$4,750,000 For Union Laborer Struck By Flying Rock From Construction Site Blast

Court and County

Supreme, Bronx

Plaintiff Description

Our client was a 46-year-old union labor foreman employed by a general contractor.

Description of Case

On the day of the accident, our client was employed as a foreman on a Bronx jobsite where blasting operations were taking place. The blasting was taking place approximately 90 feet above where our client was located at the time.

Our client's co-worker, who was in charge of the blasting, sounded the horn which signaled that the blast was about to occur. Our client and another co-worker proceeded to what they presumed was a safe area. At this time, our client had no prior blasting experience nor any specific training or expertise in blasting. It was later determined to be the responsibility of the blaster, who was also a foreman, to ensure that everyone was at a safe distance. Our client did not recall ever being specifically told what the safe distance is to be from a blast, and there were no markings or designated safe areas that would have provided this information.

The blast went off. One co-worker, who had 14 years' experience with the FDNY and was Deputy Chief Inspector for the explosives unit at the time, called this the largest blasting job in New York City which he had been a part of. From where he stood, our client could see rocks escape the blasting mat and fly towards him and his co-worker. He would later describe this as being similar to a meteor shower. Our client turned to run and escape the oncoming debris but was almost immediately hit in the lower back/pelvis area with a boulder roughly the size of a football.

Injuries

Our client suffered severe injuries as a result of this accident, including:

  • Comminuted fracture at the articular surfaces of the posterior left iliac
  • Fracture of the upper left sacral ala
  • Widening of the left sacroiliac joint
  • Fracture of left L4 transverse process; bulging discs at C6/7 and C7/T1; T1/2 bulging discs with impingement
  • Scaphoid fracture
  • Complete tear of the distal supraspinatus tendon in the left shoulder; labral tears to both shoulders

The consequences of his extensive injuries have been very wide-ranging and debilitating for our client. He now requires a cane to walk and constantly deals with lower back pain which radiates up and down his left side. He has occasional stabbing pain in his buttocks as well as pain in his hips and knees.

Our client began to be troubled by fears of physical deterioration and of never enjoying the activities he once could. He began to suffer nightmares where he would relive the accident over and over. He began to feel aggravated and depressed at the realization that he could no longer do so many of the things he once enjoyed. He developed low-grade insomnia and found quality sleep difficult to come by. This distressing array of psychological difficulties resulting from his tragic accident was later diagnosed as "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Emotional Features."

Settlement

The parties settled this case for $4,750,000.

Handling Attorneys

This matter was handled by Daniel P. O'Toole and Frederick C. Aranki.