Thursday, January 20, 2011

Engineers injured in fall from collapsing stairs awarded $7.8M

In many workers' compensation cases, the work-related injury is caused by a another person or entity. In these types of cases (usually called "Third Party lawsuits) the injured worker can file a negligence claim against the person or entity that was at fault. Actually, many of my personal injury cases are really Third Party cases and have come to me originally as workers' compensation cases that I have determined were caused by someone else's negligence.

You may ask...why file a Third Party case when you have a valid workers' compensation claim? The main reason is that under Third Party negligence lawsuits, the plaintiff can seek pain and suffering damages. But under workers' compensation claims in Pennsylvania, the injured worker is only allowed to recover lost wages and medical bills.

The following case synopsis is an example of just such a Third Party case that was filed in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and was provided to me via

Two engineers who fell from a collapsing staircase in a research plant recovered a $7.8 million verdict. Clifford Decker and David Gillingham were working on project for Consol Energy Inc. when an exterior steel staircase, the only exit from the building, suddenly collapsed and sent them falling 14 feet to the ground. Decker fractured his femur and hip and Gillingham suffered a torn rotator cuff and shoulder impingement. The plaintiffs claimed that the 40-year-old building wasn't properly inspected. Consol Energy argued that there was no notice of a problem with the staircase, which was used numerous times without incident and showed no signs of deterioration.

Decker v. Consol Energy Inc.

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