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David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section

Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement Recognized in New Jersey Law Journal’s Special Section

By JW Law

 

Date: May 2017

 

Attorney: David Wikstrom

 

Award: $2.7 Million

 

On August 28, 2017, the New Jersey Law Journal published its annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” special section, which identifies the largest reported personal injury awards for the year. Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section. The $2.7 million settlement was one of the thirty largest settlements or jury verdict awards in New Jersey for the period of August 20, 2016, and August 21, 2017.

The case:

In 2013, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, an employee of Ronell Management was hired to clean food preparation equipment at Premio Foods in Hawthorne.

Martinez-Carassco was working on a large mixing and blending machine which included large metal paddles spinning around a large bowl to mix sausage filling. As he reached under the bowl with a hose to spray down the discharge door at the bottom of the mixer, he slipped causing his hand to be pulled into the mixer. As a result, his left, nondominant hand was severed from his arm. The doctors were unable to reattach the severed arm surgically and had to perform an amputation below his elbow.

The lawsuit named Premio and included products liability claims against Apache Stainless Steel, the machine’s manufacturer. The suit also named Ronell claiming that “the workers’ compensation bar to recovery should not apply because Martinez-Carassco was directed by his employer to clean the mixer with the paddles turning, posing a substantial certainty of injury,” Wikstrom told the Law Journal.

The suit claimed that two separate safeguard devices designed to prevent the paddles from spinning when the discharge door was open, were bypassed and disabled. “One such device required the user to access a control panel several feet away and depress two buttons simultaneously for the paddles to function with the discharge door open” Wikstrom added.

Apache contended that the mixing machine was built with proper safeguards, but Martinez-Carassco contended that the design did protect against certain misuses, according to Apache’s attorney.

The attorneys said a 2003 email from Premio to Apache demonstrated that Premiohad disabled the safeguards and was aware for the ten years leading up to the accident that the machine was being operated without guards.

The parties settled two days before trial through mediation. Premio agreed to pay $2.5 million; Ronell and Apache, $100,000 each for the damages.

 

 


New Jersey Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement in NJLJ Annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” Section

The takeaways:

Workplace injuries are among the most common grounds for personal injury claims. According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 New Jersey’s private industry employers reported 72,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, resulting in an incidence rate of 2.7 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.

Martinez-Carassco case, said Wikstrom, demonstrates the importance of workplace safety.

How to protect yourself from workplace injuries?
• Never take a risk that is outside your safety protocol. Most construction accidents can be avoided if the worker a) follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety protocols
and b) follows the safety protocols of the general contractor.
• Always use your safety equipment. If you feel you need more safety equipment, ask your safety foreman.
• Never work on machines that have safety guards dismantled or bypassed. The safety guards on machines are designed for the safety of the worker.

Even when companies take appropriate workplace safety precautions, accidents happen. How employers respond to these accidents can make all the difference.

In most cases, employers, insurers, and their lawyers tend to use deceptive tactics to avoid paying compensation to the injured worker. Some of them include: blaming the victim for the accident, denying claims altogether, delaying the legal proceedings, using out of context recorded statements, refuting the cost of treatment and advising the victim to see the company doctor.

Having an experienced lawyer by your side from the very beginning can help you successfully challenge the strategies and arguments employers and insurers use to avoid paying the compensation you deserve. Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation attorneys know precisely how employers and insurance companies work, what strategies they use and how to tackle them effectively.

“Defense attorneys in product liability and workplace safety cases often try to blame each other or the plaintiff as the cause of the accident. As attorneys for the plaintiffs, we combat these arguments utilizing experts and government documents and standards such as from OSHA,” added Wikstrom.

[Read Related: Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims]
JACK WURGAFT - Partner

Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Jack Wurgaft Receives $1,125,000 Arbitration Award for Client

Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Jack Wurgaft Receives $1,125,000 Arbitration Award for Client

By JW Law

Date: May, 2017

Attorney: Jack Wurgaft and David Wikstrom

Award: $1,125,000

Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Jack Wurgaft recently received a $1, 125,000 arbitration award on behalf of his client in an auto accident case. In 2013 Wurgaft’s client, 53-year-old woman, was struck by a pickup truck that sped through a New Jersey Turnpike toll booth. The plaintiff, a toll plaza employee, was walking between the booths when she was hit. As a result of the accident, she suffered orthopedic and neurological injuries and financial losses.

As soon as they received the case, Wurgaft and Wikstrom started investigating causation. They enlisted top medical experts to establish the causal connection between the plaintiff’s injury and the accident. Generally in auto accident cases, insurance companies accept liability for the actual car crash but claim that the accident did not cause the damages claimed, and refuse to pay the victim’s medical bills. In this case, the truck driver did not have any insurance. The plaintiff sued her insurance company for Uninsured Motorist benefits.

JACK WURGAFT - Partner

Important lessons to take from this case:

Hire a Good Attorney: Cases such as this illustrate the importance of having an aggressive but compassionate attorney by your side, someone who is experienced, has a keen eye for detail, investigation and a team of experts.

If you are injured in an accident, call an attorney as soon as possible. Carry a good Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Uninsured motorist insurance is a component of your car insurance, which protects you, your passengers and your vehicle in the event of injury or damage when an at-fault driver has no auto insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance covers injuries sustained at the hands of a driver who has insurance, but the driver’s policy is insufficient to pay for all your injuries.

Don’t Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer Before Seeking a Professional Opinion: Often victims assume that the insurance companies offer the best that they can get, and so they settle. Insurance companies are here to save money.

They usually apply the three D tactic to protect their bottom line: delay, deny and defend. They delay handling your claim; then they deny you were hurt because of the accident and finally justify their decision in drawn-out court battles. That is why you need an experienced attorney by your side. A lawyer specializing in accident cases can give you the right advice on the value of your case and also explain all of the insurance benefits you perhaps are entitled to. usually apply the three D tactic to protect their bottom line: delay, deny and defend. They delay handling your claim; then they deny you were hurt because of the accident and finally justify their decision in drawn-out court battles.

Let Us Help You
If you or someone you know are hit by a careless driver while driving, call our top-rated attorneys at Javerbaum Wurgaft. Our attorneys can help you recover compensation from unreasonable insurance companies.

Read Related:

What You Need to Know Before Taking Your Next Uber/Lyft Ride

David L. Wikstrom - Partner

Wikstrom Presents E-Cigarette Litigation Seminar

David Wikstrom will be speaking for The American Association of Justice on “E-Cigarette Litigation” on June 22, 2016.  The seminar will focus on the exploding batteries in vape mechanisms which have caused serious injuries throughout the country.