Disney Worker Death Lawsuit May Proceed, Rules Judge

A circuit judge has turned down Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ motion to dismiss a complaint submitted by a woman whose husband died while testing a ride. Terrie Roscoe sued the company in 2012, the year after her husband, attractions mechanic Russell Roscoe, was struck by a ride vehicle at the Animal Kingdom.

At the time of the work accident, Roscoe and other workers were “wet testing” the Primeval Whirl ride. This involved workers spraying water at the top of the lift platform during inspections.

According to the family’s lawyer, the accident happened while Russell was in the ride envelope, where he wasn’t supposed to be. The attorney said there was sufficient evidence indicating that managers knew where Russell was and that the worker had reasonable grounds to think that a car was not going to be launched while he was in the ride envelope.

Walt Disney argued that because Roscoe’s family was entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits Russell’s employer was immune from a lawsuit. However, modifications to workers’ compensation law in Florida allow a plaintiff to move to have that immunity overturned if he/she can prove that an employer knew that a worker was placed in a circumstance that was practically guaranteed to lead to personal injury or fatality. The plaintiff also has to demonstrate that the hazard was not obvious to the worker and the employer either hid or misrepresented the danger. The judge said that Disney had not executed the burden required to conclusively prove that “any genuine issue of material fact” did not exist.

Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation
In Massachusetts, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help injured workers and their families with their claims. While workers are typically guaranteed work injury and death benefits for job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, that doesn’t mean disputes don’t sometimes arise over how much a worker is owed.

Depending on the specifics of the accident or illness, a work injury case may even warrant a civil lawsuit—especially against third parties that are not a worker’s employer but were negligent in causing the work injury or incident. Also, if an employer is uninsured, a worker or his/her family may sue for injury or death damages.

When an employer has Massachusetts workers’ insurance coverage, a claim for benefits may be submitted regardless of who or what caused the injury or death. This means that even if the worker played a part in causing the accident, he/she is still entitled to work injury compensation.

The sooner you talk to a lawyer and file your work injury claim the sooner you will start getting the benefits that you are owed. Talk to a Boston workers’ compensation attorney today.

Lawsuit in Disney worker’s death will go on, judge rules, Orlando Sentinel, May 12, 2015

Injured Workers’ Frequently Asked Questions, Mass.gov

More Blog Posts:
$64.5M Construction Accident Verdict Awarded to Man Injured in Building Collapse, Massachusetts Workers’Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2015

Jockey Files Boston Injury Lawsuit Against Suffolk Downs After Sustaining Horse Racing Injuries, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 29, 2014

62 Massachusetts Workers Injured in On the Job Accidents Over the Last 16 Months, Massachusetts Workers’Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 24, 2015

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