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$16.3 million awarded to injured Pennsylvania worker

A settlement was reached on May 28 awards $16.3 million to a construction worker who was maimed by a 3,000-pound base stone that fell at a renovation site in Philadelphia. The man was to receive the settlement from four defendants, those being the site's contractor, the company overseeing the demolition, an engineering firm and his employer's parent company.

The 47-year-old man was working with a fellow employee in the basement area of the 106-year-old Lafayette Building. The man was in the process of installing a pole beneath one of the base stones when it gave way and fell onto him, severing his right leg and crushing his left foot. The plaintiff's coworker was not reported to have suffered any injuries in the accident.

As a result of his injuries, the worker was confined to a wheelchair. He is also afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder from the accident, which led to a 20-minute rescue effort to pull the massive stone off him. The lawsuit initially placed the blame for the accident upon the primary contractor at the site, alleging that the company disregarded correct safety processes to keep the base stones secured once workers had broken the sidewalk to install new steel for the foundation.

When a worker employed by a construction company suffers a severe and debilitating injury, that individual might not initially expect recovery beyond workers' compensation. In some cases, however, an employer's negligence with regard to safe practices may have facilitated a serious construction accident. An attorney who is familiar with such situations might recommend declining workers' compensation coverage and instead filing a personal injury claim. If the injury was caused by third-party negligence and not that of the employer, a worker may receive workers' compensation benefits and still file a lawsuit against the third party.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Injured construction worker reaches $16.3 million settlement", Jim Boyle, May 30, 2014

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