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Workers reach settlement in collapsed garage tragedy

You may remember our blog reporting about the collapse of a South Florida parking garage that injured or killed a total of nine construction workers. The wrongful death civil suit in that case has concluded, with relatives of the four deceased workers receiving settlements in connection with the case. The five injured workers also benefitted from the financial compensation offered by defendants, Ajax Building Corp., and several other subcontractors. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Authorities report that the concrete garage at Miami-Dade College's west campus collapsed on the workers during October 2012. The accident was so severe that one worker's body could not be recovered for a full week; the debris pile was too unstable for recovery teams to enter. The collapse of the five-story, $20 million garage had wide-reaching impacts, forcing the 8,000 students at the campus to attend classes at other locations until after the new year.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors levied a total of $38,000 in fines against Ajax and four other contractors, largely because safety measures were not adequate to protect workers on the site. Serious violations included missing welds in critical support columns. These structural supports were not reinforced according to code, and some 18 columns had never been inspected. This created an incredibly hazardous work environment, which ultimately led to the tragic deaths and injuries.

Family members in this case sued for wrongful death; claims associated with that type of suit include loss of consort, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Further, the injured victims likely sought compensation for their extensive medical bills. They may have recovered funds for pain and suffering and emotional distress as well. Workers' compensation claims in this case may also have contributed to the financial benefits afforded the workers. Many of those compensation claims provide additional money for disfigurement that may prevent a worker from gaining employment in the future. Individuals who have suffered injury on the job should consult a qualified personal injury attorney to determine their legal options.

Source:  claimsjournal.com, "Workers, families settle over Florida garage collapse" No Author Given, May. 03, 2013

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