Personal Injury Case Summaries
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From Ping Pong Defense to Six-Figure Settlement
In November 2007 general contractor Washington Hanover LLC was constructing The Olivian Tower in Seattle, WA; a 27-story building. Hanover hired Otto Rosenau and Associates, Inc., as a subcontractor to perform work at the construction site. Hanover Construction also hired SAK Concrete Construction as the subcontractor responsible for concrete work at the construction project which included delivering, pouring, and installing concrete on the upper floors of The Olivian.
On November 8, 2007, J.R., a soils and concrete testing specialist, was employed by Rosenau and Associates, Inc. to perform special inspection and testing at the construction site. While J.R. was at the work site, an employee used a hammer to unmold a concrete form on the 6th floor of the building. The employee dropped a seven-pound construction nailer off the building which hit J.R. in the head. J.R. fell face-down on the ground and briefly lost consciousness. The area where J.R. stood was not red-flagged or cordoned off in any way, although construction was taking place directly overhead.
“Thank God I had that hard hat on ‘cause I’m certain it would have killed me otherwise,” J.R. said when describing the accident. J.R.’s right shoulder was badly injured as a result of twisting during his fall to the ground and hitting an electrical transformer box. J.R. also suffered a large contusion on his left elbow from the nailer.
J.R. suffered significant physical and neurological damage from the accident, including headache, neck stiffness, memory loss, cognitive impairment, excessive sleep, off balance, and ringing in his ears. His shoulder injury was so severe that J.R. was unable to resume his previous job activities until October 2008, over a year after the accident. He eventually had shoulder surgery but was permanently restricted from activities requiring lifting over 30 pounds or requiring repetitive use of the right shoulder and arm at or above the mid-chest to shoulder level.
J.R. hired Kannin Law Firm P.S. to handle his personal injury claim. After months of failing to respond to Kannin Law Firm’s settlement demands, Hanover made a low-ball offer of $39,000. This was summarily rejected by the plaintiff, whose medical bills alone were over $40,000.00.
In September 2011 Kannin Law Firm P.S. filed a lawsuit against all parties who were potentially liable, including Hanover, the concrete subcontractor, the property owner, and the owner of The Olivian Tower. Hanover and all the other defendants denied liability.
Kannin Law Firm P.S. worked on proving liability by gathering evidence about the accident, including J.R.’s written and verbal statements, the accident reports created by Hanover, photographic evidence to show the stages of the construction progress, and medical reports.
Kannin Law Firm engaged the services of Rick Gleason, a professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington, to testify as an expert witness in the case. After reviewing the evidence, Gleason concluded that contractor failed to comply with administrative code regulations for protecting workers from falling objects because they failed to adequately cordon off the area where construction was taking place. They also failed to put up enough safety netting to prevent construction tools or materials such as the concrete form holder which struck J.R. from falling off the building to the ground.
The defendants responded with what Mr. Kannin referred to as the “Ping Pong Defense”; claiming that they were not responsible as no one could have predicted that the nailer would ping-pong off the building at such a trajectory and hit J.R.
The trial was set for April 2012, but after J.R. gave his deposition to Hanover’s attorneys, and Mr. Kannin sent a request for discovery of all Hanover’s plans and procedures for complying with safety regulations, Hanover’s attorneys suggested a settlement.
John Cooper, a professional mediator from Washington Arbitration and Mediation Services, was hired for the mediation which took place on December 21, 2011. After 4.5 hours, the case finally settled for $200,000.
Kannin Law Firm Personal Injury cases of note include:
Case: Injured client v. government defendant, slip and fall personal injury
Result: $400,000 settlement
Case: J.V. v. King County, jail guard misconduct tort claim at King County jail
Result: $165,000 settlement
Case: D.P.V. v. ____, motorcycle accident
Result: $33,000 settlement
Case: M.W. v. T.S.: Personal Injury in King County crosswalk
Result: Five-Figure settlement.
Case: J.R. v. H.D. motorcycle accident, personal injury
Result: $250,000 settlement
Case: J.C. v. I.D. Rear-end collision, personal injury
Result: $35,000 settlement (insurance company initially offered $2,500)
Case: I.B. v. Washington State Patrol, tort claim
Result: $152,000 settlement
Case: A.J. v. Hair Salon, hair discolored and some hair lost
Result: $27,000 settlement
Case: J.R. vs. Washington Hanover LLC, Personal Injury at a Construction Site
Result: $200,000 settlement
Case: A.F. v. Seattle Schools, Personal Injury from Seattle School District Negligence.
Result: Five-Figure settlement.
Case: W.T. v. C.M.: Life Insurance Dispute.
Result: Five-Figure Settlement.
Case: J.D. v. Columbia County, jail guard misconduct tort claim at county jail
Result: $50,000 settlement plus attorneys’ fees & costs