Over six years ago, a contractor for a road work company left to do some work on the shoulder of Highway 101 in California. He came back a different person. His company requested a lane closure from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and was denied. In an attempt to protect its employees, the man’s company placed a barrier backhoe in the way of oncoming traffic. Caltrans ordered them to move it. Caltrans then placed a work light in a position that created a blinding glare for drivers.
It was a perfect storm of safety issues, and it led to one worker getting struck by a vehicle while he worked. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and is now a quadriplegic. Caltrans investigated the accident for seven hours, never reprimanded anyone and never had safety meetings in relation to the tragedy.
Now, six years later, a jury has found Caltrans responsible and has awarded the 26-year-old man $56.5 million dollars to pay for the medical expenses he will incur for the rest of his life. This is the biggest compensation in California history for a dangerous conditions case. Caltrans was also ordered to pay another construction worker $2.7 million for lost wages, PTSD and medical expenses.
The money won’t return things to the way they were, but it will help these workers take care of themselves, and it sends a message that safety should always be the number one priority. If a loved one has suffered a brain injury because of negligence, you may want to speak with a personal injury attorney.
Source: krcrtv.com, “Jury orders Caltrans to pay $56.5 million in injury case,” Haleigh Pike, February 2, 2017