When an accident occurs that injures other people, a negligent property owner can be held liable even if the accident was caused by an employee. In some cases, property owner negligence cases have held multiple parties responsible for the damages. Georgia laws regarding construction and workers are in place to protect innocent bystanders from being injured when there is nearby building construction or demolition.
A heavy equipment operator, as well as the property owners of a four-story Philadelphia building, may face responsibility for a building collapse that killed and injured several people. According to police, the man had been operating an excavator when the building under demolition fell onto an adjacent Salvation Army store. 2 employees and 6 customers were killed, and 13 others were injured.
The construction worker turned himself in after authorities raided his home and put out a warrant for his arrest. Toxicology reports gave police enough cause to suspect the man had been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident. He has been charged with 6 counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person, and 1 count of risking a catastrophe.
Survivors have already filed lawsuits against the demolition contractor and the building owner for gross recklessness. The demolition contractor is said to have a criminal background, while the construction worker in question had at least 11 previous arrests for drugs, theft, and weapons possession.
Before the accident, the owners of the Salvation Army had expressed concerns over the safety of the demolition process while customers were in the building. Other construction engineers said the building should have been evacuated for people’s safety. Because of these oversights, the charges against all of those involved may be severe.
Source: Fox News, “Crane operator accused in Philadelphia building collapse deaths in custody,” June 9, 2013