32 percent of the total number of workers comp claims received during the period, with slips, trips and falls at work (16 percent) and injuries due to being struck by an object (10 percent) filling second and third places respectively ahead of accidents with tools at work (7 percent) and repetitive strain injuries (4 percent).

Due to the nature of the most common accidents in the workplace, it was no surprise that inflammations (91 days) and fractures (78 days) were the two injuries attributable on average for the longest absences from work. Strains and sprains also rated highly, with an average absence from work of 57 days.

Industry specific injuries were dominated by material handling injuries at work, with workers comp claims material handling injuries responsible for almost 40 percent of claims in the manufacturing and retail industries. However there was also a much higher proportion of injuries caused by fall from heights in the retail sector would normally be expected.

Woody Dwyer – the Second Vice President of Workers Compensation Risk Control – commented on the findings of the report by calling for a better culture of safety for employees. He said the most common injuries seen by the company could often be prevented if the proper safety measures were in place.


Man Settles Claim for the Loss of a Leg in a Construction Accident

A man has settled his claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident just as the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an order granting a new trial.

In the summer of 2009, Ruick Rolland from Delaware County in Pennsylvania was a contractor working for Senn Landscaping when the company was engaged to construct a replica of Augusta National Golf Course´s iconic Hogan Bridge over a pond at the home of Bruce Irrgang.

To assist with the construction work, Irrgang had arranged for the hire of a five-ton bulldozer through his company – United Construction Service Inc. – but, when the bulldozer was delivered to the construction site, the ten-year-old son of Steven Senn climbed into the cab and started operating it.

The driver who dropped off the bulldozer reported it to his supervisor – who opted not to ask any questions – and the young boy continued to drive around the estate in the bulldozer until he drove too close to Ruick and crushed the contractor´s left leg as he was working.

Ruick had to have the leg amputated, after which he sought legal advice and made a claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident against Senn Landscaping, United Construction Services and Modern Equipment Sales and Renting Co – the company that had delivered the bulldozer and whose supervisor had not taken any action to prevent the ten-year-old boy from operating the machine.

A summary judgement was made in favor of Ruick, but a proposed $6 million offer of settlement was declined, and the claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident was heard by a Delaware County jury in March 2013 for the assessment of damages only.

The jury awarded Ruick $18 million compensation and his wife $2 million for her loss of consortium, but the award was appealed by the defendants on the grounds that summary judgement was improvidently granted, a workers´ compensation file with information about the accident was excluded from the trial and that Ruick had been comparatively negligent by not stopping the boy from operating the bulldozer.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the appeal, and ordered that a new trial should be held to assess a more appropriate award of damages. However, before a new hearing date could be arranged, Ruick settled his claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident for $12 million – $5.5 million of which will be paid by both United Construction Service Inc. and Modern Equipment Sales and Renting, with the remaining $1 million being paid by Senn Landscaping.


Carpenter Awarded Compensation for a Shoulder Injury on a Construction Site

A carpenter has been awarded $2.5 million compensation for a shoulder injury on a construction site after he fell from an unstable temporary stairway.

John White was working in Philadelphia as a carpenter on a renovation project when, in January 2012, he was asked to remove the handrails on a temporary stairway that was going to be replaced by a permanent staircase the following day.

John started to descend the stairway, but before he could start remove the handrails, the stairway collapsed. John fell to the floor one level below – sustaining a broken shoulder and soft tissue injuries to his neck and back, as well as suffering concussion.

An ambulance took John to the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he underwent treatment for a displaced fracture of his left scapula. He was discharged with his arm in a sling after having several injections in his shoulder. Subsequently John had seven months of physical therapy.

As a result of his accident, John will have permanent mobility issues with his should and still suffers back pain. He has been unable to work as a carpenter since his accident and his injuries have affected his personal life – John being unable to swim or play catch with his young children.

John claimed compensation for a shoulder injury on a construction site against the company responsible for the installation of the stairway and two drywall companies that worked on the renovation project. John alleged in his claim that the stairway had not been installed safely and that the drywall companies had had removed supports from the stairway that had not been replaced.

John´s claim for compensation for a shoulder injury on a construction site was disputed by the stairway installation company and the two drywall companies, despite being supported by other workers on the renovation project who had complained to supervisors that the stairway was unstable.

Unable to reach a negotiated settlement, John´s claim for compensation for a shoulder injury on a construction site was heard by a jury at the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia before Judge Kenneth Powell.

The jury heard two weeks of testimony from expert witnesses before deliberating for a day and finding in John´s favor. The jury awarded John $2.5 million compensation for a shoulder injury on a construction site and John´s wife $500,000 for her loss of consortium – finding both the stairway installation company and one of the drywall companies 40% negligent, while the second drywall company was found to be 20% responsible for John´s accident and injury.


