Fatal construction accident leads to lawsuit, $39 million award

Many Florida construction workers face dangerous conditions during the course of their workday. When employees work in construction zone, they put themselves in danger from vehicles who fail to slow down and follow traffic signals. A 41-year-old man died in a construction accident in July 2010 when a car struck him. His family recently received a $39 million award.

The man had his back turned while standing on the shoulder of the highway. Despite wearing reflective clothing, he was hit by a car, killing him instantly. The driver was never cited or charged with any crime.

The drivers on the highway were required to slow down from 65 mph to 25 mph. There were supposed to be two highway patrol officers working that night, but there was only one, putting the man in danger.

The man’s family sued The Shelly Company, the paving company in charge of the project. The trial lasted for two weeks, with the jury agreeing that the working conditions that the Ohio consultant inspector faced that night were extremely dangerous. The jury’s decision was that The Shelly Company did not do enough to protect the man. They awarded the man’s wife and three children a $39 million award, including $20 million in punitive damages.

Unfortunately, many companies focus on profits and disregard their biggest assets — their employees. No company wants to have to deal with accidents on the job. They can be costly and time-consuming, which is why it is easier to take the necessary measures to prevent them in the first place. In this case, The Shelly Company should have delayed work until an adequate number of patrol officers were available to provide protection.

SourceCleveland.com, “Jury awards $39 million to family of highway paving inspector killed on I-271 in 2010” James F. McCarty, Apr. 04, 2014