In many industries it is common practice for one trade to follow another on to the work site, or even different crews working for the same employer, but assigned to different tasks. Working in an industrial setting or on a major construction site can be dangerous in and of itself, but how does the follow-on crew know that the preceding crew left the site in a safe and proper condition when they left the site? In Virginia, if a worker is injured as a result of unsafe actions committed by co-employees (and that term could include employees who are, in reality, working for different subcontractors which have agreed to provide services to the same general contractor), the injured worker’s exclusive remedy is to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
Our client, Dwane N., was a heavy equipment operator working for an engineering company in Winchester. He was assigned by his employer to assist a pipe crew in finishing up the installation of a water line in Mount Crawford (not his ordinary job). The water crew had been on this site the day before, and unknown to anyone on the pipe crew, the pressure in the line had been allowed to build up to a dangerous level. The pressure buildup caused a hydrant to explode which blasted Dwane back 25 feet into a wall with enough force to burn his clothes off him. He reported an extensive list of injuries, including hearing loss, vision loss, facial scarring and numbness, concussion, vertigo, nerve damage, injuries to both shoulders and back, and chronic pain. His doctors also diagnosed him as suffering from PTSD.
Referred by a friend, Dwane sought the assistance of HammondTownsend in pursuing his workers’ compensation claim against his employer. He told us that he was looking for someone who would fight for him, and for a law firm that could help him “level the playing field” with his employer. HammondTownsend accepted the challenge, and through negotiations with the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, we were able to reach an agreement for a full and final settlement in Dwane’s favor.
Settlement in the amount of $250,000, plus the employer agreed to be responsible for all related medical bills up until the settlement agreement was approved by the Commission.