Pennsylvania 2014 Verdict Analysis: Personal Injury Settlements


Pennsylvania 2014 Verdict Analysis: Personal Injury Settlements

The Legal Intelligencer is reporting that within the first four months of 2014, Pennsylvania personal injury case verdicts and settlements are set to outnumber those in 2013. It is reported there were 17 verdicts in 2013 that amounted to at least $5 million or more per case; 12 of these were actually in the eight-figures. In comparison there have been seven personal injury verdicts and settlements from January through April 2014 that amounted to at least $5 million per case; two of them have been eight-figures.

For example, in Nowak v. Veolia Energy Philadelphia, the widow of an electrician who died in a crane accident at Veolia Energy’s Schuylkill Steam Plant in Grays Ferry, PA  received $17 million, in what is believed to be the largest wrongful-workplace-death settlement in Philadelphia County history. The victim died when a 300-pound iron hook struck and killed him. The lawsuit contends that the victim’s death was the result of Veolia Energy’s negligence because the iron hook was negligently maintained and operated. According to the lawsuit there was substantial evidence that Veolia intentionally disabled the safety limit switch that could have prevented the fatal accident. Allegedly Veolia ignored numerous recommendations to replace a portion of the crane after a similar crane accident in 2004.

A Lawrence County jury awarded the parents of a 22-year-old man $5.5 million in a wrongful death case. In McConnell v. Guru Global Logistics, the victim was thrown from his car when it was struck by a tractor-trailer, and the family sued the driver as well as the truck company. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability the jury found the driver 30% negligent and the truck company 70% negligent. A total of $3 million was awarded to the parents for loss of services, society and comfort under the wrongful death claim. The remaining funds were awarded to the victim’s estate.

The largest reported award in a personal injury case comes out of Chester County in Ciechoski v. Phoenixville. Here, a jury awarded $32.8 million to a three-year-old child born with cerebral palsy. Two nurses were found negligent when they failed to properly monitor the baby’s heart rate or inform the mother of the drastic change in heart rate for 13 minutes during the labor. The delay caused the terrible brain damage that led to the condition that the child will have to live with. The child does not speak much and has trouble walking and controlling her neck, as well as spasms in her arms and legs. The jury determined that the child should receive $32 million in damages, which include future medical expenses through 2091.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

Settlements and verdicts cannot bring back or replace a person’s loved one. The hope is that such a process is a step forward in the ongoing healing process families must endure. Personal injury cases can involve complex legal rules and intensive investigation. Obtaining a skilled personal injury lawyer to best protect your rights and settle the legal matter is within your best interest.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation. Pennsylvania’s Solnick & Associates LLC can help. Contact us or call us at (215) 481-9979 for a free consultation.

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