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Preliminary objections overruled in workers' comp case

A judge for the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court has overruled a company's preliminary objection to it being held liable in a workers' compensation case. A worker had originally filed a suit against JPC Group for an injury that he incurred in 2011 when he fell through the scaffolding at a construction site that he was working at. JPC Group then filed a joinder complaint naming Cornwells Construction Co. as being responsible for the man's injuries.

JPC Group was the general contractor for the construction project, but it made a subcontracting agreement with Cornwells Construction Co. According to JPC Group, its subcontracting agreement with Cornwells gave it indemnity from any liability for injured construction workers. The worker claimed that he sustained permanent injuries in the accident, for which he is seeking compensation.

Cornwells said in its preliminary objections that it should be immune from any workers' compensation liability under the Workers' Compensation Act. JPC Group said that it waived the law in an agreement that the companies entered into in their contract. The judge agreed with JPC Group and found that the language in the companies' agreement did indicate that the subcontractor would be offered indemnity in the event of employee accidents. The agreement stated that Cornwells wouldn't be responsible for indemnity if the contractor had been provided with written notice of any unsafe conditions on the site before any accidents occurred. The judge also stated that a response to a joinder suit must be filed within 20 days of the order.

People who are permanently injured in workplace accidents are eligible to pursue compensation for their injuries after filing workers' compensation claims. A Workers' compensation attorney might be able to help them prepare their claims and negotiate settlements for them.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Phila. judge overrules preliminary objections in workplace injury case", Jon Campisi, October 04, 2013

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