$29,250,000 Jury Verdict – Wrongful Death at a Recycling Facility
A 19-year-old man worked at a recycling facility in Atlanta. His father and brother worked at the same facility. One of the 19-year-old’s responsibilities was to drive a front-end loader to push leftover scrap metal along the ground to clear space for the next day’s automobile shredding and recycling.
Negligent Recycling Facility Practices
The recycling facility had recently decided to begin vehicle recycling to increase their revenue, but negligently chose not to invest in the standard safety equipment used by the recycling industry to handle the task of removing gasoline from vehicles before shredding. This process is known as de-fueling. Instead, owners of the facility created their own de-fueling device called a “puncher” to remove gasoline from the cars before shredding. This device was a three-foot metal spike that was welded to a reservoir that was used to catch gasoline drained from the gas tanks. The cars were lifted with a huge crane and impaled with the “puncher” to drain the fuel. This method was not a safe and efficient way of removing the fuel. On the night of the tragic incident, gasoline remaining on the floor from the improper de-fueling procedure was ignited by a spark from the scrap metal being pushed across the floor, and the young man never had a chance to survive the fire.
The recycling facility was negligent in ensuring that the workspace was safe for its employees.
Investigating Atlanta Business Owners’ Negligent De-Fueling Process
Shiver Hamilton Campbell used its extensive investigative resources in this wrongful death case to gather critical evidence the defendant sought to hide from them. Management at the facility initially told investigators that the de-fueling process was safe. The legal team’s investigation uncovered that employees were concerned about the de-fueling process and had complained to management, but the company ignored their concerns. There had also been numerous fires and sparks in other parts of the facility.
Shiver Hamilton Campbell learned during its investigation that after safety concerns were raised, the recycling company went back to the manufacturer of the safe de-fueling system and was quoted around $5,000 for installation but chose not to purchase the equipment and instead placed more value on profits that on the safety and well-being of its employees. They even attempted to hide this fact from investigators.
These facts directly contributed to the unusually large verdict and punitive damages awarded by the jury in this case.
Compensation for Families of Wrongful Death Victims
Shiver Hamilton Campbell’s team of experienced Atlanta lawyers represented this young man’s family in a wrongful death civil suit against the recycling facility’s insurance carrier. The litigation, which lasted several years, was complex and very hard fought. The insurance carrier and recycling center argued that they were immune from being sued as the young man’s employer. The defendant also asked the jury to place 100% of the blame on another employer who they falsely claimed had violated company policy.
Monetary and Non-Monetary Damages Awarded
After an 8-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the young man’s estate. The jury found the recycling company 100% responsible and awarded the family additional punitive damages to punish the company for the negligent way it handled gasoline removal at the facility. The jury’s verdict was $29.25 million, and the insurance carrier settled the case confidentially after the jury verdict was reached.
Compensation in a wrongful death case in Atlanta includes both monetary and non-monetary damages. Monetary damages may include lost income over the lifetime of the decedent and costs related to the death, such as funeral expenses or medical bills. Non-monetary damages are intangible items such as the pain and suffering felt by the decedent before his death, as well as by family members after his death.
Holding Businesses and Insurance Companies Accountable
The skilled Atlanta wrongful death attorneys of Shiver Hamilton Campbell strive to put grieving families on an equal footing with insurance companies and corporate defendants. As a result, Shiver Hamilton Campbell has won some of the highest settlements and verdicts for wrongful death cases in Atlanta.
Insurance companies representing firms that experienced serious workplace accident injuries or deaths have an adversarial relationship to victims’ families. They immediately and aggressively begin gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and seek to build a defense to protect themselves from liability. Shiver Hamilton Campbell recognizes that families of those who have died because of a company’s negligence and negligent practices need a strong advocate through the legal process to protect their rights at precisely the time they are most incapacitated by grief.
Trust a Team of Dedicated Wrongful Death Attorneys
Shiver Hamilton Campbell brings compassion and zeal to every case. The firm’s legal team dedicates whatever resources necessary to make sure clients are treated fairly and fight for the justice they deserve. They don’t take quick settlements that leave families unable to recover from the financial and emotional loss of a loved one’s wrongful death.
They know there is more at stake than just a legal judgement, that clients often need counsel across a range of problems and issues that go beyond the particulars of their case. They value the people they represent as deserving of justice and respect.
The Atlanta wrongful death lawyers of Shiver Hamilton Campbell also prepare all their cases to go to trial, alerting insurance companies and corporate defendants that they will not settle for anything less than full justice for their clients. Preparing the case for trial is the only way to consistently achieve the best outcomes for clients. Opposing counsel know that Shiver Hamilton Campbell’s clients are represented by skilled and experienced trial lawyers with all the necessary legal resources to win jury judgements.
Shiver Hamilton Campbell is proud of the outcome in this wrongful death case and honored that the young man’s family had the trust and courage to see the case through all the way to verdict.