Industrial facilities can be noisy, dangerous places to work. Workers must be alert and cautious, and they should comply with safety regulations to avoid accidents.
However, even the most cautious worker can be injured or killed in an industrial accident when other parties are negligent. One case involving a power plant worker serves as a tragic reminder of how badly things can go in these settings.
Faulty relief valve causes fatal burns
Reports on the accident detail a deadly event triggered by a faulty relief valve in a coal-fired power plant. Two workers went to investigate a loss of steam on one of three turbines that had recently undergone maintenance. They rode an elevator to the floor with the equipment, and when the doors opened, the two men suffered fatal burn injuries when superheated steam filled the elevator.
An investigation connected to the incident indicated that a subcontractor had recently inspected the three steam turbines. A jury found that the subcontractor knew the valve was likely to fail but failed to take the necessary action to repair it or warn workers of the risks it presented.
After the incident, family members of both workers filed a lawsuit against the subcontracting company. Recently, a jury found that the company was 90 percent at fault for the accident and awarded one man’s widow $222 million.
Pursuing wrongful death claims
The size of the award in this case is not necessarily representative of what people typically collect in an industrial accident or wrongful death claim. However, family members can be in a position to receive compensation for a fatal accident caused by negligence of a third-party on the job. This money can cover financial losses, emotional distress and other damages a victim and their family experience.
Of course, money and lawsuits will not bring a loved one back or excuse negligence. But, it can be a means of helping people recover and seek the justice they deserve.
Accidents on the job, caused by a subcontractor or someone other than coworker, create a complicated legal situation. While the injured worker may have a claim against the at-fault party, there is likely a companion worker’s compensation claim. If a person finds themselves in such a situation, it is wise to discuss such circumstances with an experienced firm that understands the interaction of the two claims.