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$1,150,000 Work Injury Settlement for Broken Elbow and Arm

Our client, a 25-year-old construction worker, was hired to work on a renovation project in Brooklyn, New York. During the course of his employment, he was climbing down scaffolding when he lost his grip and fell approximately 20 feet to the ground below. As a result of the accident, he sustained fractures to his elbow and arm, which required surgery. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, he received a $1.15 million settlement.

Court and County
Supreme, Kings

Plaintiff Description
25-year-old male who was a construction worker on his first day of a new job at a scaffolding company

Description of Case
Our client was working, along with a crew of co-workers, on assembling massive scaffolding in the courtyard area of a building in Bushwick that was under renovation. It was his first day of this new job, the employment paperwork had not been finalized, and there was not even an agreement on rate of pay yet.

By the time our client arrived for work at 8am that morning, the frame of the scaffold had already been assembled, and they were working to fit it with wooden planks to be used as platforms. Although our client brought his own safety vest to the site, there was no available anchorage point to which he could attach his safety harness. None of the workers on the site were tied off, and no instructions on how to avoid falling were given.

Our client and his co-workers went inside the building and up a few floors to begin laying down the wooden planks. Eventually, the crew ran out of wooden planks, and the foreman asked our client to go back down to the ground level to retrieve more. Our client first attempted to get back inside the building, but he was unable to because there were no planks to walk on and no easy way to get back inside. He decided to climb down the scaffolding, as the other workers on site were doing.

While climbing down, our client felt a spasm in his right shoulder (which our client claimed has always given him trouble), causing him to lose his grip and fall approximately 20 feet onto the concrete ground below. It was at this time that the foreman on site offered our client money to leave the scene and pretend he had never been employed there.

We claimed that the site owner and general contractor violated New York Labor Law Section 240(1) by failing to provide proper fall protection. The defense raised a number of arguments, including questioning whether or not our client had even been permitted to work on the site that day.

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Our client suffered fractures to his left arm and elbow, and underwent 2 surgeries. The first was an open reduction/internal fixation surgery to his ulna shaft fracture. The second was a radial head replacement surgery.

Our client’s treatment consisted of post-operative physical therapy and had ceased by the time of settlement. We claimed that our client was left with permanently restricted range of motion and decreased strength in his injured arm. The defense conceded the fractures resulted from his fall, but maintained that our client had a made a good recovery, had returned to full time employment and had stopped medical treatment for his injuries.

Settlement/Verdict Amount
Following a private mediation, the parties agreed upon a settlement of $1,150,000.

Handling Attorneys
This case was handled by Firm Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher.

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