$6,250,000 Settlement for Client Who Suffered Quadriplegia After Work Accident

In a Putnam County case, a construction worker was hired to perform framing work on a new home construction. During the course of his work, he climbed a ladder to step onto a beam. While kneeling on the beam, he rested his hand on a joist, which gave way, causing him to fall approximately nine feet on his head. As a result of the accident, he suffered paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegia). The only insurance available was $2 million. Plaintiff required an additional $4.25 million to be contributed by individual defendants from their personal money. The case settled right before trial for $6.25 million.

Accident Description
Plaintiff was employed as a framer. His company had been hired to perform the framing work at the construction of a new one family home. Plaintiff was installing second story floor joists with a partner. In order to perform this work, it was necessary for Plaintiff to nail the joists from above, while his partner would nail the joists from below. To perform his work properly, Plaintiff claimed that he needed to climb off of the ladder that he was provided and step onto a 4 ½ inch wide beam. While kneeling on the beam, Plaintiff rested his hand on a joist which had just been nailed in by him. The joist gave way and Plaintiff fell approximately nine feet below, onto his head.

Defendants would have contended that the Plaintiff was provided with the proper safety device-the aforementioned ladder and that he willfully gave this away. They would have claimed that Plaintiff could have properly and safely performed his work from the ladder, as evidenced by the fact that his partner was able to perform his work from his own ladder and Plaintiff was thus the sole proximate cause of his accident.

Injuries
Plaintiff sustained a fracture to his cervical spine at the C4-C5 level, resulting in complete quadriplegia, and a left elbow fracture that required surgery.

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Settlement Amount
The only available insurance was $2,000,000. However, the Plaintiff required that $4,250,000 of personal money be contributed by the individual defendants before settling the case. The case settled for $6,250,000 right before trial.

Handling Attorney
The case was handled by Partner Daniel P. O'Toole.