Although an Ohio jury awarded $5.57 million to the family of an injured worker in 2011, the case remains in court five years after the accident. Attorneys for the injured worker and representatives of his employer, an Ohio electrical company, recently met for a prejudgment interest hearing, the last step before the company takes the workers' compensation case before a state appellate court.
The accident occurred in 2007, when a hydrogen storage unit exploded during a delivery. This left the worker with a number of back, neck and shoulder injuries, which required surgery to treat. The accident also resulted in a number of other injuries and one death. A jury eventually ruled that the employer failed to take steps to prevent the explosion in accordance with industry safety standards.
Now, both parties are vying for prejudgment interest, which is money awarded to a plaintiff when a defendant purposefully delays a case by failing to engage in settlement talks. This is designed to encourage both parties to work toward a settlement.
The victim's attorneys said they made two offers for less than the final awarded sum, but claimed the defendant refused them and failed to make an effort to resolve the case before it went to trial. The employer's attorney argued that the first attempt to settle was never considered a formal offer, and the second offer came too soon to the beginning of the trial.
It's also worth noting that the employer failed to even make an offer in response to the plaintiff's offer, so one could question whether or not the employer actually wanted to solve the matter.
Source: Marietta Times, "Worker waits for $5.57M judgment," Kevin Pierson, April 11, 2012