Attorneys Forest Horne, Steven Corriveau and Hunt Willis negotiated a $9,250,000 settlement, just before trial, for a man suffering second and third degree burns and a traumatic brain injury when a machine explodes in the factory where he worked.
Our client was a 37-year old man who was placed by his temporary agency employer to perform janitorial work at the defendant’s manufacturing plant. After just a few months of working at the plant, and while our client was performing housekeeping work, one of the manufacturing machines in the plant malfunctioned causing an explosion and flash fire that resulted in our client suffering second and third degree burns to more than one-third of his body; primarily to his back, upper and lower extremities, portions of his face and head, as well as other related injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. Our client was airlifted to and hospitalized at the UNC Burn Center where he underwent extensive surgeries to treat his burn wounds. Following his discharge from the hospital, he was readmitted for two weeks due to heart problems, and later underwent a series of laser skin resurfacing treatments and physical therapy to treat his burn wounds.
Our client’s family initially contacted Martin & Jones for assistance with his workers’ compensation claim. We learned that there may have been a written contract between our client’s temporary agency employer and the facility where his employer placed him.
We filed a lawsuit within six months of our clients injuries, we engaged in extensive discovery with the defendant and obtained more than 50,000 pages of documents. We hired three professional engineering experts, including a fire safety, accident reconstruction, and metallurgical analysis experts, to investigate and determine the cause the explosion and fire. That work allowed us to put together the pieces of the puzzle about what happened to our client.
The defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment to have the case dismissed. Martin & Jones opposed the motion. After the case failed to settle a the first court ordered settlement conference, a second settlement conference was requested by the defendant. Shortly before trial, the lawsuit settled for $8,000,000.
Within two weeks of settling the third-party case against the defendant, Martin & Jones filed an action under 97-10.2(j) of the Workers’ Compensation Act to extinguish the workers compensation lien. On Friday before the hearing to extinguish the lien, the workers’ compensation carrier agreed to waive the lien and pay an additional amount which brought the workers compensation settlement to more than $1,250,000. The total settlement was $9,250,000.