Our client was an ironworker engaged in heavy highway construction. One morning, as he was guiding a bundle of rebar being carried by a rubber-tired mobile crane operated by another contractor at the construction site, he suffered electrocution when the crane’s boom came too close to an overhead power line. He spent six weeks in the local burn center, recovering from the extensive internal and external burns he suffered.
The workers’ compensation insurer for his employer paid all the medical expense and wage loss benefits of several hundred thousand dollars and has continued to pay these items to this day. Our client qualified for and receives Social Security Disability benefits commencing from the date of the electrocution. The combined total of the monthly benefits he receives is nearly $4,000.
On his behalf, we commenced suit in St. Louis County, Minnesota,District Court in Duluth seeking additional compensation. The insurer for the owner and operator of the rubber-tired crane moved to dismiss, asserting the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Common Enterprise Doctrine barred our claim for additional compensation over and above the workers’ compensation benefits. After the trial judge denied its motion, it settled by agreeing to pay an additional $200,000 over and above the medical expense and wage loss benefits already owed our client. Over the term of his life, he can expect to be paid several million dollars in additional workers’ compensation benefits, over and above the $200,000.