Lineman Becomes Quadriplegic Due to Unsafe Work Environment

Facts & Allegations

Plaintiff, 28, was a lineman working for an electrical contractor that Defendant had hired to replace and install a new electrical switch and cross arm at the top of Defendant's wooden utility pole. While adjusting his position, Plaintiff's work positioning belt, which was strapped around him and the pole, came up over top of the pole causing him to disconnect from the pole and fall sixty feet to the ground.

Plaintiff sued Defendant alleging that Defendant had retained control over safety and the project. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant put Plaintiff in the position in which he had no other option but to climb and work at the top of its sixty foot pole without any fall protection.

Defendant claimed that Plaintiff's employer was responsible for providing a safe work environment, including all necessary safety training and equipment for the job. Defendant also argued that Plaintiff contributed to his own injuries by belting above the top cross arm of the pole, which linemen are generally trained to avoid.

Injuries and Damages

Plaintiff was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury involving the brain stem, incomplete quadriplegia, and several orthopedic injuries. As a result, he now suffers from a neurogenic bladder, a neurogenic bowel, vision deficits, severe headaches and migraines, loss of smell, speech deficits, loss of memory, and other cognitive deficits. Plaintiff is essentially wheelchair bound and will never be able to stand or walk on his own. Plaintiff experiences spasticity in all of his limbs. He has no use or voluntary movement of his left arm, hand, and fingers. He has very limited use of his right arm and hand, with minimal dexterity in his fingers. Plaintiff is unable to complete any activities of daily living without assistance. He will require twenty-four hour per day care for the rest of his life. Due to his injuries, Plaintiff is unable to return to any form of employment and suffers a loss in excess of $130,000 per year in earnings and benefits from his job as a lineman.

Plaintiff claimed damages of past medical expenses of $2,440,981, a life care plan of $10,607,620, $4,962,365 in past and future lost earnings capacity, for a total of $18,010,966 in economic damages (present value). Plaintiff also sought non-economic damages.

Result

Plaintiff settled with the defendant before trial for a total of $12,265,000.