Airport Worker Injury Lawsuit Jury Awards $40MApril 8, 2015
A former Seattle airport worker was awarded a $40 million verdict in his worker injury lawsuit. Brandon Afoa filed his worker injury lawsuit after he suffered paralysis and other life-altering injuries in a December 2007 accident at the Sea-Tac Airport. Jurors ruled that the airport was liable for 25 percent of the verdict, while four airlines whose vehicles were involved in the accident shared the other 75 percent.
Accident Leads to Worker Injury Lawsuit
The accident mentioned in the worker injury lawsuit occurred the day after Christmas in 2007. Mr. Afoa was preparing to leave at 2 a.m. when a ramp agent requested that he drive a large vehicle to a gate. The vehicle, known in the industry as a “push back,” is designed to tow airplanes to and from their assigned gates. Although driving the push back was not part of Mr. Afoa’s job duties, he agreed to help. According to the worker injury lawsuit, Mr. Afoa lost control of the vehicle when the steering system locked and the brakes failed.
Injuries Prompt Airport Worker Injury Lawsuit
Mr. Afoa was crushed between the push back and a heavy freight loader. The worker injury lawsuit describes the spinal and internal injuries he suffered in the accident. Medical records showed that his spine was severed as he was caught between the two heavy vehicles. He also lost the use of his right arm due to severe nerve damage. A surgical procedure outlined in the worker injury lawsuit also details that he had to have much of his intestinal tract removed due to the injuries.
Long Journey in Worker Injury Lawsuit
The seven-year effort to resolve the worker injury lawsuit has wound its way through the Washington State court system. A King County Superior Court judge had previously dismissed Mr. Afoa’s worker injury lawsuit against the airport, claiming that the Port of Seattle functions only as a landlord for the airlines. A 2013 Washington State Supreme Court ruling sent the case back to the King County Superior Court for a jury trial.
Jury Verdict in Worker Injury Lawsuit
The jury ruled that the Port of Seattle was responsible for $10 million of the $40 million verdict. The jury also assigned liability to British Airways, China Airlines, EVA Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines at 18.7 percent each, while ruling that Mr. Afoa himself was responsible for 0.2 percent of the accident. The verdict in the worker injury lawsuit also overturned the claim that the airport acted only as a landlord and held no responsibility for the activity of the airlines. A spokesman for the airport released a statement saying that it “is currently reviewing the decision of the court.”
Know Your Rights in a Worker Injury Lawsuit
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