$4,500,000 Settlement for Carpenter Who Became Permanently Disabled from Employment After Work-Related Accident

In a New York case, our client, a non-union contractor, was working to complete a painting project at a senior living facility in Brooklyn. Unable to reach the area that required painting with the equipment provided, our client was forced to place an A-frame ladder atop a Baker scaffold. As he worked, the ladder shifted, causing our client to fall 10 feet to the ground below, knocking him unconscious.

The accident left our client with various injuries, including a brain bleed and left distal radial fracture. Despite extensive treatment for his injuries, which included physical therapy injections, and several surgical procedures, our client was determined to be permanently disabled from employment. Represented by Partners Stephen Murphy and David Scher, our client received a $4,500,000 settlement for his losses.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Bronx County

Age and Occupation of Client
At the time of the accident, our client was a 41-year-old Bronx resident, working as a non-union carpenter.

Description of Accident
Plaintiff was injured during the renovation of a senior living facility in Brooklyn. He was employed by a subcontractor that was hired to perform various carpentry, taping, and painting on the interior of the building. At the time of the incident, Plaintiff and his co-worker were painting a first-floor unit with high ceilings. In order to reach an area near the ceiling to paint, Plaintiff placed a six-foot A-frame ladder on top of a six-foot Baker scaffold, and then leaned the A-frame ladder in a closed position against the wall. After working from the fourth step of the ladder for several minutes, the ladder shifted and tipped over, causing Plaintiff to fall about 10 feet to the floor below. His next memory was waking up in the hospital.

Liability
This was a fiercely contested liability case. We brought claims against the site owner and the project general contractor for violating New York Labor Law Section 240(1). Prior to settlement, all sides had filed summary judgment motions that had yet to be decided. In short, the defense argued that Plaintiff was the sole cause of his injuries, by unsafely stacking a ladder atop a scaffold and using that ladder improperly by closing it rather than using in an open position. The defense claimed that Plaintiff had been previously instructed to not use a ladder atop a scaffold and ignored those safety warnings. Our firm countered on Plaintiff's behalf by pointing to the evidence that Plaintiff lacked the available materials to extend the scaffold to a greater height, and therefore he was forced to work as he did.

Injuries & Damages
Plaintiff hit the ground and temporarily lost consciousness. He was transported by ambulance from the scene of the accident to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain bleed and left distal radius fracture. He was discharged after 3 days in the hospital. He then began a course of treatment that involved substantial pain and limitations to his neck, lower back, left knee, right shoulder, and both wrists. After attempting physical therapy, various injections and surgeries were performed, including a cervical spine fusion surgery. The defense medical experts questioned the severity of Plaintiff's injuries and the need for certain surgeries he underwent. We retained several experts who would have testified at trial on Plaintiff's behalf, including a doctor to opine about his expected future medical needs and an economist to explain the cost of Plaintiff's future medical treatment and lost earnings.

At the time of settlement, Plaintiff was continuing to treat for his injuries, and we claimed that he has been permanently disabled from employment by his injuries.

Settlement Amount
This case settled after multiple mediations and prior to trial for $4,500,000.

Handling Attorneys
This matter was handled by partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher.