Zip Line Case-Settled for One Million Dollars
Zip line company operates a 600- foot zipline in the mountains of Western Maryland. The owner/defendant of the zipline company and his employees construct the zipline. The zip line had regular inspections.
On the day of the accident, the Plaintiff/employee and his boss who was the owner/defendant and builder of the zip line were working with a group of several customers to ride the zip line.
Plaintiff/employee’ s initial responsibility was to ride down the zip line, unhook himself, let owner/defendant know that he was ready and then catch the customers as the rode to the bottom of the zipline which was on a platform.
The owner/defendant’s responsibility was to wait until Plaintiff/employee arrived at bottom of zipline, unhooked himself and then after Plaintiff/employee indicated he was ready, the owner/defendant would then send customers down the zip line and Plaintiff/employee would catch them.
The company had procedures in place where once an employee lands safely at the end of the zip line, a command of “ready” is yelled across to the employee waiting on the other side. Once the employee lands safely, plants both feet on the ground, disconnects from zip line and unhooks, and finally responds “all Clear”, then the next person can be sent down the zip line safely.
Owner/defendant noticed that Plaintiff/employee’s feet were on the ground at the landing area and then sent the first customer down without waiting for Plaintiff/employee to indicate he was unbuckled and ready to catch the first customer.
Plaintiff/employee was still attached to the zip line. Plaintiff/employee then lost his traction and was propelled back up the zip line where he met head-first with the customer in the middle of the zip line in mid-air, approximately 40 feet above ground level. Plaintiff/employee was unconscious but breathing.
Fire Rescue crew extracted Plaintiff/employee from zip line and he was airlifted to University of Maryland-Shock trauma. Owner/defendant had a written liability waiver that was filled out by Plaintiff/employee.
Owner/defendant gave a statement to the police that owner/defendant called out ready, not Plaintiff/employee and then owner/defendant sent the next customer down the zip line. Owner/defendant had his back to Plaintiff/employee when he yelled clear as he was talking to other people.
As a result of the work-related accident Plaintiff/employee sustained the following injuries: Subarachnoid hemorrhage, traumatic Brain injury, closed fracture clavicle, post traumatic seizures, pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, back pain, and neurogenic bladder.
He had only been working part-time at the zip line and would never be able to return to work with the same employer. In addition, he was very limited in the type of work he could do in the future and was only 36 at the time of the accident.
Initially, a workers Compensation claim was filed and was settled for the full value of permanent and total disability as well as a Medicare set aside.
A third- party claim was also filed against his owner/defendant. Normally you can -not sue your employer, however if the employer is the direct actor whose negligence caused the accident than you can sue your employer.