MOBILE - A man who suffered severe injuries from an accident occuring during the installation of an overhead crane at the new ThyssenKrupp steel mill was recently awarded a $1.7 million civil judgment against three companies.
The thirty-one year-old Christopher Hill sustained injury when the manlift he was using to install an overhead crane fell about 25 feet to the ground after its wire ropes were severed.
Hill suffered a broken femur in his right leg, head trauma, and a temporary loss of consciousness as a result of the fall. He was able to return to work two months later, using a cain, after having a steel rod inserted into his body from his hip to his knee. Hill also developed post traumatic arthritis in his knee.
It is believed that that the fall and subsequent injuries could have been avoided had routine inspections of the equipment been performed. Hill's attorney, Lucy Tufts (Cunningham Bounds LLC), said "If only mechanics would have checked the equipment, the damage would have been obvious." It was Tufts' opinion that the routine inspections were missed because the owner of the manlift, All Crane, did not want its mechanics to work overtime and, therefore, stopped performing the inspections.
The jury awarded $1 million in compensatory damages against TEK Aerial Lifts, All Crane Rental of Alabama, and SMP Welding. In addition, the jury ordered All Crane's owner to pay $700,000 in punitive damages.
It is not yet clear whether the defendants will appeal the decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.