Colorado man awarded settlement after paralyzing work accident

For the many different types of professions, there are a number of different types of injuries that workers can sustain on-the-job. Many injuries have long-term and even permanent affects on workers, making it difficult to return to work and their way of life prior to the injury.

Severe injuries can permanently change a worker’s life. One Colorado man sustained a back injury while on-the-job nearly seven years ago that changed his life. He had been atop a telephone pool doing some work when it snapped, causing him to fall over 20 feet to the ground. He was immediately paralyzed from the waist down.

The fall fractured his spine. The young man who had likely been active and easily performed his job as a transmission lineman was unable to walk after the fall. Any future plans he had professionally likely changed after that work accident.

An investigation into the incident showed that the pole the man had been working on broke due to internal rot. The man had inspected the pole, even hitting it several times, to make sure that it was sturdy enough to climb. Others who are experienced in the field agreed that the pole appeared sturdy.

The man brought a lawsuit against the company that owned the telephone pole, a lawsuit that made its way to the Colorado Supreme Court. A jury had awarded the man a multi-million dollar award for the injuries he sustained and the company appealed. But now the Supreme Court has ruled that the company is liable. The company should have performed periodic inspections on the pole to check for internal rot and that failing to do was what caused the life-altering injury.

While the compensation will never give the man the full use of his legs again, it will help with things like medical bills, lost wages, and even the cost of equipment he may need in order to get from place to place.

Source: Denver Post online, “Colorado Supreme Court upholds $18 million judgment against Qwest,” 24 May 2011

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