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$2,200,000 Settlement for Worker Who Suffered Chronic Pain Syndrome After a Serious On-the-Job Accident

At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was on an A-frame ladder feeding a vertical heating pipe through a circular cut-out in the floor of a multi-story residential building that was being built. The ladder became unsteady, wobbled, and fell, causing Plaintiff to fall approximately seven feet to the ground. The plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability was granted, and Partners Daniel O’Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso were able to recover a $2.2 million settlement for him.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Kings County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
At the time of the accident, our client was a 38-year-old plumber’s assistant.

Description of Case
Our client was working as an assistant plumber at a construction site on 59th Street and New Utrecht Avenue in Brooklyn. The building that our client was working on was an old house undergoing a major restoration project. The house was to be demolished and turned into a three-story residential building. The plumbing company that our client worked for was contracted to install new piping in the walls and ceiling of the entire building. Our client had been working on the site for several weeks prior to his accident and was familiar with his duties.

On the day of the accident, our client was on the first floor of the building installing vertical heating pipe. His job that day was to pass a steel pipe to a co-worker, who was located on the second floor of the building. At the time of the accident, the ceiling had not yet been fully installed, so it was possible to pass the pipe straight through to the second floor. To complete this task, our client had to go to the corner of the room on the first floor and stand on an elevated surface to pass the pipe up to his co-worker.

Instead of providing him with a scaffold to stand on, the company provided our client with an aluminum A-frame ladder. Due to the size and weight of this steel pipe, our client had to hold onto the pipe with both hands while he ascended the ladder. Additionally, our client needed to complete this task without the help of anyone else on the first floor to hold the ladder or the heavy pipe while he climbed.

Because this was an ongoing construction site, the floor where the ladder was erected was unfinished. Unfortunately, the unfinished floor was uneven and made the ladder unsteady. Our client did not realize the ladder was unsteady as he climbed to the second highest rung and began to push the pipe up to his co-worker. Because of the heavy nature of the pipe, our client had to use both his hands and thighs to push the pipe and could not hold onto the ladder for support. As he began to push the pipe to his co-worker, the ladder began shaking. This shaking caused the ladder to fall, and our client to fall with it. He fell approximately seven feet to the ground, landing on the right side of his body and injuring himself. Seeing that he was injured, his boss drove him to Maimonides Hospital, where he was treated.

Injuries and Damages
Plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of the left forearm, requiring a surgical implantation of a metal plate and metal screws. Subsequently, Plaintiff developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy – a chronic debilitating pain syndrome – and had to undergo operative removal of the surgical hardware in his arm. Plaintiff was left with noticeable and significant scarring to his hand and his arm. Plaintiff also suffered lumbar disc herniations that required injection therapy. Our client also complained of injuries to his right shoulder and his neck.

The parties reached a negotiated settlement of $2,200,000.

Handling Attorneys
The case was handled by Partners Daniel P. O’Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso.

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