Workers Compensation, Personal Injury, Dolly Accident

by Dean Pavick on September 15, 2013

Our client was a 34 year old  employee who was delivering an unassembled pool table to a customer’s house. As the employee and a co-worker were transporting the pool table down the basement steps on a dolly, the heavy slate table suddenly came forward striking the employee on a lower step, causing him to fall down the stairs. The employee suffered a neck and shoulder injury.We filed a workers compensation claim on behalf of our client. At the allowance hearing before the Industrial Commission, the co-worker testified that the right top handle on the dolly suddenly broke off causing the co-worker to lose his grip on the dolly which lead to the employee’s injuries.The ICO allowed the claim. A lawsuit was thereafter filed against the manufacturer of the dolly. Liability was denied. A metallurgist performed testing on the dolly and its handle which revealed low fatigue strength of the metal for the weight load specifications stated in writing by the manufacturer. The manufacturer admitted that the only testing it had performed on the prototype dolly was to place weight on it and tow it behind a vehicle in a parking lot. There was no type of stress testing performed.The manufacturer raised questions concerning  damage  to the lower side rail of the dolly prior to the accident. Questions were also raised as to a previous neck injury suffered by the employee as well as pre-existing cervical degenerative conditions. The treating orthopaedic surgeon opined that the work-related injury aggravated pre-existing degenerative disc disease at two levels which necessitated decompression and spinal fusion surgery. The personal injury case was  settled for $445,000. The workers compensation case was also settled with the BWC.

 

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