According to a report released on April 4, an Ohio jury awarded $39 million to a family of man who was killed while working in a construction zone in Richfield Township in 2010. The man was struck by a passing vehicle, but the driver was not charged with the accident. The man was reportedly wearing the required safety gear, but the family's lawyer stated that the area was extremely dangerous because the company the 41-year-old was working for did not properly protect its employees that night.
The paving company that the man worked for was required to hire two traffic officers to help maintain safety along the roadway. Passing cars were required to slow down from a high rate of speed to 25 miles-per-hour. However, according to the lawsuit, there was only one officer on duty the night of the accident, and that officer was placed approximately halfway between both ends of where the construction was taking place.
The family filed a lawsuit against the company, citing the failure to provide the appropriate safety measures that night as negligence on their part. The jury awarded the family $19 million for the man's death and $20 million in punitive damages. The paving company will also be held responsible for paying the family's legal fees, according to the jury's verdict. The company said that they intend to appeal the decision in the future.
Families that lose a loved one as the result of another's negligence or recklessness may be able to file a lawsuit against the liable parties. In this case, a jury agreed that the fatal accident may have been avoided if the company took the appropriate measures to ensure that there were enough patrol officers on duty that night to protect the workers from speeding cars.
Source: Cleveland.com, "Jury awards $39 million to family of highway paving inspector killed on I-271 in 2010", James F. McCarty, April 04, 2014