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Company delays payment of workplace injury award

After an explosion rocked an Ohio power plant, one worker is looking to receive the compensation that was awarded to him after a suit was successfully filed against his employer. Two juries have found that the employer was at fault for the explosion but has yet to pay anything to the victims. According to court documents, the man has won $5.57 million. This was after his offer to settle for workers' compensation benefits and medical costs associated with his injuries was refused, according to his attorney.

The explosion happened at the Muskingum River Plant, which is owned and operated by American Electric Power. According to reports, a truck was delivering hydrogen to the plant on Jan. 8, 2007, when an explosion occurred at one of the hydrogen storage units. The explosion caused the death of one individual and injured nine others.

In the blast, the above man sustained injuries to his back, neck and shoulder, which required surgeries and led to high medical bills for him and his family. According to a June 2011 ruling, the company disregarded safety standards, which contributed to the explosion.

A recent hearing was held to address the delayed payments. According to records, the hearing addressed prejudgment interest, which is only a part of cases that involve a defendant that is delaying a resolution. This suggests that the energy company is not engaging in settlement negotiations, and, with plans to appeal, the company may continue behaving in a similar fashion.

Besides the settlement offer that asked American Electric Power to waive its lien against workers' compensation for the man and pay future medical costs, another settlement was put on the table. Both of these would have cost the company much less than the amount awarded. Companies should be held accountable for failing to live up to their responsibility to keep workers safe.

Source: The Marietta Times, "Worker waits for $5.57M judgment," Kevin Pierson, Apr. 11, 2012

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