Injured PA Workers May Receive More Benefits

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed how injured workers are evaluated, opening the way for extended workers’ compensation benefits. “The court’s decision eliminated the practice of using the American Medical Association guidelines to place a cap on benefits paid out to severely injured workers,” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Until now, workers’ compensation law allowed companies to revisit injuries two years later and evaluate them as a percentage based on the AMA guidelines. If an injury fell below the 50 percent threshold, companies could reduce or cap the payments.

It’s important to note that a work injury doesn’t always fall solely within the realm of workers’ compensation benefits: if the injury happened because of a defective product/equipment or someone’s negligence, you could receive damage awards for medical costs, missed work or pain and suffering.

At Shaffer & Gaier, consultations are always free. Contact us online or call 215-751-0100, and we’ll discuss the details of your case.

U.S. Department of Labor Reports on PA Fatal Work Injuries in Pennsylvania

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a report on fatal work injuries in Pennsylvania in 2015. Overall, the number of work-related deaths decreased from 179 in 2014 to 173 in 2015. Nationwide, that number totaled 4,836.2015 Fatal Work Injuries

Each year, the study breaks down those numbers by type of incident (transportation-related, falls/slips/trips, equipment contact, violence, or “other”), type of industry, worker occupation and whether the worker was full-time or contracted. The figures are also broken down by sex, race and age.

Overall, the private construction business saw the highest number of industry-related fatalities in Pennsylvania (35), with falls, slips or trips being the major cause. Transportation/material moving and construction/extraction had the highest number of occupational-classified fatalities at 50 and 42, respectively. Pennsylvania worker deaths in 2015 included 33 individuals who were classified as contract workers. 92% of work-related deaths in PA were males, 80% were white/non-Hispanic workers, and 60% of the deaths were 25-54 years old.

In some cases, work-related deaths can be the subject of a lawsuit if it involved negligence or a product defect. To schedule a free, private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania work injury attorney, call us anytime at 855-289-1660 or e-mail us.

Construction fall ends in $1.2 Million Dollar Settlement Before Jury Selection

Shaffer & Gaier represented a union shop iron worker who was severely hurt in a construction fall. David Markowski was working at Misercorida University in Luzerne County PA. David was working on an expansion project to construct a field house for the school. The field house was designed to house various locker rooms and gym equipment inside.

The University contracted with general contractor, Sordoni Construction, to act as the general contractor and construction manager. Sordoni then hired Rise Construction to fabricate and erect steel for the field house. Rise then hired David’s employer, Mid Valley Steel, to erect the steel structure for the field house.

In January of 2012 David was assigned to work at the field house. He started working 7-10 days prior to the accident. When he came to the site, David testified that he was shown a brief training video but was never given any fall protection training. In addition, he never saw any safety personnel at the site from Rise or the general contractor, Sordoni.

On January 16, 2012, David was instructed to climb a 15 foot wall to position steel joists that were to be welded the next day. He was not given any fall protection and there were no anchor points where he was working to tie off his harness. He was in essence, walking a balance beam on a blustery January day. While he was walking the wall, David fell to the ground shattering both feet and ankles.

Shaffer & Gaier brought suit against the general contractor and sub-contractor alleging that they violated their respective safety duties. Through one of the premier construction experts in the country, Shaffer & Gaier established that both the contractor and sub contractor violated their respective duties in failing to provide a safe work environment.

Through the litigation, the general contractor filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and that Motion was originally granted by the Magistrate Judge. However, Shaffer & Gaier successfully overturned that decision and the case was prepared to go to trial. Before jury selection, the case was settled for $1.2 Million. In addition, David had a worker’s compensation lien that exceeded $300k, Shaffer & Gaier negotiated so that the lien would be totally waived. David, in essence, received a $1.5 Million dollar settlement because we were able to have the worker’s compensation lien totally waived.

Who Is Responsible After a Construction Site Accident?

It might seem obvious after a construction site accident – file a workers’ compensation claim and that’s it.  However, a workers’ compensation claim may not fully protect your legal right to full and fair compensation after a construction site accident.

Generally speaking, an injured worker is prohibited from filing any type of private lawsuit in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.  However, construction site accidents are one category of accident where that prohibition does not always hold true.

If an individual or a company other than the company that employs the injured worker was fully or partly responsible for causing the accident, then the injured worker may be able to file a private lawsuit against that person.  This legal concept is known as third-party liability.

Examples of construction site accidents in which the injured worker may have the right to file a third-party liability claim include:

  • Another subcontractor on the site fails to install proper safety and warning signs, leading to a serious trip and fall accident
  • Another subcontractor hires a worker without sufficient experience, and that worker injures another by performing sub-par work
  • A worker is seriously injured in a fall due to defective fall prevention safety equipment
  • One worker is assaulted by another worker who was hired without a basic background check, which would have revealed multiple felony convictions for violence at the workplace
  • A construction site worker is injured by a forklift driven by an operator without minimum training

If you are being asked to work on a construction site with known safety hazards, you may want to consider filing a safety complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

If, however, you have already been injured on a construction site, then it is highly advisable to seek advice from experienced personal injury lawyers.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

To set up a free initial consultation with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys after a construction site accident, contact our office online, call our Philadelphia office location at 215-751-0100, or call our New Jersey office at 856-429-0970.

Our Services


Our Latest News Posts

Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries

Nearly 50,000 patients die annually from traumatic brain injuries. Now a new study led by the University of Pennsylvania reveals that tiny blood vessels in the brain can offer clues to better treatment, according to an article from UPI’s Health … [Read More...]

Why Do ‘Slip and Fall’ Accidents Happen?

From misjudging steps to sliding on oily or wet surfaces, there are many causes of “slip and fall” accidents. But there’s one cause that’s highly preventable, according to a study by insurance provider CNA—and that is the type of flooring. The … [Read More...]