$1,400,000 Settlement for Union Ironworker Who Suffered Leg Injury Due to Falling Beam
Our client, a 32-year-old union ironworker, was employed by a company tasked with erecting steel framing for a new school gymnasium. As Plaintiff assisted in guiding a horizontal steel beam on top of a vertical steel column, the vertical column fell, landing on other steel beams that were on the ground, causing one of the beams on the ground to roll onto our client’s left leg. An investigation later showed that necessary anchor bolts had not been fastened to secure the vertical column in place. Our client suffered leg injuries that required multiple surgeries. Represented by BOM Partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue, he received a $1,400,000 settlement.
Court and County
Supreme Court, Nassau County
Description of Plaintiff
Our client, at the time of the accident, was a 32-year-old union ironworker.
Description of Case
The accident occurred on a construction site in Nassau County. The project consisted of the erection of a new gymnasium at a high school on Long Island. Plaintiff was employed by a company that was hired to erect the steel framing for the building. The framing consisted of vertical steel columns and horizontal steel beams.
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was helping guide a horizontal steel member into place on top of a previously installed vertical steel column, when the vertical steel column fell. The steel column landed on top of other steel beams that were located on the ground. When the column landed on the steel beams on the ground, one of the steel beams on the ground rolled onto Plaintiff’s left leg.
During an investigation into the accident, it was determined that anchor bolts that were supposed to be used to secure the vertical steel column in place had not been secured, causing the vertical steel column to fall.
Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated Labor Law 240(1) and Labor Law 241(6), predicated on New York Industrial Code section 23-2.3, which requires steel members to be properly secured before being released from hoisting ropes.
Defendants argued that Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6) did not apply as the anchor bolts were not safety devices and that Plaintiff’s co-workers were responsible for the accident as they had not secured the anchor bolts as required.
Plaintiff made a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and Defendants opposed Plaintiff’s motion. The court held that an issue of fact existed as to whether Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6) were applicable to the facts of the case. The court found that an issue of fact existed as to whether Plaintiff’s co-workers were responsible for the accident and whether Labor Law 240(1) applied.
Plaintiff appealed the court’s decision to the Appellate Division, Second Department and the appeal was pending at the time of the settlement.
Injuries and Damages
As a result of the accident, Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a comminuted fracture of the distal left fibula and medial malleolus, as well as a syndesmotic injury to the left ankle. Plaintiff was placed in a splint and told that he would require surgery.
Plaintiff followed up with an Orthopedic surgeon and ultimately underwent an open reduction and internal fixation procedure. The surgery was successful and Plaintiff’s fractures healed. However, Plaintiff continued to experience ongoing pain. During follow up consultations with his surgeon, it was determined that Plaintiff’s pain was due, in part, to the hardware that was placed during the surgery. As a result, Plaintiff ultimately underwent two additional surgeries to remove the painful hardware. The surgeries were performed within a year of the happening of the accident.
Approximately fourteen months following the accident, Plaintiff returned to full duty work as a union ironworker. He continued to work for the same company and became a foreman. After recovering from his surgeries, Plaintiff no longer required physical therapy and was discharged from further care with his orthopedic surgeon.
However, Plaintiff did continue to experience occasional pain and swelling to his left ankle. His ongoing symptoms occurred after strenuous activity.
The matter settled for $1,400,000.
This matter was handled by Partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue.