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Case Shows Complexity of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Six years ago, a young man fell into a rock crusher while working at a quarry in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last month, his mother settled a lawsuit in his death for $6.5 million.

Lawyers for the mother claimed the employer’s negligence and a fault in the design of the crusher led to the wrongful death of the 22-year-old. It was a complex case and justice didn’t come easily.

First, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had to investigate the worksite. The rock crusher had jammed, and the young man had climbed out of a protective area to clear it just before the accident. A fellow employee reportedly testified that workers had to climb over the mouth of the crusher and that was how the young man fell in.

The DOL determined that the quarry lacked procedures to ensure that workers could safely access the area. After examining quarry records, the DOL also found that the company hadn’t given the young man, who was new to the job, the training that regulations require.

To settle the suit, the quarry agreed to pay $4 million and the manufacturer of the crusher agreed to pay $2.5 million.

This tragic case shows that even if it seems clear that a company or a product played a role in a loved one’s death, attaining a favorable settlement can take years. Determining liability and building a case are complicated tasks, and families should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

The lawyers at McMonagle Perri are skilled negotiators and represent clients throughout the Philadelphia region in these types of cases. The firm does not charge for a consultation.