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Injured employee to receive over $11M in damages

Even with government-imposed safety regulations in place, workplace accidents continue to happen, sometimes leaving employees permanently injured. In 2009, one such accident left a Texas oilfield worker seriously injured and resulted in a personal injury lawsuit.

The man was injured when he was working at an oil field in Ector County, Texas, and a pipe casing fell from an oilfield elevator and struck him as was standing beneath it. The accident resulted in nerves from the worker's shoulder and neck being torn out.

The accident victim filed suit against M&M Elevator Company, the distributor of the elevator, and was recently awarded more than $11 million dollars in damages following a week-long trial. The injured worker charged that the accident was the result of elevator not functioning properly.

Attorneys for M&M Elevator Company claimed the elevator's operation had been checked earlier the same day the injury occurred and they said it had never previously malfunctioned in the past.

Instead, the company blamed the accident on the oilfield workers, saying that the workers improperly latched the elevator before using it. They also stated that the accident victim shouldn't have been standing under the elevator in the first place.

The jury sided with the injured worker, concluding that the elevator did malfunction on the day the accident occurred, and M&M Elevator Company was to blame for the worker's injuries. The awarded the injured employee nearly $10 million in compensatory and an additional $1 million in exemplary damages.

Additionally, the injured man's family was awarded $480,000 for loss of parental consortium resulting from the injury incurred. Parental consortium is awarded to compensate a child for loss of a parent's compassion, companionship, comfort or love.

Source: Odessa America, "Oilfield worker, family, awarded more than $11 million in trial," Oct. 22, 2012

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