$4,650,000 for a 42 year old laborer who fell from warehouse shelf and suffered fractured ribs and herniated lumbar disc

Day Laborer Recovers For Injuries After Fall

Settlement $4,650,000
Date 4/16/2013

Attorneys from Block O'Toole & Murphy:
Daniel O'Toole & Scott Occhiogrosso

Facts & Allegations

This accident occurred on September 17, 2008 at 10:00am at 19-50 48th Street, Astoria, New York during a renovation project at a warehouse. The Plaintiff was picked up on the morning of the accident at a shaping location for day laborers in the Bronx, by an employee of the general contractor for the renovation. Once at the Queens warehouse, Plaintiff was placed on a scissor lift and instructed to remove pipes that ran along the warehouse ceiling. When the scissor lift did not extend high enough for Plaintiff to reach the pipes, he was instructed to scale the warehouse shelving to reach the height necessary. Plaintiff was not provided with a safety harness or a life line. While walking across the stop of the shelving, Plaintiff stepped on a portion he believed to be plywood that was actually cardboard. The cardboard collapsed and Plaintiff fell approximately 10-15 feet to the lower level of the shelving. Plaintiff alleged violations of New York Labor Law Sections 240(1), 241(6) and 200 against the building owner and the general contractor.

The defendants contested liability, arguing that plaintiff's accident was not witnessed and that notations in Plaintiff's medical charts gave a different account of how the accident occurred. On this basis the defendants argued that there were questions of credibility that needed to be resolved at trial. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that although the accident was not witnessed, the defendants did not come forward with any competent evidence to contradict Plaintiff's version of events. The court granted Plaintiff's motion and the defendants appealed the decision. The appellate court affirmed the lower court's decision.

Injuries/Damages

Plaintiff's injuries included multiple fractured ribs, herniated and bulging spinal discs, torn shoulder tendons and torn hip tendons. Plaintiff underwent open reduction internal fixation fusion surgery at New York Downtown Hospital to repair the damage to his spine, as well as surgical repair to both his shoulder and his hip. Plaintiff also underwent hundreds of physical therapy sessions and numerous injections for pain relief.

The defendants argued that Plaintiff's injuries resolved shortly after the subject accident and the pathology that led to the surgical procedures was not related to the accident and was due to degenerative conditions the pre-existed the accident.

Plaintiff was unable to pursue any claim for lost earnings in this lawsuit due to difficulties associated with Plaintiff's work history. Plaintiff did claim damages for past and future medical costs, and for his pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Result

The parties negotiated a $4,650,000 pretrial settlement.