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Jury Rules Accident Caused by Poor Loading Dock Procedures

A jury recently ruled the injuries of Paul Michalec, a 47 year old chief engineer, were caused by poor loading dock procedures.

Michalec’s injuries occurred on May 28, 2015, when he and a co-worker drove to American Supply Co., Inc., in Philadelphia to pick up materials. Michalec’s co-worker positioned their vehicle as instructed, but while Michalec was loading materials onto the vehicle, the dock plate slipped off, causing him to fall four feet, injuring his left leg, knee, and back.

Following the incident, Michalec was taken by ambulance to the emergency room and treated for a laceration to his left leg.

In the days following, he experienced pain in his left knee and lower back and was prescribed a course of physical therapy over the course of six months. Following an MRI, he was diagnosed with several back injuries, as well as aggravation of existing injuries.

Michalec underwent surgery six months after the incident and resumed physical therapy for his knee and lower back. He continued to see his orthopedic surgeon for back pain and began seeing a pain-management specialist, and underwent a series of epidural injections of a steroid-based painkiller to his lumbar spine. At the time of trial, he was still receiving treatment for his back.

Michalec filed a lawsuit against American Supply Co., claiming the company’s negligence in “failing to implement proper loading dock procedures” caused his injuries.

Expert Testimony Concluded American Supply Responsible for Michalec’s Injuries

An industrial safety expert testified on Michalec’s behalf and concluded it was American Supply’s “… failure to heed the warnings on the tire ramps and violation of OSHA standards on dock-plat usage were causes and contributing factors in the incident.”

Michalec’s knee surgeon also causally related the tear to the incident and stated the patient would experience “diminished range of motion and arthritic changes in the future.” Additional expert testimony from Michalec’s doctors stated the patient would require multiple surgeries in addition to the procedure he’d already undergone and labeled him “permanently disabled.” Michalec testified on his own behalf, stating he is in “constant pain and that the incident had limited his daily activities.

American Supply argued that Michalec and his co-worker were responsible for Michalec’s injuries and that the company did nothing wrong.

Michalec sought compensation for existing and future medical costs, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. His wife also sought compensation for the household work she has taken on since Michalec has been injured.

The jury found American Supply 100 percent liable for Michalec’s injuries and awarded him $573,000.

Incidents such as these happen every day and people’s lives are changed forever because of negligence in the workplace. Though the risk is higher in industrial environments, any workplace can be dangerous. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or through someone else’s negligence, we can help. For more information, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 to learn more.