Two mechanics, Marino Medina and Benjamin Munoz, were working for Fine
Air Service on a Boeing 727 cargo jet at Miami International Airport when
their cherry picker unexpectedly tipped over, hurling them more than 50
feet to the ground. Munoz died within minutes of the accident, and Medina
was severely injured. He had to undergo 16 different surgeries to repair
the physical damage that was done, but he is now able to walk with the
help of a cane. When Medina and Munoz's widow came to Stabinski &
Funt, P.A. for help with their claim, we knew that this case was going
to present a few major challenges.
First of all, Fine Air Service had spent several years in bankruptcy court,
which meant that the legal claims brought against the airline would be
stayed for several years. Secondly, the surviving worker admitted that
he and Munoz had made a mistake. They had failed to deploy outriggers
that would have stopped the lift from operating, thus preventing the accident
altogether. However, this mistake was the result of a simple miscommunication;
both workers thought that the other had put out the outriggers. Despite
their client's oversight, the team at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. focused
on a different problem.
When the machine was manufactured by Snorkel Fire Equipment in 1978, the
company failed to implement an interlocking device that would have prevented
the men from operating the machine without the extended outriggers. At
the time, that technology had already been made available. While going
through various documents and reports, the team at Stabinski & Funt,
P.A. discovered that the device could have been obtained as early as 1970
on special order; however, updated models weren't introduced until
in 1981. This discovery shifted liability from the workers onto the manufacturer.
"They argued that it was not state of the art, but we found a smoking
gun document," explained Daren Stabinski. The firm found a two-page
document which showed that the company was using interlocks on their vehicles
as an option as far back as 1970. The defense argued that these claims
were barred by the statute of reposed, based on the year that the lift
was manufactured, but Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jon Gordon ruled that this
statute did not apply. As a result, the defendants decided to settle before
the trial was scheduled to start.
widow received $750,000 and Medina received $1.35 million.
Have you been injured in a similar
workplace accident? If so, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with a Miami personal
injury attorney from Stabinski & Funt, P.A. We have been helping wrongfully
injured victims throughout South Florida since 1970, so you can trust
that your case will be in good hands.
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