A Pennsylvania family will receive what is being called one of the largest settlements for a workplace death in Philadelphia history. The settlement was reached just prior to the start of a jury trial on the matter.

In the summer of 2011, at a Philadelphia steam plant run by Veolia Energy, a 45-year-old man was crushed beneath an iron hook weighing 300 pounds. The man was performing an installation of electrical equipment when the piece of iron dropped 60 feet. The hook fell, according to the attorney for the man’s family, due to a lapse in safety inspections and a refusal to make important upgrades to improve safety. The upgrades should have prevented the equipment failure, which was caused by the hook breaking after being raised up too high.

Now, the man’s estate has settled with the owner of the plant, the firm responsible for inspecting the crane and the general contractor for a total of $17 million. This may be the highest settlement ever in a workplace accident case to come out of Philadelphia. Veolia Energy has agreed to pay $15 million, with the inspection firm and contractor paying the difference. The deceased man leaves behind a wife and five children.

The case settled before the parties could go to a jury trial, where it is possible that the verdict could have been for even more money. The workplace failed to properly protect its employees and is facing the consequences of that inaction. Construction accidents can be very serious, due to the heavy machinery and equipment involved. An attorney may be able to help bring a lawsuit or come to a settlement to compensate for the injuries or wrongful death that result from a workplace accident like this.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, “Workplace wrongful death yields $17 million settlement, reportedly highest in Phila. history“, Jon Campisi, February 18, 2014