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$1,500,000 Settlement for Local 46 Ironworker Injured in Workplace Fall

Our client, a 33-year-old Local 46 journeyman ironworker, was employed by a subcontractor to work on a residential building construction project in Brooklyn. While carrying a heavy rebar cage with five other workers, the worker to the left of our client slipped and fell, causing the cage to lose balance and fall onto our client. Plaintiff’s leg became trapped and he fell backwards onto the slippery plywood deck. As a result of the fall, our client suffered injuries to his lumbar spine and left shoulder. Represented by partners Daniel O’Toole and Frederick Aranki, he received a $1,500,000 settlement.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Kings County

Description of Plaintiff
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was a 33-year-old union journeyman ironworker.

Description of Case
This matter arises out of an accident at a construction site in Brooklyn, New York. The subject construction project was the new construction of a 29-story building with a school occupying the first five floors, with the remaining floors to be used for residential apartments. Plaintiff was employed as a union journeyman ironworker by a subcontractor on the construction site. Plaintiff was a union member for five years prior to the subject accident.

At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was carrying a large rebar cage on an exposed fourth floor plywood deck with five other men. It was raining and the deck was slippery due to sawdust and water on the plywood deck. The man to the Plaintiff’s left slipped and fell, causing the Plaintiff to fall under the weight of the heavy rebar cage. The workers were unable to control the weight of the cage after the cage became unbalanced and the cage fell onto the Plaintiff’s ankle. The cage trapped Plaintiff’s leg and he fell backwards hitting his back on the plywood deck. His co-workers helped lift the cage off and released his ankle from under the cage.

Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability based on Labor Law section 240(1). Defendants cross-moved for Summary Judgment to dismiss Plaintiff’s Labor Law section 240(1) and Labor Law section 241(6) claims. These motions were pending before the Court at the time of the settlement of this matter.

Plaintiff was seriously and permanently injured as a result of the accident. He suffered injuries to his lumbar spine and left shoulder as a result of the accident. A lumbar spine MRI revealed lumbar disc herniations at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels. He underwent conservative treatment in the form of physical therapy and two lumbar epidural steroid injections in an effort to alleviate his pain and symptoms. He also consulted with spine surgeons regarding the potential need for lumbar spine surgery.

Plaintiff underwent an MRI of his left shoulder which revealed a partial tear in his rotator cuff.  He underwent conservative treatment for the shoulder.

Plaintiff’s expert Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist opined that he would need lifelong treatment to his lumbar spine and left shoulder due to the injuries he suffered in the accident and that this treatment would be associated with costs. He opined that the Plaintiff would need future visits with a spine specialist, musculoskeletal/pain specialist, future physical therapy, future diagnostic testing and medications to treat the injuries and continued pain and symptoms related to the accident. This specialist and Plaintiff’s treating doctors also opined that Plaintiff was disabled from employment as a union ironworker. Plaintiff retained an expert economist who prepared an economic loss analysis relating to the cost of future healthcare. This economist also calculated the future loss of income, future loss in funding of the Plaintiff’s pension and annuity related to his union and loss in social security retirement income.

Settlement Amount
This matter settled at mediation for $1,500,000.

Handling Attorneys
The case was handled by firm Partners Daniel O’Toole and Fred Aranki.

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