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Settlement Of $7.8 Million Reached In Case Involving Philadelphia Construction Site Injury

Plaintiff Raymond DeMarco filed a personal injury lawsuit against Loftus Construction Inc. in a Philadelphia court after falling approximately 10 feet while working on a construction project. Loftus was the general contractor on the project. The claim asserted that a railing that was attached to scaffolding had collapsed, resulting in DeMarco’s fall. The victim suffered severe spinal injuries and then later developed pneumonia while under hospital care. A settlement of $7.8 million has been reached.

The defendant was alleged to have violated the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards by failing to maintain safe working conditions. With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created OSHA to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. In recent years, workplace safety has improved as a result of the efforts of this organization.

Accident Details

An attorney representing the plaintiff states the accident was “completely preventable” and left the victim unable to work. DeMarco has been sandblasting and painting a bridge near Willow Grove Avenue in Philadelphia at the time. Loftus Construction claimed they were not responsible for the accident and said that how the accident occurred remains unknown. The defense claimed that DeMarco was a statutory employee and the company should have immunity based on the provisions of the Workers Compensation Act.

Settlement Reached

The contract which the company entered with the local government required the contractor to maintain $1 million in general liability insurance and $10 million in “excess coverage.” Additionally, insured parties included the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the City of Philadelphia in the policy. Although the defendant denied liability, Nautilus, the insurance carrier involved, had agreed on the terms of the resolution. One attorney involved stated that the settlement was the result of extensive mediation.

Pennsylvania Fatal Occupational Accident Data 2017 [1]

Total

Violence

Transportation

Fire/Explosion

Slips/Falls

Harmful Substances

Struck By Object

172

27

61

5

19

26

34

Statutory Immunity

The defense claimed that they were immune from a personal injury suit because they pay Workers Compensation Insurance, which pays for medical care, lost wages, etc. Ordinarily, unless the employer does not maintain Workers Compensation Coverage, no civil action for recovery is allowed. There is an exception if the injuries are the result of intentional actions by another employee or a third party.

Usage of Mediation

The Pennsylvania Bar Association describes the process of mediation as being confidential and involves using an independent party to help both sides reach a resolution. The mediator does not render a decision but instead seeks to develop an agreement that the parties mutually approve. Mediation may be an option used at any point during the process of litigation.

When mediation is unsuccessful, the options include continuing with a trial or entering arbitration. The mediation concept is a “problem-solving technique” that is used widely in U.S. courts. It is typically viewed as being both efficient and cost-effective, particularly when compared to lengthy civil litigation.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/tgs/2017/iiffw42.htm

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.

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