Subcontractor worker wins lawsuit for damages

▲ Panoramic view of the Seoul Court Complex in Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul.

A court has ruled that the local government and the construction company that subcontracted construction should compensate workers who suffered injuries such as fractures due to the collapse of soil during the sewage pipe connection work.

The Civil 63 Independent Division of the Seoul Central District Court (Judge Na Kyung) ruled in favor of the plaintiff in part of the lawsuit against Pyeongtaek City and the subcontractor construction company B by construction worker A. The court found that A was responsible for 15% of the negligence and determined that the rest was in Pyeongtaek City and Company B. Pyeongtaek City and Company B did not appeal, so the judgment was finalized on the 30th of last month.

On July 13, 2017, while working to connect the sewage pipe around Seojeong-ri Station at Company B, which was contracted for construction in Pyeongtaek City, on July 13, 2017, the soil on the excavation surface collapsed and suffered injuries such as fractures, bruises, and nerve damage. This was due to the soil being poured from the excavation surface where the earth plate was not installed to prevent the soil from flowing down.

Person A received a disability rating from the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service, and received leave of absence, medical care, and disability benefits. Accordingly, A filed a lawsuit against Pyeongtaek City and Company B in May 2019 to compensate for the damage.

The court ruled that Company B and Pyeongtaek City should jointly pay KRW 36 million and delay damages to Person A. The court ruled that “Pyeongtaek City is responsible for compensating Mr. A for damages as it is judged that Pyeongtaek City has neglected its supervisory duty as a construction supervisor.” The court found that the city of Pyeongtaek did not visit and inspect the construction site or provide specific instructions or supervision regarding safety management.

However, Mr. A also decided that Mr. A was responsible for negligence at 15%, saying that he did not make an effort to prevent an earth and sand spill by asking the safety officer to take action or paying sufficient attention.

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