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$1 Million Settlement for Victim of Sagging Ceiling Collapse in Her Bronx Apartment

Our client was standing in the kitchen of her New York City apartment when part of the ceiling above her collapsed, striking her head and neck. She had contacted her rental’s maintenance department earlier to inform them that the ceiling area was sagging, but they did not fix the issue. Ultimately, her injuries required a shoulder surgery and a spinal fusion surgery. Partners Stephen Murphy and David Scher attained a $1 million settlement for her. 

Court and County

Supreme Court, Bronx County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff

Plaintiff was a 38-year-old dispatcher for a security company at the time of incident. She was also a married mother of four children.

Description of Case

While Plaintiff was standing at the kitchen sink of her Bronx apartment one morning, a portion of the ceiling above her suddenly collapsed and fell onto her head and neck, causing her to fall down to the floor. Our client claimed that she had notified her apartment building’s maintenance department a week earlier that the same ceiling area was dangerously sagging, but the building failed to respond in any way prior to the incident.

The building, through deposition testimony of the maintenance department, denied that the Plaintiff had made any such prior complaint about the ceiling. Our client took pre-accident photos of the sagging ceiling, which helped corroborate her claim that she had made a prior complaint to the building. Post-accident, the ceiling was repaired by a building employee who claimed the Plaintiff and her husband had intentionally caused the ceiling to collapse by striking it with a broom handle.

Had the case proceeded to trial, we intended to vigorously cross-examine these defense witnesses in support of our client’s case. But the case settled long before any scheduled trial date.

Injuries and Damages

Plaintiff went to see her primary care physician on the day of the accident, at which time she made complaints of pain to her neck and back. It should be noted that the plaintiff was involved in a prior motor vehicle accident in which she had also injured her neck and back, and underwent one year of treatment.

Following the ceiling collapse, Plaintiff started a course of physical therapy for her neck, back, and left shoulder. MRI studies revealed the following injuries: herniated discs at the C2 through C7 levels of her cervical spine, herniations at the L4/5 and L5/S1 levels of her lumbar spine, and labral and rotator cuff tears in her left shoulder. In addition to physical therapy, Plaintiff was given lumbar and cervical spine epidural injections. These treatments only provided temporary and partial relief of her symptoms.

Plaintiff eventually underwent two surgeries: an arthroscopic left shoulder surgery and cervical spine fusion surgery at the C6/7 level. Plaintiff made a good recovery after these surgeries and had stopped treating prior to the settlement of this case. She also continued working as a security dispatcher after the incident, and thus had no lost earnings claim. We sought damages for her pain and suffering and past and future related medical expenses, which we developed through reports of our expert physiatrist and economist. The defense disputed Plaintiff’s injury claims. Defendant’s expert radiologist reviewed the MRI films and gave an opinion that there was no evidence of any traumatic damage caused by the ceiling collapse. Had the case proceeded to trial, this issue would have debated between Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s experts.

Settlement Amount

At the time of settlement, this case was several years away from a trial date in the Bronx. We negotiated a $1 million resolution for our client.

Handling Attorneys

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

New York Lawyers for Ceiling Collapse Lawsuits

The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have handled numerous premises liability cases, including those that involve ceiling collapses in NYC apartment buildings. Select ceiling collapse results include:

  • $5,850,000 settlement for a home health aide who suffered neck and low back injuries after a portion of her kitchen ceiling fell onto her, knocking her unconscious
  • $2,300,000 settlement for a man who needed neck surgery after part of his bathroom ceiling collapsed onto him
  • $2,250,000 settlement for a Bronx tenant who was struck while sleeping by part of her ceiling, leading to spine injuries that required surgery
  • $1,450,000 settlement for a 25-year-old tenant who required spinal fusion surgery after a portion of her bathroom ceiling collapsed onto her

To speak with an expert attorney about your case, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form.

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