$1,750,000 Settlement for Undocumented Worker in Queens Ladder and Scaffold Fall Case
DESCRIPTION OF PLAINTIFF
Plaintiff was 35 years old at the time of his accident, when he was working as a non-union laborer doing general carpentry work. Emigrated from Ecuador and is a Spanish speaker; married with three kids.
DESCRIPTION OF CASE
Our client was working at a construction site in Astoria, Queens. At the time of the accident, he was told to stand on a ladder on top of a scaffold so he could paint a ceiling beam. To do this, he placed a 10-foot wooden A-frame ladder on top of a 5-foot high Baker rolling scaffold. Our client was elevated about fifteen to eighteen feet in the air.
For a few minutes, our client was painting with no issues. At some point, the scaffold began to move, causing the ladder to tip over and our client to fall to the floor on his right side. After falling, Plaintiff was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital of Queens by his foreman.
Plaintiff successfully moved for summary judgement on the issue of liability pursuant to Labor Law 240(1), rendering the case a “damages-only” trial.
DAMAGES AND INJURIES
Our client suffered extensive arm, wrist and back injuries as a result of this accident.
After his fall, our client was taken to the hospital with excruciating pain in his right arm, as well as pain, deformity and swelling in the wrist. That same day, he underwent a closed reduction surgery on his right wrist under conscious sedation and had a splint applied. He was discharged with a Percocet script.
Soon a second closed reduction was performed on his wrist after nerve block and lidocaine infiltration were applied to the fracture site. He was outfitted with a long cast which rendered his arm unusable and was told he would eventually need another surgery on his right wrist, this time an open reduction-internal fixation. His post-op diagnosis after this surgery was a right distal radius malunion.
Around this time, our client began to complain of back pain for the first time since the injury. He also reported having neck pain which radiated down his right arm, where he was beginning to feel some numbness and tingling.
For the next few months, our client continued extensive physical therapy and a wide array of medications to try and treat his pain-to no avail. Ultimately he required spinal fusion surgery at the L3-5 vertebrae after he was diagnosed with:
- Herniated nucleus pulposus
- Extruded disc
- Severe neural compression
- Traumatically induced disc herniation
Since the accident and his many surgeries, our client has had to deal with constant low back pain as well as pain that radiates to his leg with numbness. This has not improved since the back surgery. He also has daily pain in his right wrist, which comes and goes, and major weakness and range of motion deficits. With this hand, he can no longer make a fist.
As a result of his injuries, Plaintiff continued to experience pain to his back and right wrist. Plaintiff had not returned to work following his accident. Plaintiff did not pursue a lost wage claim for various reasons.
A settlement for $1,750,000 was reached during jury deliberations.
This matter was handled by Stephen J. Murphy.