Top Construction Judgments

By Travelers
2 minutes

Large Loss Construction

A large-scale loss can come at your construction firm from any direction, but it doesn't have to derail your company. While you stay focused on growing your business, we can help you protect it. Travelers can help you protect your business against large-scale losses, like these judgments against construction companies that topped the National Law Journal's Top 100 Verdicts.1

Poorly Paved Road Led to Fatal Vehicle Collision

Illustration of a road blocked danger sign.  

$74 Million Verdict

A mother and her 12-year-old twins were traveling on a two-lane road in northern Kentucky when they were struck by a chassis cab truck. The truck’s rear tires veered off the road edge, causing the truck to become partially uplifted. The driver of the truck subsequently lost control and entered the opposing lane, killing the mother.

While the driver was not sued, the asphalt company that was hired to resurface the road was charged with not including a safety wedge, making it impossible for the truck driver to re-enter the roadway safely and avoid the crash. The company was found guilty of wrongful death.

Inadequate Training Led to Improper Use of Safety Harness

Figure falling from scaffolding.  

$26.5 Million Verdict

While installing exterior sheathing on the third floor of a building, a worker slipped on a wet surface and fell to the ground. He was wearing a harness and lifeline for fall protection, but the system was being used improperly. He was paralyzed upon impact. The injured worker filed suit against his employer and the general contractor, and the suit advanced with the general contractor as the only defendant.

The jury found the general contractor retained "some control" over safety and training, and was negligent in this instance for not properly training the employee on safety system use. The award included compensatory and punitive damages.

Failure to Inspect Led to Fatal Accident

Figure in harness on ladder.  

$27.9 Million Verdict

While climbing a utility pole during a training exercise, an energy company employee was killed when the pole broke and fell on him. His widow filed suit against the energy company that owned the pole and the construction contractor hired to inspect the poles prior to the accident. The energy company was dismissed on summary judgment, and the suit advanced with the construction company as the sole defendant.

The jury found the construction contractor guilty of negligence in failing to inspect the pole and awarded compensatory damages. Punitive damages were also considered but not awarded.

This material does not imply that coverage exists for any particular claim or loss under any insurance policy or bond issued by Travelers. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy or bond provisions, and any applicable law.

1 The National Law Journal’s 2016-2021 editions of the Top 100 verdicts in the U.S. The
verdicts summarized above do not involve Travelers insureds.

Construction workers analyzing risk while standing in a warehouse.

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