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Ohio jury awards $39 million in wrongful death lawsuit

A Cleveland area jury recently awarded $39 million in a lawsuit for the death of a construction inspector who was killed in 2010 on I-271 while working on a highway repaving project.  

In the fatal accident, which occurred very late at night, the 41-year-old victim was struck by a car and killed. The driver of the car was not charged with a crime.

The victim's family filed the wrongful death lawsuit against the construction company that was conducting the repaving project, which is one of the largest paving companies in Ohio.

An attorney for the victim's family stated that the working conditions on the paving project were "ridiculously dangerous." The jury clearly agreed with that assessment, as the $39 million award included $19 million in compensation for the family and another $20 million in punitive damages against the paving company.  

Punitive damages are sums of money that are awarded by a jury with the intent to punish the defendant and discourage the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.  

Although the loss of a loved one is a tragedy for which no amount of money can adequately compensate, hopefully the family feels some sense of justice being served by the jury's large punitive award for the unsafe conditions that led to their family member's death.  

However, their legal battle is far from over. After receiving the verdict, a representative for the company stated that the company was not responsible for the accident and is disappointed in the verdict. The company intends to appeal. The appeals process can be lengthy and complicated, so it could be quite a while before the matter is completely resolved.   

Source: 5abc.com, "Jury awards $39 million in fatal I-271 repaving accident," April 5, 2014

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