Permanent Injuries From Defective Mill Equipment

After an injured worker’s first attorney died, we were asked to continue the prosecution of a case for a log truck driver who was injured by a defective “wrapper rack” at an Oregon wood products mill. A wrapper rack is intended to protect drivers from injury from falling logs during the process of unloading log trucks. The rack in this case did not extend evenly against the logs on the truck, allowing a gap between one end of the rack and the logs. The mill lacked instructions about what to do when that happened. Two logs fell, one breaking the driver’s leg, the other causing a brachial plexus injury (damage to the nerves through the shoulder), which caused weakness and loss of function in the man’s arm and hand. We worked with experts in forest engineering, log truck driving, wood products industry safety training, mechanical and hydraulic engineering, vocational counseling, and rehabilitation medicine to prepare for trial. The case settled for a confidential amount shortly before the trial date after one of our engineering experts was allowed to test the machine, which demonstrated that the rack did not operate as the mill intended.