Our client, Elena*, had her life turned upside down after she was injured by another worker at a busy warehouse. For months she suffered from constant pain, couldn’t work, and couldn’t do the things she loved.
Despite every attempt to negotiate a fair settlement for her workplace injury claim, the company’s highest offer was in the low five figures and wouldn’t budge.
To level the playing field against a corporate giant, she needed an experienced law firm on her side. Our personal injury attorneys fully dedicated themselves to this case, and in the end secured a huge arbitration award that will provide Elena with the financial resources to compensate for her injuries.
Elena Is Injured by a Careless Warehouse Worker
Elena worked at a retail fulfillment center near San Antonio. Her job required workers to be constantly on the move around her designated work area.
One morning, as she was performing her assigned tasks, a “problem solver” crossed into her workspace. Problem solvers are employees who travel around the warehouse and help other associates with issues like broken packages, orders with missing items, and label errors.
Problem solvers often push around heavy carts carrying the equipment they need to do their jobs. For this reason, it’s extremely important they follow established procedures and take great care to avoid accidental collisions with other employees as they navigate the busy warehouse.
Unfortunately, on the morning of Elena’s injury, those rules were not followed. Elena was unaware that the problem solver was crossing her station, and as she turned around, the corner of the problem solver cart smashed into her left hip.
Elena’s Injuries Lead to Months of Pain, Suffering, and Medical Bills
After the incident, Elena spent months dealing with constant pain, mobility loss, and other physical limitations.
In addition to pain in her left hip (where the cart had made contact), MRI and CT scans revealed that Elena had sustained two herniated discs in her lower spine. This lower back injury also triggered sciatica that affected her right side as well.
Elena could not lift or carry anything heavy, and she could not bend without significant discomfort. Despite months of taking medications and performing physical therapy, the pain would not go away.
Nearly 10 months after the initial injury, Elena had back surgery to remove damaged bone and disc material and relieve the pressure on her spinal nerves. She is expected to require additional surgical procedures in the future.
Crosley Law’s Investigation Reveals a Clear Case of Negligence
It was clear that Elena suffered greatly because of her injury—not only financially, but physically and emotionally. However, the offers she received to settle her workplace injury claim were far less than fair. After the company took her off of light duty status and put her back to work in the warehouse, she felt she had to quit her job in order to protect her health. That was when she reached out to Crosley Law for help.
The employer in this case used a global claims management company to administer the claims of injured workers. Both the company and the claims management company had large legal resources at their disposal and a reputation for defending injury claims aggressively. To level the playing field, Elena needed experienced attorneys who aren’t afraid of big cases.
Our investigation revealed that important safety rules weren’t followed at the time the injury occurred.
According to the problem solver who caused the injury, Elena was not moving at the time she decided to pass by with her cart. The collision occurred because Elena suddenly and unexpectedly (from the perspective of the problem solver) turned around.
However, in a busy warehouse, employees have the right of way in their workstations and can’t always easily see or hear others approaching. It is a noisy environment with conveyor belts and large fans. Some employees wear ear protection. To avoid collisions, problem solvers are required to verbally announce themselves and make eye contact as they move through another associate’s workspace. This is similar to how a bicyclist would be expected to ring a bell or say, “On your left!” when passing pedestrians or other cyclists on a path.
In this case, the problem solver simply assumed Elena would remain stationary and did not alert her to the danger—a clear safety violation. Furthermore, during her deposition in which Tom Crosley questioned her under oath, the problem solver agreed that she hit Elena, agreed that avoiding collisions was her responsibility, and even admitted that she was in a rush at the time of the incident.
In another deposition, an operations manager at the warehouse agreed that the workplace accident happened because the problem solver failed to yield the right of way to Elena when moving through her work area.
Crosley Law Takes the Case to Arbitration and Gets a Great Award
Despite the evidence Crosley Law had collected about the incident, as well as Elena’s past and future medical expenses and suffering, the company inexplicably was still unwilling to offer a settlement. In fact, they were not even interested in mediating the case, unless Crosley Law would agree to a pre-determined cap on the amount requested.
Because this was a work injury case with a large employer, the employment contract required Elena to bring her claim via binding arbitration instead of filing the case in the public court system.
During arbitration, both sides will make opening statements, call witnesses, and present their evidence—just like a trial. But instead of a jury, the outcome of the case is decided by an independent and neutral arbitrator who makes a final decision that both sides must abide by. Often, as it was in this case, the arbitrator is a retired judge that is paid privately by the parties.
Arbitration has some advantages, but it also has disadvantages. Usually, companies want the secrecy and predictability that comes with arbitration. Sometimes, but not always, it is cheaper, faster, and somewhat more informal than a full trial. The proceedings are also private, rather than public record.
On the other hand, arbitration also comes with risks. There may be limits on what pre-trial discovery can be conducted. It may be harder for a claimant to obtain necessary evidence. An arbitrator’s decision is final and, unlike jury trials, typically cannot be appealed. Even if you feel that the arbitrator’s decision was unfair, biased, or illogical, you may not have any recourse. So, whenever possible, it’s extremely important to ensure that the arbitration agreement is fair and reasonable before signing anything.
Crosley Law has argued many cases before juries and arbitrators over the years, and we came prepared. Thanks to the hard work of attorneys Tom Crosley and Steven Nuñez, as well as our entire team, the arbitrator accepted our arguments and awarded Elena substantial compensation—more than 60 times what she was originally offered.
Injured? Call Crosley Law Today
Over the years, Crosley Law has helped people across Texas who have been injured in workplace accidents, car accidents, and more get the fair compensation they deserve. We have won millions for our clients, and we aren’t afraid to take cases to trial or arbitration and hold powerful insurance companies and employers accountable.
If you’ve been injured, give us a call for a free consultation today. There is no obligation, and you owe us nothing unless we win on your behalf. You can reach us at (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or complete the simple contact form on our website to get started.
*Name has been changed for confidentiality
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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