$6,400,000 Settlement for Multiple Injuries, Including Broken Tailbone, After Accident

In a New York case, a union ironworker was harmed as a result of a work-related fall. He sustained serious injuries, including fractures to his sacrum and tailbone, bulging discs, and post-concussion syndrome. Represented by attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy, he recovered a $6.4 million settlement.

Court and County
Supreme, Bronx

Plaintiff Description
At the time of the accident, our client was an ironworker with the Ironworkers Local 40 union, where he'd been a member for 12 years. He was 37 years old and was supporting a 13-year-old daughter at the time.

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Description of Case
Our client was employed by a structural steel subcontractor during a construction project at the Bronx County Hall of Justice. He had been on the jobsite for 3-4 days previously, but there had not been any safety meetings while he was working there. He received all of his instructions from the foreman on site.

That particular day he was working to remove a steel awning from above the building's entrance. To complete this task, he had to enter the façade of the building above the awning. He was roughly 30 feet in the air but not provided with any fall protection devices, such as a harness, lifeline or scaffold. He was aware that OSHA required him to have some type of harness or other protection, but since he was still a new employee on that worksite, decided that he didn't want to make a big deal of it.

He began pulling bolts from the awning, but as he did so, he lost his balance and fell through the drop ceiling. The back of his heels hit the ground first, then his buttocks, and then his head, resulting in a brief loss of consciousness and a significant laceration on his scalp.

Injuries/Damages
After his traumatic fall, our client was transported to the ER at Lincoln Hospital and diagnosed with a fractured sacrum and coccyx (tailbone) and treated for scalp lacerations. He was released the following day.

Our client was soon experiencing constant severe back pain which ran down to his heels, migraines, blurry vision, ringing in his ears, memory loss, dizziness and depression. He was unable to walk or sit for any extended period of time, his sleep was severely disrupted and he became very irritable. While he used to be very outgoing and loved to do things with 13-year-old daughter, he became withdrawn and isolated after his accident.

An MRI later revealed that he had suffered bulging discs in his cervical spine at C3/4 and C6/7, as well as bulging discs in his lumbar spine at L4/5 and L5/S1. To resolve the severe pain which these injuries were causing him, he underwent lumbar spinal fusion surgery.

Beyond his debilitating physical injuries, a neurologist diagnosed him with a traumatic injury, post-concussion syndrome and neuropsychological impairment secondary to cerebral dysfunction. He began to undergo regular neurological treatment to improve cognitive processes such as pattern recognition, pattern formation, shape sequencing, picture rotation and mental rotation. He was found to be suffering from a mild neurological disability and was deemed to be capable of doing a sedentary job only.

Settlement Amount
The parties settled this case for $6,400,000.

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