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Pennsylvania widow may seek punitive damages in lawsuit

A U.S. District judge for Pennsylvania ruled that a punitive damage claim may be filed in a lawsuit involving a City of Philadelphia worker who died on the job. The worker's widow is suing the city and the manufacturer of the ladder that her husband was using when she fell.

The worker fell from the ladder and later died on Aug. 15, 2012. The ladder gave way while the worker was on it, and this contributed to his fall. In this workplace accident, the man's widow claims that the ladder the man was using at the time of the incident was missing nuts and bolts, and it was unsafe for him to be using.

When he fell to the ground, his head hit the concrete. He was transported to a local hospital, and surgeons operated on him in an attempt to decrease swelling to his brain. However, the efforts were not successful, and the man died four days after the incident.

The widow has filed lawsuits against the city as well as the ladder manufacturer. The ladder manufacturer has asked the judge presiding over the case to dismiss it. However, on Feb. 6, the judge denied the request by the ladder manufacturer. This results in the punitive damages claim against the ladder manufacturer to continue. The widow's claim is that the ladder company should have known that its product was unsafe for use and that the company sold an unsafe product to consumers.

Workplace injuries and fatalities are serious, and they can affect the worker and his or her loved ones in significant ways. In some cases, the employer may be responsible for the injury or fatality, but other parties may also be responsible for accidents. When an individual has been affected by a workplace injury and wants to learn more about his or her rights under the law, a worker's compensation attorney in Pennsylvania may be contacted.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Punitive damages claim can proceed in case arising from city worker’s ladder death", Jon Campisi, February 10, 2014

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