Seattle construction accident victim finally sees some justice for his accident, but the award seems far too low
On Thursday, a former crane operator received $1.45 million for injuries that he suffered in the collapse of a Bellevue construction crane four and a half years ago. Lease Crutcher Lewis, a Seattle-based general contractor, and Magnusson Klemenic Associates, an engineering firm in Seattle, were both found to be negligent and were held responsible for the injuries suffered by Warren Yeakey. The Yeakeys were disappointed with the settlement, which was significantly less than the $12 million that the couple sought. Warren was found 100% disabled by the state Department of Labor and Industries, and the settlement reflected economic damages, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. He is unable to work, and his wife must stay home to take care of him. He was operating the 210 foot tall crane in 2006 when it came crashing down on two buildings, causing several serious injuries and one fatality. Matt Renda, the lawyer representing Warren Yeakey, said that the crane should have been inspected more closely after operators heard a loud noise.
This settlement is outrageously low considering the damages Warren Yeakey suffered. Not only is he 100% disabled, meaning he is unable to work, he is in constant pain and often has nightmares about the accident. Unfortunately, Washington does not have punitive damages, which likely would’ve made this settlement much higher. The settlement seems much too small simply for the lifetime of medical bills and lost wages. Once you include the pain and suffering that the victim has had to endure, the settlement wreaks of injustice. The accident was caused by the two firms cutting corners to increase profits. In order to prevent companies cutting corners, we need to fairly compensate the victims of accidents that are caused by this irresponsible behavior. As a Bellevue construction accident attorney, it pains me to see a settlement like this that likely will not be able to fully cover medical expenses down the road.
In a Bellevue construction accident like this one where a contracting company or an engineering firm’s negligence leads to an accident that causes damages to a victim, the victim has a right to be compensated fairly for their injuries. In this case, I believe that the victim deserved more money than he received for his damages.