Family of Laborer Who Died Falling Through a Man-Made Hole in a Pier Receives a 10.5 Million Dollar Settlement 

Law Firm Newswire



Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) April 2, 2021 – On the evening of January 14, 2016, John Johnson was working the night shift as a laborer on a Delaware River pier. It was his fourth day on the job. While working away from the other laborers, he fell through a 5-by-10-foot man-made cut-out in the pier. After an hour, Johnson’s co-workers called the police. The Philadelphia Police Department divers recovered Johnson’s body under the pier.

Johnson’s family filed a lawsuit against Agate Construction Co., the general contractor for the Pier 78 Rehabilitation Project in South Philadelphia. Johnson was an employee of the subcontractor, Atlantic Concrete Cutting, Inc., and the third worker killed or seriously injured on a worksite managed by Agate. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial; however, the parties reached an out-of-court settlement for $10.5 million to be paid by Agate’s insurance carrier.

Workplace accidents can result in injuries and fatalities to employees. Such accidents may occur because of distraction, overexertion, exhaustion, slips, trips, falls and negligence. When a job-related accident occurs, the employee may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and wage compensation while out-of-work. To receive compensation, the employee must file a workers’ compensation claim, either informal or formal, because it is the exclusive remedy for workplace accident compensation under New Jersey and Pennsylvania laws.

Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that provides compensation to employees who are injured, fall ill, or die from a work-related accident. Even if the employee contributed to the accident, they are covered under the workers’ compensation laws. The insurance provides medical treatment, wage replacement, disability compensation and death benefits as they apply to the employee’s accident. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, all employers must carry some form of workers’ compensation insurance covering their employees in case of a job-related accident.

The surviving family members of an employee who dies from a workplace accident may file a compensation claim for death benefits. New Jersey law provides compensation only to the deceased employee’s dependents, like the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents and siblings. The compensation is a percentage of the deceased employee’s regular wage.

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws also provide the death benefits to the dependents of the deceased employee. State laws outline the percentage of the deceased employee’s weekly wage that their dependents receive based on whether there is a surviving spouse or dependent children.

To learn more about workers’ compensation, visit

Learn more at Petrillo & Goldberg Law 6951 North Park Drive Pennsauken, NJ 08109 1333 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 70 South Broad Street Woodbury, NJ 08096 Phone: 856-486-4343 Fax: 856:486-7979