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Court awards amputee $95.6 million

Georgia residents may have read about a trial in a Philadelphia that resulted in an arbitrator's decision to award $95.6 million to a woman who lost her legs in a 2013 building collapse. Her award was the largest amount from the $227 million settlement, which is to be distributed among the 12 others who were injured and the families of seven victims who lost their lives in the incident.

The incident occurred on June 5, 2013, when an empty nearby building that was being demolished suddenly collapsed, dropping debris on the 55-year-old woman while she shopped in the nearby Salvation Army store. Emergency responders to the scene had to work 13 hours to free the woman, who was trapped under building rubble.

The woman, a Ukrainian immigrant, underwent a number of surgeries in which her legs and lower torso were removed. She also suffered kidney and lung damage from inhaling toxic materials while she was trapped and lost the ability to speak after a breathing tube damaged her throat. Because of her injuries, she will need continuous medical care for the rest of her life. The award will allow her to live with her family. Since the incident, she had been residing in a nursing facility.

The jury's verdict found the developer of the Salvation Army facility financially liable for the collapsing building. He was responsible for hiring the company that incorrectly demolished the nearby structure. The contractor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was given a seven- to 10-year prison sentence as well.

Those injured in preventable accidents may be able to recover damages via a personal injury claim. A premises liability attorney could explain the victim's rights and may help determine the party liable for the damages.

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