$1,850,000 Settlement for Laminectomy After On-the-Job Accident

Court and County

Supreme Court, New York County

Plaintiff Description

Born in the Dominican Republic, is a US citizen; 36 years old at time of accident; Worked in the construction department for Time Warner Cable.

Description of Case

Our client and his co-worker were tasked with repairing cable and internet connections for a building, which required access to the roof. It was their first day on that particular job site. They met with the Defendant, who owned the building and directed them to gain access to the roof from the adjacent building, which he also owned, because access to the adjoining roofs was easier from the adjacent building.

The owner led them to the fourth floor of the second building where there was a ladder leading to a ceiling hatch which opened to allow access to the roof. The ladder was made of steel, about 12 feet tall, and was attached at the top to wood by simple screws. Nothing secured the ladder at the bottom to the marble flooring.

Our client held the ladder as his co-worker climbed it with no issues. He then attempted to climb the ladder himself; right as he approached the top, however, the ladder broke away from the ceiling, causing our client and the ladder to fall to the marble floor below. He later estimated that he was about 10 feet off the ground when he was caused to fall, landing on his back on top of the fallen ladder.

Injuries

In the aftermath of the accident, the Defendant requested our client to stand, but he was unable to. Our client later claimed that he was in shock right after he fell. He felt excruciating pain in his right leg and low back that radiated into his buttocks. Emergency services arrived soon after and transported him to the emergency room at Lennox Hill Hospital, where he complained of pain in his right hip, right upper leg and lower back.

He was released later that day after receiving x-rays to his lower back, pelvis, and right hip. The presumptive diagnosis was lumbar disc herniation and he was discharged to follow up with his primary care physician. Our client did not go back to work and stayed bedridden over the next few days. He saw multiple doctors for his back pain, while participating in regular physical therapy. He also underwent injections in hopes of providing relief from his pain without having to undergo surgery, which he felt was being made worse by his physical therapy. When all else failed, our client underwent a lumbar laminectomy at the recommendation of his doctor.

Following his surgery, our client was still experiencing low back pain which radiated to his lower extremities, particularly when trying to get up from a seated or lying-down position. Another MRI was performed and it was found that our client's disc had re-herniated, causing compression on the nerve roots. A second surgery consisting of a discectomy was recommended.

Settlement

The Defendant only had $1,000,000 in available insurance for the subject building. Due to the severity of our client's injuries, however, additional money was required and we were able to recover an additional $850,000 from the $1,000,000 policy from the adjacent buildings the Defendant also owned.

The case settled for $1,850,000.

Handling Attorneys

This matter was handled by Stephen J. Murphy and Michael J. Hurwitz.