Construction Worker Injury Claim Resolved during Court Hearing

A construction worker injury claim has been resolved during a hearing at Cook County Circuit Court for $13 million after the two sides reached a negotiated settlement

The construction worker injury claim had been made by Chicago resident Adan Carriedo; who worked as a laborer for Concrete Structures of the Midwest in October 2006, who in turn had been sub-contracted by Leopardo Companies Inc. to work the construction of a residential building on State Street, Chicago -Vision On State Condominiums.

On October 20, thirty-nine year old Adan had been loading concrete forms onto a crane – one on top of the other – which were then raised 25 feet into the air. On this particular occasion, some of the load fell from the crane – hitting Adan and causing him to suffer devastating head and stomach injuries, as well as severing a finger on his left hand, fracturing his wrist and breaking his pelvis.

Adan was admitted to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he stayed in intensive care until January 2007 when he was transferred to the RML Speciality Hospital to start his rehabilitation. Adan has been unable to work as a laborer since his accident and, because of his poor level of education has been unable to obtain work in any other capacity.

Adan made a construction worker injury claim against his employers – Concrete Structures – and the site contractors – Leopardo Companies Inc – claiming that the State Street construction site was dangerous, that the concrete forms should not have been loaded one on top of the other but side-by-side, and that Leopardo Companies Inc. did not adequately supervise the construction work carried out on the site.

Both the defendants contested Adan´s construction worker injury claim for compensation – Leopardo Companies Inc arguing that the concrete forms fell from the crane because they were not loaded properly and it was his employer´s responsibility to supervise Adan´s work; but Concrete Structures denied liability and a court date was set for the construction worker injury claim to be heard at the Cook County Circuit Court.

Four days into the hearing, Judge Elizabeth M. Budzinski was advised that an agreement of Adan´s claim had been negotiated and it was to be settled for $13 million – the limit of the combined defendant´s insurance policies. The judge was told that the settlement was sufficient to cover Adan´s ongoing medical expenses and provide an income for Adan´s family while he was unable to work.


Concrete Worker Awarded Compensation for an Accident on a Construction Site

A concrete worker has been awarded injury compensation for an accident on a construction site after a hearing at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Hildo DeFranca was employed as a concrete worker on a home-building project in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, and responsible for directing concrete through a hose from a pump truck to make walls for the new home.

On March 22, 2010, the hose through which the concrete was being pumped clogged for a third time and, rather than shut down the truck and clear the blockage by hand as he had done on the two previous occasions, the pump truck operator revved up the engine to increase the pressure on the pump to dislodge the concrete.

As a result of the increase of pressure – and the release of pressure when the pump forced the blockage concrete blockage clear – the hose that Hildo was holding suddenly whipped around violently – hitting him on the head and knocking him into a basement below the wall on which he was standing.

Hildo was knocked unconscious from the impact of the hose and was later diagnosed with a chronic brain injury which has deteriorated since the accident occurred. He also suffered several cervical and thoracic spine fractures, herniations and the aggravation of a pre-existing spinal condition.

Hildo and his wife – Maria – sought legal advice, and claimed compensation for an accident on a construction site against the company from whom the pump had been leased – Trans-Fleet Concrete – and the general contractor of the site – Albino Concrete Construction Co.

The case against Trans-Fleet Concrete claimed that the pump truck operator – who was an agent of the company – had failed to operate the pump truck properly in accordance with construction industry standards, while Albino Concrete Construction Co were accused of failing to maintain a safe work site in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Both defendants denied their liability and contested Hildo`s claim for injury compensation for an accident on a construction site – Tran-Fleet Concrete claiming that none of their vehicles or employees had been present at the site, and Albino Concrete Construction Co Inc. arguing that Hildo was an employee of a sub-contractor and they therefore had no duty of care.

However, at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the jury heard that Albino Concrete Construction Co Inc had settled forty-five year old Hildo´s injury compensation claim for an accident on a building site for $500,000 and all they had to determine was whether Trans-Fleet Concrete was 50 percent liable.

After an eight-day trial before Judge Paul P. Panepinto, and three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in Hildo and Maria´s favor, and awarded Hildo a further $2 million compensation for an accident on a construction site and Maria $250,000 for her loss of consortium.


Changes to Personal Injury Claims Procedures will Speed up Compensation

Changes to personal injury claims procedures introduced on 1st August 2013 will speed up compensation settlements in claims with a value of up to £25,000.

The second of two changes to the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 1st August 2013, and whereas the changes to the personal injury claims procedures in April of this year took away some of the benefits of making “Contingency Fee” compensation claims, the most recent changes should allow claimants to receive their compensation settlements within a shorter time frame.

The new procedures will see the length of time negligent parties and their insurance companies have to acknowledge “Letters of Claim” reduced to one day from twenty-one days, and the number of days available for them to conduct their own investigations into a claim reduced from ninety days to thirty days (forty days in the event of a compensation claim for an accident at work).

