Injured Worker Sues Poultry Plant and Managers After Floor Collapse
An injured Pilgrim’s Pride worker has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company and two of its managers after a floor collapse led to serious injury. Daniel Kendall and a coworker were seriously injured when the floor area above a storage room suddenly collapsed. A supervisor was killed. According to the lawsuit filed against Pilgrim’s Pride, Kendall suffered “catastrophic” injuries. The complex manager and the project manager are both named as codefendants in the lawsuit.
The defendants allege that Pilgrim’s Pride had a policy of not hiring general contractors (non-employees) for plant projects. This left one of the named defendants in charge of the project. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant knew that the floor was unstable and allowed crews in there anyway. That negligence led to one death and at least one other life-altering injury.
The project manager attempted to brace the floor with a scissor lift device that was normally used for elevating workers. It was on this basis that the crew were allowed to work in dangerous conditions. Another manager is being blamed for witnessing the crew working in a dangerous area and allowing them to continue.
What about workers’ compensation?
Texas is one of a handful of states that allow large companies not to carry a workers’ compensation policy. However, large companies that don’t bother to carry a workers’ comp policy can be sued by their employees. Companies that carry workers’ comp insurance are immune from most tort lawsuits so long as the workers’ compensation insurer agrees to pay. In cases where they don’t, the action can once again be converted into a personal injury claim instead of a workers’ comp claim.
What will happen?
We don’t know the specifics behind why workers’ compensation is being circumvented. We can assume that OSHA will step in to investigate what happened and issue fines, sanctions, and force policy changes. The lawsuit appears to be on solid legal footing, unlike the workers who will be plaintiffs. So long as the issue isn’t forced into a workers’ compensation claim, they will be paid handsomely and may be awarded punitive damages for gross negligence on behalf of their employees.
The company is at fault because they placed an unqualified manager in charge of the job. This manager made a fatal decision to use a forklift to support a failing floor. The floor failed in spite of the forklift and one person died, another was catastrophically injured, and we assume the other ended up at the hospital as well.
So far as personal injury lawsuits go, this one is checking all the right boxes.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another party, call the Houston personal injury lawyers at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.