Monday, May 26, 2008

Accident Victim Receives Jury Award

The incident below is an article was written by Jamie Satterfield of The Knox News regarding a worker who fell quite a long distance, landing on concrete. As noted in the article, this worker was not anchored to a proper point that would support approximately 5,000 pounds of force as required by OSHA Standards.

There seems to be a problem relating to why a beam was removed that apparently caused the fall. It appears that "SOMEONE(S)" were not using Horse Sense in assuring that all workers in the immediate area were coordinating the work. This is pretty well obvious that the responsible parties were following Donkey methods in this incident.

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Worker wins accident verdict

$3.8M awarded in mishap on construction site

A Knox County jury earlier this week awarded a steel worker $3.8 million in damages for a construction accident that robbed him of his livelihood, and, according to his attorney, his will to live.

Jurors in Knox County Circuit Court sided with attorneys Dan C. Stanley and Travis E. Venable in their bid to recover damages for Frank Potter, 40, of Knoxville in connection with a February 2005 accident on the construction site of the Four Points by Sheraton Cumberland House Hotel on White Avenue.

The jury returned a total judgment in the case of $4.75 million but cut the verdict against Blount Contractors Inc. by 20 percent for what the panel deemed Potter's negligence in not wearing a safety harness. The attorney for Blount Contractors could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The Cumberland House Hotel is a seven-story boutique hotel whose owners include former University of Tennessee football quarterback Peyton Manning.

Potter was working for subcontractor B&M Steel Erectors on the construction of the hotel at the time of the accident.

According to Stanley and court records, Potter was on a platform on the top level of the structure under construction. That platform was being supported by a temporary support beam.

An employee of Blount Contractors removed the support beam while Potter was working on the platform, creating a trap door through which Potter fell, Stanley said.

"He fell 26 feet onto concrete," Stanley said. "He ended up crushing his pelvis, crushing his knee and crushing his face."

At the trial, which lasted more than a week, Blount Contractors argued that the firm was ordered by the general contractor to remove the support beam. Stanley said the general contractor denied that claim, and the jury ultimately rejected it as well.

Stanley said Potter is no longer able to work in the steel industry. "He has worked as a steel worker for 25 years, since he was 16 years old," Stanley said.

His injuries were permanent and painful. He's undergone hip replacement surgery and has metal pins in his knees and metal plates in his face. He suffered pain so severe and sustained that he twice threatened suicide, Stanley said.

"A psychiatrist testified his pain was so bad he tried to kill himself," Stanley said.

His medication has since been adjusted to lessen the emotional toil of what will be a lifetime spent in chronic pain, the attorney said.

Even Potter's lifestyle has been changed as a result of the accident, he said.

"The guy was active," Stanley said. "He camped. He fished."

Jamie Satterfield may be reached at 865-342-6308

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