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Recent Injury Law Blog Posts

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Posted on 20 April 2014

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Workplace Injury Attorneys

Everyone deserves a safe place to work. If you were injured on the job, your employer may be responsible if they failed to do what was required of them to create a safe workplace.

Stritmatter Kessler personal injury attorneys are recognized in Seattle, Washington State and throughout the country for their successes in litigating and settling many worksite injury cases.

Read more about the Perez case, featured in local news. Mr. Perez was working in treacherous conditions for a subcontractor, when he fell off of a cliff. SKW attorneys fought hard to obtain the right result for him and his family.

Workplace Injury Facts

Workplace Injuries

A worker trying to clear a jam in a paper machine was killed due to lack of safety devices on the machine and the controls being located at a position where the operator could not see if anyone was in the pit area of the machine.

Work related injuries that occur on the job can fall into several different categories.  If a worker is injured as a result of a defective machine or piece of equipment, there may be a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller of the machine or equipment.  If a worker is injured in a motor vehicle accident or collision, there may be a right to sue others who caused the collision.

If a worker is injured due to negligence of the worker’s employer or a co-employee, the law generally bars any legal claim against the employer or co-employee and limits the worker to remedies available under the workers compensation system.  (However, there is an important exception to the general prohibition against suing your employer for injuries on the job.  Police and firefighters are allowed to sue their employer if their employer’s negligence causes injury or death on the job.)

If a worker is injured on a construction site, Washington law imposes a duty on general contractors to ensure that safety regulations are complied with on the jobsite.  General contractors have a specific, non-delegable duty to comply with WISHA regulations (safety regulations) for the benefit of every person working on the jobsite, including workers employed by independent contractors.   The Washington Supreme Court explained in Stute v. P.B.M.C., Inc., 114 Wn.2d 454, 463 (1990), that the general contractor’s supervisory authority places the general contractor in the best position to ensure compliance with safety regulations:

General contractors can also have duties to ensure that proper safety practices are followed under their contracts with the owner/developer.  If a worker is employed by a subcontractor and is injured on a jobsite as a result of safety rules being violated, there may be a legal claim against the general contractor responsible for the jobsite.

Similar rules apply to other non-construction related injuries that arise due to an environment under the control of the property owner.  The rules vary depending on the sophistication of the property owner and the degree of control they exercise over the jobsite.  In some cases, a legal claim can be made against the owner of a jobsite when a worker employed by an independent contractor is injured on that jobsite.

Representative cases

Workplace Injuries

A young man working on the roof of a warehouse fell 35 feet due to the general contractor's failure to provide proper fall protection equipment.

$1,100,000 settlement in 2007 involving a pipe fitter who suffered permanent injuries from an overhead obstruction while climbing a scaffold access ladder.   

$2,200,000 settlement in 2006 for a roofer who fell from a construction site roof 35 feet, rendering him a paraplegic.  Suit was against general contractor and second tier contractor for failure to maintain a safe workplace.

$3,100,000 settlement in 2004 for exposure to high concentrations of sulfur dioxide, causing two employees of an independent contractor to develop Reactive Airways Disease Syndrome.  

$1,750,000 settlement in 2003 for a carpenter struck by a counterweight on a crane while sitting in a SaniCan, resulting in a closed head injury with resulting seizures.

$2,400,000 settlement in 2003 for an immigrant laborer who had his right leg amputated below the knee when the general contractor failed to provide guardrails for the 7’6" scaffolding on which he was working.

Verdict for $2,517,030 in 1996 on behalf of a 37-year-old worker who herniated a disc in his back resulting in a failed back syndrome as a result of defective equipment he used in his job. 

$2,450,000 settlement in 1994 for failure of a hydraulic man-lift used by P.U.D. workers.

Perez v. Doe Construction Company

$7 Million Settlement

SKW attorneys represented a client, who was seriously injured on the job, when working as a subcontractor for a fencing project. The construction company, who contracted out the treacherous fencing project, failed to ensure that fall protection safety measures were in place. As a result, SKW workplace injury client fell backwards off of a cliff, and is now a quadriplegic.

Petersen v. Finazzo

$1,033.000 Jury Verdict

SKW trial lawyers represented Ken Petersen, after he suffered serious injuries when delivering roofing materials on an improperly built structure.

Tkachev v. Ledcor
$2.4 million settlement

Construction laborer Vasily Tkachev, a Ukrainian immigrant, was applying wire mesh outside a building. Guardrails had not yet arrived for the scaffold Vasily was using. As he worked, Vasily's foot got tangled in the mesh stacked on the scaffold and he fell to the ground. Injuries included a broken leg, which eventually became infected and had to be amputated. Through careful investigation and a detailed presentation of the facts of the case, Kevin was able to obtain this outstanding result.

Katzer v. Mortenson Construction
$900,000 settlement

Ironworker Craig Katzer was installing roof decking 25 feet above the gym floor during a construction project at Issaquah High School. When Craig slipped and fell, his safety line pulled taut for a moment, then gave way. Craig hit his head on the concrete gym floor and was in a coma for six days. Following a remarkable recovery, he has returned to ironwork. The $900,000 settlement claimed that Mortenson Construction created an unsafe workplace - including its failure to adequately train and inform workers of the potential dangers at the work site.