The aim of the new procedures is to reduce the costs of pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation when the value of the claim is less than £25,000 and when liability is not disputed. Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

There are numerous exceptions to the new Civil Procedure Rules and there will be no change to the personal injury claims procedures in the following events:-

  • If an injury has been sustained due to the negligence of a private individual – for example if a homeowner has damaged the pavement outside their house over which you have tripped and fallen
  • If the injury which is being claimed for is an acquired disease either at work (for example COPD due to your working environment) or a place of public access (for example food poisoning in a restaurant)
  • If an injury has been sustained in an accident or scenario involving more than one party – for example a car accident in which more than one person was to blame
  • If an injury was sustained in an accident for which you were partly to blame or if your injury was exacerbated due to your own lack of care (also known as “Contributory Negligence”).
  • If a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence – either at a hospital or in private practice such as at the dentist
  • If you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or if you are claiming on behalf of an individual who has died due to mesothelioma cancer
  • If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a party who is uninsured, insolvent or untraceable – such as if you are injured in a hit and run accident.

The changes apply to injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England or Wales from 1st August onwards, and do not affect the length of time you have after an injury has been discovered in which to claim personal injury compensation – currently three years in the UK.

Should you require further information about how the changes to the personal injury claims procedures may affect you in your particular circumstances, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity.


Still Time to Claim BT Workers Hearing Injury Compensation

There is still time for many former and current British Telecom employees, who have sustained a loss of hearing due to using faulty testing sets, to claim BT workers hearing injury compensation.

In August 2010 – in the case of Watkins v British Telecommunications – BT admitted that workers involved in the testing, tracing and installation of telephone lines had been provided with equipment which produced loud, high-pitched tones and damaged their hearing.

The case resulted in numerous claims for BT workers hearing injury compensation being made and, as many of the injuries had developed years before, BT announced it would not impose the three-year Statute of Limitations which usually limits an employer´s responsibility for workplace injuries.

However, in June 2012, the company changed its mind about allowing a limitless period in which to claim compensation for BT workers hearing injuries, and announced that – from January 1st 2013 – any BT worker claim for hearing injury compensation would be contested if it was made after the three-year Statute of Limitations had expired.

This means that former and current employees who have been diagnosed with a hearing disorder within the last three years which is attributable to BT´s negligence are still eligible for compensation for BT workers hearing injuries and receive recompense for their damaged hearing.

Former and current BT employees not involved with the installation of lines, but who have sustained damaged hearing due to working within range of excessive noise produced by jack hammers and Kango hammers, and who were not provided with suitable protection for their hearing, are also eligible for compensation – provided that their hearing injury has been diagnosed within the last three years.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has advised any current or former BT worker suffering from tinnitus, damaged hearing or premature deafness which is due to BT´s negligence to speak with a lawyer at the first practical opportunity.


Abbey Road Residents Entitled to Claim Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Compensation

Residents of the Abbey Road Estate in Camden will now be able to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation after the property services company – whose actions caused seven residents to be hospitalised – were found guilty of negligence at the Central Criminal Court.

The news that those who suffered an injury in the incident will be entitled to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation comes following the successful prosecution of Apollo Property Services Group Limited by the Health Service executive in relation to refurbishment work done of the roof of the estate between February and March 2008.

It was found in the case against the company that Apollo Property Services Group Limited did not have a system in place to identify which of the roof-top boiler flues were still operational and continued the refurbishment work without any thought being given to the consequences of their negligence.

The company were also found to be in breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974 in regards to ensuring that workers engaged in the refurbishment work were made aware of safe working practices when in close proximity to boiler flues and warned of the possible risks. It was also discovered during the Health Service Executive´s investigation into the incident that no supervision was provided as the work commenced.

Judges at the Central Criminal Court in London´s Old Bailey fined Apollo Property Services Group Limited £165,000, ordered the company to pay £19,000 in compensation and £117,582 in costs. Residents of the Abbey Road Estate who suffered an illness related to blocked flues during the refurbishment work will now be entitled to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation against the company.


Fall from Scaffolding Tower Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A man who suffered permanent brain injuries after falling from scaffolding while attempting to help his brother repair the roof of his house has been awarded 750,000 Euros after the settlement of his claim for fall from scaffolding tower injury compensation was approved in court.

Patrick Rayner from Mitchelstown in County Cork was helping his brother John replace displaced slates on the roof of his home in Killmallock, County Limerick, when the tragedy occurred in December 2008.

While situated on top of the scaffolding tower which had been erected to gain access to the roof, Patrick fell three metres to the ground while attempting to take hold of a roofing ladder which was being passed to him.

Patrick suffered a fractured skull as a result of the accident and such significant brain damage occurred that he has since lost the senses of taste, smell and hearing.

Patrick made a claim for fall from scaffolding tower injury compensation through his wife Julia, claiming that John had failed to secure the scaffolding tower to a permanent structure, had failed to brace the scaffolding tower and had failed to take adequate precautions to ensure his safety while repairing the roof.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that liability was not in dispute, a 750,000 Euros settlement of fall from scaffolding tower injury compensation had been agreed and the case was before her for approval of damages only.

After hearing an explanation of the accident, the judge approved the settlement, stating that this was a sad story in which the deeds of a Good Samaritan had ended in tragic circumstances.