According to Tri City Herald, the Prosser school district has settled a personal injury lawsuit with a former student who suffered a hand injury in shop class five years ago. The school district agreed to pay Juan Copado $75,000 in damages related to a November 2006 accident in Prosser High School.
Copado, now 18, suffered severe cuts on his left hand while operating a table saw in school’s wood shop class. The district’s insurance company indicated the school admitted to liability in agreeing to the settlement. Copado’s initial complaint sought $325,000.
As part of the settlement, the plaintiff has agreed to keep the terms confidential and not talk about the case. According to court documents, Copado was using a table saw in the wood shop in the school during class taught by Jared Merrick. Copado’s left hand went into the saw blade and cut the middle finger, index finger and thumb. His middle finger was cut severely and hung loosely with tendons and nerves severed in the middle and index finger. He was rushed to Prosser Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Kadlec Medical Center.
Copado’s medical bills exceeded $30,000, according to the suit which blamed the school district and its table safe which did not have safeguards. The plaintiff also alleged that his teacher did not instruct him to use a featherboard, which is a safety device for cutting small pieces of wood. The school district initially said it had no responsibility for the claim and that solely the student was to blame for injuries sustained. Prosser’s insurance group advised that it would be best to settle the lawsuit to cover legal expenses and compensation for damages.