$5,000,000 for Laborer That Suffered Electric Shock While Performing Excavation Work at Construction Site

Plaintiff, a 32-year-old laborer at the time of the accident, was completing excavation work on a construction site for a new high-rise building. Prior to starting work, all utilities including gas, cable, and electrical units had to be identified and marked out for workers. During the project, Plaintiff needed to use a jackhammer to remove a large rock that was interfering with their ability to saw a water main pipe. While using the provided jackhammer, Plaintiff struck an unmarked electrical box which caused him to suffer an electric shock. The shock rendered him unconscious, although he remained at work for the remainder of his shift after waking up.

Several days after the accident, Plaintiff continued to suffer from pain and sought medical attention. Exams revealed he suffered second degree electrical burns and elevated CPK. Later tests revealed he also suffered disc herniations in the lumbar and cervical spine. Despite extensive conservative treatments and surgical procedures, Plaintiff continues to suffer from pain and has not been able to return to work. Represented by Partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue, he received a $5,000,000 settlement.

Court and County
Supreme Court, New York County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
Our client was a 32-year-old laborer at the time of the accident.

Description of Case
At the time of the accident, our client was working at a construction project performing excavation work in the roadway. The project was the new construction of a high-rise building. The excavation work was being performed in order to move water main pipes in the street.

Prior to performing the excavation work, all utilities including gas, cable, and electrical conduit were required to be identified and marked out in order to prevent workers from coming into contact with the utilities during the excavation work.

At the time of the accident, our client was using a jackhammer to perform excavation work in the roadway. He was using the jackhammer to remove a large rock that was underneath a water pipe that was going to be removed. The rock needed to be excavated so that there was enough room around the pipe to use a saw to cut the pipe.

While our client was jackhammering the rock, he struck an electrical box causing him to suffer an electric shock. The electrical box had not been previously identified and marked because and it was not visible as it was concealed by a large rock.

It was alleged that the Defendants failed to identify the electrical conduit and mark it out for workers. It was also claimed that our client was not provided with a jackhammer with rubber handles or the appropriate protective equipment as required by law, such as rubber gloves and an apron, to protect him from electricity.

During the pendency of the case, a Motion for Summary Judgement on the issue of liability was made, seeking to have the Court hold Defendants 100% responsible for the happening of the accident based on the failure to provide our client with a safe place to work, as required by Labor Law 241(6). The Defendants opposed our motion. The motion was pending before the court and had not been decided at the time of the settlement.

Damages
As a result of the accident, our client suffered an electric shock. He was thrown backwards and rendered unconscious. He awoke on the sidewalk, with pain throughout his body. Despite his pain, our client remained at the worksite, leaving at the end of the shift. He did no further work that day.

During the next two days, our client returned to work, despite ongoing pain to his head, neck, low back and shoulders. He was hoping that his pain would resolve with the passage of time. While at the work site, he did no physical labor.

Several days following the accident, with ongoing pain, our client went to a local hospital near his home. He was found to have second degree electrical burns to his right great toe, lateral right foot, and right hand. Blood tests revealed an elevated CPK, with evidence of rhabdomyolysis, which is consistent with electrical shock. Due to his condition, he was transferred to the burn unit at another hospital for monitoring.

After four days of monitoring in the hospital burn unit, our client was discharged. He continued to experience pain throughout his body, including his neck, shoulders and low back. Our client also suffered headaches, difficulty concentrating, and depression.

Approximately one month following the accident, he began a course of conservative care, including physical therapy. MRI studies revealed lumbar spine herniations at L4/5, cervical spine herniations at C3-C7, and tears to both the left and right shoulders. He also began treatment with a psychologist for his depression.

Due to the failure of physical therapy to alleviate his symptoms, our client underwent a series of trigger point injections and epidural injections to his cervical and lumbar spine. Unfortunately, the injections did not relieve his pain.

Due to the failure of conservative care to alleviate his pain, ultimately, our client underwent several surgical procedures, including Arthroscopic Surgery to both is left and right shoulders and an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion at C5/6. He also required a Left Shoulder Arthroscopic Revision surgery due to recurrent labral and rotator cuff tears.

Despite undergoing conservative care, injections and four surgical procedures, our client continued to experience neck, bilateral shoulder, and low back pain. Due to ongoing complaints, he continued undergoing conservative care, as well as psychological counseling. Other than the two days wherein he returned to work following the accident, he has not been able to work since that time.

Settlement Amount
The matter settled for $5,000,000 prior to trial.

Handling Attorneys
The matter was handled by Partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue