Employer forces injured employee back to work lifting furniture causing additional injury
(Employer causes a dangerous condition that causes serious injury to an employee. Employer denies they did anything wrong. Evidence is produced at trial proving our client’s case and a large verdict is awarded by the jury).
Our 21-year-old client had suffered a serious back injury on the job requiring surgical repair to his spine. He worked moving desks and other furniture for a contractor who had the contract for supplying a large local school district. The company he worked for did not have Texas Workers Compensation insurance. Because of this, in order to force the company to pay for the injuries caused, we were forced to show some kind of negligence on the part of the employer in causing the injury in question. The company claimed that they were not negligent, that our client’s injury was from the normal course of his work, and that they had done nothing “negligent” to cause the injury in question.
Our client said he had been working moving furniture without assistance for several hours at a local school. He started to feel some pain in his lower back and told his employer that he needed to take a break, that his back was starting to hurt and that he needed to stop for the day. Our client said that his boss (the owner of the company who was on-site) told him that if he did not get back to work that he would be fired. His employer did not provide any assistance or direct any other employees to help him. Our client then got back up and continued to try and move more furniture. As he was attempting to move a large desk he felt a pop in his spine and extreme pain. His injury turned out to be a herniated disc that required surgical repair. His employer denied his claims to pay for the injury caused. We filed a lawsuit and began taking depositions.
During the deposition, the employer denied that our client had complained of his back hurting. The employer denied telling our client to get back to work or that he would be fired. The employer stated that our client had proper safety equipment and training and that he had no indication that our client was needing assistance. We filed a lawsuit and took the case to trial.
At trial, the employer stuck by his story. Our office interviewed the janitors at the school where this took place. Several of the janitors actually witnessed what happened. They testified that our client had been working hard moving furniture for several hours. They witnessed our client sitting on the ground after his back became sore. They witnessed the employer walking up to our client, our client complaining that his back was hurting and needed to take a break, and then hearing the employer threaten our client with his job. They saw our client get back to work and then heard him yell out when his back gave out. All this testimony was delivered to the jury. The jury awarded a large 6 figure verdict in favor of our client (more than double the amount that we had offered to settle the case).
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