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King of Prussia Mall Construction Accident Third-Party Lawsuit

WPVI TV News in Philadelphia recently reported that a worker was critically injured in an electrical accident occurring April 13th at the King of Prussia Mall. It begged the question whether adequate safety guidelines are in place to protect construction workers. Carpenters, bricklayers, roofers, electrical contractors and other subcontractors in the construction trades face the most dangerous working conditions in America. This blog will discuss legal options injured construction workers have for recovering money damages, beyond Pennsylvania workers' compensation. 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) office reports that one in five workplace deaths occur as a result of construction accidents, with 3,929 reported fatalities in 2013. Electrocution ranked as the number three cause of construction deaths, behind falls and being struck by an object.

 

In this particular accident, the worker was injured while cutting electrical cables while standing on an elevated scissor jack lift platform. The crew was under the impression that the power had been cut, however, one of the cables still carried 13,000 volts with 200 amps, resulting in severe electrical shock.

Workers Compensation And Third-Party Lawsuits

When sub-contractors begin work on a construction site, they trust that the property owner and general contractor will have taken all reasonable preliminary steps to prepare the site for a safe work environment. That include stopping all electrical power to the cables requiring cutting and replacing.

Without further investigation, it is difficult to determine whether a specific party or multiple parties shared liability for the accident. In construction accident cases like these, the workers will probably be eligible to receive medical care and wage benefits under their employer's Pennsylvania workers' compensation insurance coverage. Accepting New York workers' compensation benefits, however, means the injured workers relieve their direct employer from liability for additional compensation for pain and suffering.

Workers' compensation typically only pays a percentage of the amount of wages lost because of injuries and does nothing to compensate the injured workers for pain, suffering and other non-financial damages. Under New York Labor Law §240, the worker may also have a valid claim to file a third-party lawsuit against the property owner and other negligent parties held liable for contributing to the accident or extent of injuries. In this case, negligent parties may include the property owner, facilities engineers, or even the scissors lift manufacturer.              



 

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