Tragedy once again struck the New York construction industry on October 5th, 2017 but not because of one of the many common construction accidents that plague the city. This time, a well-respected foreman lost his life because of an act of workplace violence.
37-Year-Old Foreman Shot & Killed
At 7:00 a.m. at a Manhattan construction site, a few men were already preparing for the work that was going to be done that day while waiting for their coworkers to arrive, including 37-year-old Christopher Sayers, a foreman on the job. Little did they know the day wouldn’t go as planned.
One of the workers, a 42-year-old carpenter, was setting up on a lower floor when he heard what he initially thought was a nail gun firing, but the sound was odd enough that he started up the stairs to see what was going on. Halfway up the staircase, he ran into Samuel Perry, a man he knew had been fired just two days before. He jokingly asked Perry if he had a gun since he knew he wasn’t supposed to be at the job site and Perry told him no and they laughed. They then hugged and Perry went on his way. But when the carpenter reached the 37th floor, he found his friend Sayers shot and lying on the floor.
“I hugged the man who shot my friend.” said the carpenter.
The carpenter called 911 and other workers either began to evacuate the building or take shelter on the 39th floor since no one knew where Perry had gone or what his plan was. Within minutes, the police and EMT’s arrived but by the time they got there, Sayers had already passed.
An immediate manhunt was started and around 8:45 a.m. Perry was found on the 5th floor of the building in a bathroom. He had taken his own life by shooting himself in the head.
Perry Had A Dark Past
A look at the shooter’s past revealed that he had been arrested three times – two of the records are sealed however the third arrest, which took place in 2005, was for robbery. Coworkers knew him for his explosive temper and as far as family and a support system went, his wife had committed suicide in 2015 by pouring gasoline on herself and lighting herself on fire in bed.
Combining a difficult past and a temper made him a man who was hard to work with. So when Perry and Sayers had an argument about a wall that Perry had built two days before the shooting, it wasn’t surprising that it escalated to the point that Sayers fired Perry.
Police suspect that the blow to his pride was too much. As they investigated the accident, they found that Perry had been planning revenge since he was fired. He had told a neighbor and friend that Sayers would “get his” and asked another neighbor to watch his dog because he had to take care of something. He then proceeded to pack up his personal belongings and sold some to a pawn shop, preparing everything for his son to take. Even though friends noticed this odd behavior, no one thought to report it.
Police are still trying to determine how Perry was able to enter the building and will be reviewing surveillance video and witness statements.
Workplace Violence Isn’t Uncommon
Did you know that workplace violence is the 3rd leading cause of death among all workers and the leading cause of death for women in the workplace? Violence also causes thousands of serious injuries each year which require victims to undergo expensive medical treatments.
Violent acts often include:
- Sexual Assault
While it might bring some victims and or their surviving loved one’s relief knowing that criminal charges may be pressed against their attacker, these charges will do nothing to provide them with financial compensation, however, a workers’ compensation claim, social security disability claim, or a lawsuit may help.
Workers’ Comp – How Can It Help After A Violent Attack?’
In New York, workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault insurance which is supposed to provide injured workers with compensation for their medical care after being hurt on the job. This means that if a violent attack caused their injuries, they may be provided coverage.
If the violent attack resulted in the death of the worker, their surviving loved ones may be able to obtain death benefits. In New York, the spouse of the deceased is typically able to obtain two-thirds of the deceased’s salary. Children may also be able to obtain a percentage until they reach a certain age.
What Does Social Security Disability Provide?
In cases where the violent attack causes physical or emotional injuries so severe that the employee is unable to return to work, a social security disability claim may help them financially. This claim is a form of financial support for New Yorkers who cannot work, but obtaining these benefits is not a simple process and in fact, 65% of all claims made each year are denied. Although the decision can be appealed, there are so many appeals made that there is currently a backlog and it often takes almost a year and a half just to get the appeal hearing scheduled. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult with an experience attorney before sumbitting the initial application.
What Kind Of Lawsuit Can Help Obtain Compensation?
In many cases, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, the victim or their surviving loves are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, in this case, if it determined that negligent security contributed to the shooter being able to access the building even though his employment had been terminated, Sayer’s family may be able to pursue legal action against the party who was responsible for security at the building.
A lawsuit can provide additional compensation to the plaintiffs which may include:
- Lost earnings.
- Lost benefits.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- The loss of inheritance.
- Emotional trauma.
- The loss of consortium.
The compensation that is obtained comes through either a settlement or a successful court verdict.
Should I Settle Or Go To Court?
This is a very personal decision and is not one that we can make for you. There are benefits to agreeing to settle, such as knowing exactly how much compensation will be obtained and typically receiving that compensation quickly. But sometimes, the offer that is made is simply not acceptable or no offer is made. In these cases, many plaintiffs choose to stay the course and take their case before a judge and jury.
Our Legal Team Abhors Workplace Violence
At The Disability Guys, we believe that anyone who has been hurt because of the violent actions of another party deserves compensation. We understand that compensation can’t take away the memories or the physical pain, but it can provide our client with the full medical care and financial support that they need to move forward after this horrible experience.
Our firm was founded in 1933 and since that time our attorneys have dedicated their careers to making sure those who have been hurt on the job get what they need. Depending on the circumstances, we can help our clients with workers’ compensation claims, social security disability claims, supplemental security income, and personal injury lawsuits.