Crane Operator Awarded 3.4 Million in Construction Injury Lawsuit

Mr. John Robert Williams Jr., was recently awarded 3.4 million dollars in a jury trial. A crane operator, he had filed a lawsuit after suffering a severe brain injury and becoming blind. This construction accident occurred when he was operating a crane in tandem with another crane operator. At the time, they were working to move a ship’s bow. Following orders, he stopped his crane while the other crane continued to operate. Immediately his crane began to tip and he had to go about trying to right it. Unfortunately, what happened next led to lifelong injuries.

The 18,000 pound counterweights flew up and hit his cab. This propelled him out of the cab and threw him onto the ground where he landed with such force that he suffered a brain injury and became blind. This tragic accident did not need to occur.

The lawsuit claimed, and a jury agreed, that the crane manufacturer, Manitowoc Cranes LLC in Wisconsin, was to blame because proper warning was not given about how the counterweights could come loose and hit the cab. With no warning, Mr. Williams was unaware of the danger to his life and the need to escape the cab quickly. If he had been warned, he could have jumped out of the cab prior to becoming hit by the counterweights.

Simultaneously, the company he worked for was named in the lawsuit and a jury also found them to be negligent for giving the orders that eventually led to it.  However, workers’ compensation laws prevented Mr. Williams from collecting money from his company. This is because he received medical benefits and wage loss benefits through his workers’ compensation claim.

Determining If You Have a Construction Accident Case

While entirely tragic, Mr. Williams case does provide a good working example of how workers compensation and civil lawsuits can function together. Injured workers can still receive workers’ compensation benefits from their employers and file a lawsuit if a third-party was somehow negligent and responsible for the accident. In this case it was a crane manufacturer. In your case, it may have been the manufacture of a piece of safety equipment or a third-party on the job site. To determine whether or not you can file lawsuit you should schedule a consultation with our law firm. We can go over the specifics of what happened, identify any potentially negligent third parties and let you know how to proceed.

Additionally, there are some cases that do allow for the employer to be sued even with workers’ compensation laws. For example, if your employer knew that they were exposing you to unnecessary danger but did so anyway – they could still have liability beyond paying workers compensation benefits. However, being successful at suing your employer requires the help of an experienced attorney.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have been injured in a construction accident, do not assume that your options are limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is important that you take the time to meet with an attorney. If Mr. Williams had simply filed a workers’ compensation claim he would be receiving limited income benefits. Instead, he and his wife have recovered 3.4 million dollars in financial damages. To find out what your claim is worth, call (615) 353-0930 and schedule a consultation with The Higgins Firm.


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