Last year a collapse of a large construction crane on a work site in Manhattan cost a New Jersey man his life. Last month, his family settled the lawsuit they brought after his death for $1 million. In the settlement agreement, the contractor that owned and operated the crane did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The mother of the worker killed in the construction accident was dissatisfied, and was quoted as saying she did not “understand the justice of it.” Some may wonder why a person would settle a lawsuit if they did not believe it was just. Litigation is full of compromises, and sadly, sometimes you have to accept a settlement that you may not think achieves justice.
In the same way, workers’ compensation is a compromise that allows workers to obtain compensation for injuries without regard to fault and without needing to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
Litigation is expensive, and companies can drag out cases longer than injured workers, or their families, can wait and sometimes the emotional strain is not worth the risk. There may be insurance limits for the contractor or business and there is the risk that they could declare bankruptcy and discharge the damage award. If the evidence is not overwhelming, there is always the possibly that a jury could award nothing.
If you have been injured in a work place accident, your need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can review the facts of your situation and advise you on the compensation that may be available.
Source: NJ.com, “Family of N.J. man killed in crane crash settles wrongful death suit for $1M, report says,” Brent Johnson, August 20, 2013