Firm Newsletter: August, 2017

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter.

CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT ISSUE
Construction Accident Settlement: 7th Largest in PA in 2016
Construction fall ends in $1.2 Million Settlement Before Jury Selection

Shaffer & Gaier represented a union shop iron worker severely hurt in a fall. Our client was working at a local university on an expansion project to construct a field house for the school. The university contracted with 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, who hired our client’s employer to erect the steel structure.

In early January of 2012, our client was assigned to work at the field house. He later shared in depositions that when he came to the site, he was shown a brief training video but was never given any fall protection training and never saw any safety personnel at the site from Rise or Sordoni. When he was instructed to climb a 15 foot wall to position steel joists that were to be welded the next day, he was not given fall protection equipment 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, he fell to the ground, shattering both feet and ankles.

Shaffer & Gaier brought suit against the general contractor and subcontractor. Through one of the premier construction experts in the country, we established that both the contractor and subcontractor violated their respective duties in failing to provide a safe work environment. The general contractor filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which was originally granted by the magistrate judge, however, Shaffer & Gaier successfully overturned that decision. Before jury selection, the case was settled for $1.2 million. Additionally, the firm negotiated that the workers’ compensation lien be waived, effectively awarding our client $1.5 million.

Fellow Subcontractor’s Negligence Results in $1 Million Settlement During Trial

Another client was a construction worker performing work at the University of Pennsylvania. As he was descending a stairway, another subcontractor’s workers negligently removed a plank of wood, creating a large hole. He fell into the hole and tore his biceps, resulting in multiple surgeries. Shaffer & Gaier retained several construction experts to establish that this was an unreasonably
dangerous work site created by the negligence of the other subcontractor. After 4 days of trial, the matter settled against the subcontractors that negligently created the dangerous job site.

“THIS ONE TIME, IN COURT…”
Incredible (and sometimes downright unbelievable) stories of things that happened with cases.
(Really, they did.)

Insurance Coverage Matters.

With all the debate about health care, let there be no doubt insurance coverage matters on the health care provided.

We represented “Richard W.” some years back. He was 35 years of age with a history of high blood pressure.

He went to a Montgomery County Hospital Emergency Room with excruciating head aches and exceptionally high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, Richard did not have health insurance, due to a recently layoff from his construction job. He was placed under the care of one of the staff neurologists.

The neurologist suspected that the symptoms might be caused by a clot in the brain but did not order a CT scan. As it turns out, Richard did, in fact have a clot in his brain that was causing the headaches.

The clot moved, causing Richard to have a massive stroke. He died weeks later.

Unbelievably, the doctor admitted during his deposition that he did not order the testing because of the lack of insurance. Soon after, the case settled for a confidential sum. Let there be no doubt, insurance coverage matters in the care you actually get!

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