A jury awarded a Florida man $64 million for severe injuries that he suffered in a construction accident four years ago.
Robert Matthews, 25 at the time of the accident, was working at a construction site in Polk County. Matthews was working to install a pre-fabricated building for Mosaic Fertilizer, which owns a large phosphate mine, when the accident happened.
Semco Construction had prepared the site prior to the installation of the pre-fabricated building. Matthews’ lawyer argued that the site was not properly prepared by the company. When Matthews began removing the axils and wheel on the pre-fabricated building, the building fell on top of him.
During the trial, Matthews’ attorney said his client injured his pelvis and his hip was fractured. He had an artery in his right leg that was severed. He spent three months in the hospital, and the injuries left him permanently disabled even after numerous surgeries. His lawyer said he would have to live with the injuries that he suffered in the accident for the rest of his life. He was never expected to survive after the accident.
His lawyer claimed that neither Mosaic, Semco nor Williams Scotsman, the company that manufactured the building, had the necessary building permits for the job and were thus extremely negligent.
The jury deliberated for four hours before returning the multi-million dollar verdict. The jury decided that Mosaic was 75% responsible for the accident. Semco was found to be responsible for 15 percent. It was also required to pay $500,000 of Matthews’ attorney fees. Under Florida law, responsibility can be divided between parties involved in litigation. Matthews’ employer, Mark Rice Inc., was found to be 10% responsible.
Mosaic had tried to settle case for an undisclosed amount before the trial, but Semco was not willing to settle, so the case went to trial. The case is thought to be one of the largest jury awards ever from a construction accident.
Matthews’ attorney had argued prior to trial that the case was one of the most difficult that he had ever been a part of. He said the defense was difficult to deal with and practiced an aggressive form of litigation. Semco had wanted to settle, but the company’s insurance company was not willing to approve a settlement until right before the trial.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida construction accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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