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Jury award benefits teen hurt at construction site

All across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, people see workers building offices, remodeling storefronts, paving roads and any number of other similar job sites. Cities, towns and neighborhoods always seem to have heavy equipment and scaffolding in use or at the ready. It can be a problem, though, when a construction site accident or injury occurs—either to a worker or a passerby.

Builders and other tradesmen are safety-conscious as they go about their tasks. If they get hurt in a construction accident of some type, workers' compensation benefits can help with the bills until they've recovered. But what happens when a non-worker is hurt while simply passing by a job site? Careful evaluation of the circumstances may show liability for the injury rests with the construction company.

A recent jury awarded a teenager $725,000 in compensation for injuries to his face that occurred in a construction site accident. The defendant company was constructing an office building when the then 13-year-old rode his bike past the site. The complaint claimed that beams loaded on a backhoe encroached on the sidewalk by two feet. Facial cuts, mouth and teeth injuries were suffered when the boy collided with the beams as he was riding past. Oral and plastic surgeries and more than 60 doctors' visits were needed to repair his torn cheek and the other injuries to his face. The jury also awarded $185,000 to the boy's parents.

The construction company accepted responsibility for the accident the day it happened. The plaintiffs had requested damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of normal life and disfigurement in their suit.

There are occasions when companies and their insurers offer settlements to injured parties, and court cases do not go forward. Other times, the amounts requested and offered between the plaintiffs and defendants are so far apart a jury must decide the value based on clear presentation of the evidence. Regardless of the legal method, injuries sustained deserve compensation, and liability for negligent behavior must be assessed.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "$910,000 Award for Bicycle Accident" Joe Harris, Jan. 20, 2014

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