Who Was Liable?
This catastrophe, like many others, was the result of multiple negligent parties. Contractor Griffin T. Campbell and excavator operator Sean Benschop were both sentenced to prison for their role in the accident. Along with these two, three other parties were brought before a jury in the civil trial:
- Richard Basciano - A wealthy New York City real estate developer who owned the building which collapsed onto the Salvation Army. He was sued for hiring an inexperienced architect to manage the demolition.
- Plato A. Marinakos Jr. - The architect Basciano hired to oversee the demolition. He was sued because he recommended Campbell for the job and because he knew of the dangerous condition of the building but neglected to notify anyone.
- The Salvation Army - Basciano's top aide, Thomas Simmonds, issued multiple warnings of potential collapse to the Salvation Army. These warnings were ignored and never passed on to employees or customers.
All five defendants were found liable for their role in the disaster. The collapse was the result of a multi-level chain of negligence. The court determined that the Salvation Army bore the majority of the liability, at 75%.
Should I Talk To A Lawyer?
Anyone injured on the job should at least consult with an attorney. An experienced one can help analyze the specific details of your case and determine any possible negligent parties. If you have no case, you lose nothing because Monheit Law provides free consultations.
In the Philadelphia building collapse case, civil court successfully held guilty parties liable for their negligence. Not every case is as cut and dried as this one. Things get a bit more complicated for employees who are injured on the job. Even in that case, the Salvation Army employees were not permitted to sue the Salvation Army because of Workers' Compensation laws.
However, civil recourse is possible if your injuries have been caused by a negligent third party. Construction sites are diverse and made up of several different employers and workforces. Various third parties could be found liable in civil court, including:
- Independent contractors
- Property owners
- Equipment and material manufacturers
In the Philadelphia collapse, four out of five of these parties were found liable in civil court. Equipment manufacturers were the only ones not involved in the suit.
When Workers' Comp Is Not Enough
Does Workers' Compensation really protect workers? We think employers benefit much more from these laws. While successful claims may provide for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, employers get a free pass when someone else suffers from their negligence. These claims only pay for approximately two-thirds of your average weekly income. If you're out of work and trying to support your family, this is woefully inadequate.
A team of dedicated lawyers with experience fighting for workers' rights can help you receive the compensation you need. Recovering from a serious on the job injury is taxing - physically, emotionally, and financially. A favorable verdict could award you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of earning potential
- Full compensation for lost wages
- Loss of consortium
If you'd like to learn more about your legal options following a work-related injury or wrongful death, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation. Civil action is often the only recourse victims and their families have in these difficult situations.