On July 23, 2008, a 33-year-old iron worker was in the basket of an aerial lift when a crawler crane’s boom collapsed onto the basket, crushing the man to death. An autopsy revealed that he died from blunt chest and abdominal trauma due to being compressed under the heavy equipment. He left behind a fiancée and baby daughter.
The man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the contractor in charge of coordinating and inspecting the work. The defendant claimed the lawsuit should not be considered by a jury because the company did not own, operate, or maintain the crane or aerial lift. The company also said it had no legal duty to inspect the cable that apparently failed, causing the crane to collapse, and that the subcontractor who supplied the machine should be responsible for making sure the crane was in safe working condition.
It has been over five years, but the family may finally obtain justice. A judge has denied the defendants motion for dismissal. In her ruling, the judge said “critical questions on which company was responsible for making certain the equipment was safe should be resolved by a jury.” A jury trial is set for November 12, 2013.
The 7th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to a trial by jury. However, big business and insurance companies continue their efforts to strip away those rights. These proponents of tort reform undermine the ability of victims to share their story with a jury and allowing the jury to return a verdict. Lawsuits and significant jury awards for those who violate safety laws are the number one safety enforcement tool in America. This is a good reminder that we as a society must held accountable for our own negligence. Lawsuit Financial is happy the judge in this case understands the importance of the right to trial by jury. We extend our condolences to the family of the deceased iron worker and best wishes for a fair outcome to this litigation.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.