$2,400,000 Settlement for Painter After Trip and Fall on Midtown Construction Site
Plaintiff, a 35-year-old Bronx resident, was hired as a painter at a Manhattan building renovation project. While using a spray gun to paint the ceiling, our client tripped over a ladder that was left lying on the floor, causing him to fall awkwardly into a wall. As a result, he suffered multiple injuries and ultimately required surgical treatment. Represented by BOM Partners David Scher and Stephen Murphy, Plaintiff received a $2,400,000 settlement while the lawsuit was still in its discovery phase, years prior to a prospective trial.
Court and County
Our client was a 35-year-old Bronx resident who was employed as a painter.
Description of Case
On the date of accident, he was working as part of a renovation of an office on the 16th floor of a Manhattan high rise building. The accident occurred at night time, after most of the other trades had finished their work for the day. Plaintiff was using a spray gun to spray paint the ceiling. While spraying and looking up, he tripped over a ladder that was laying on the floor. This caused him to fall awkwardly and crash into a wall. Our lawsuit claimed that the project owner and general contractor were liable for the accident, by virtue of being negligent and for violating New York Labor Law Sections 200 and 241(6). In short, the claim was that the worksite should have been clean and free from tripping hazards such as the subject ladder.
The case was vigorously defended and contested by Defendants. Defendants claimed that Plaintiff simply should have looked where he was walking and made sure that his path was clear before starting to paint. They argued that the ladder was large and easily visible and Plaintiff should have been able to see it and avoid it. The defense also pointed to a post-accident written witness statement in which an eye witness claimed that the Plaintiff had actually tripped over the hose connected to his spray gun; not a ladder.
Regarding damages, our client was taken by EMS via ambulance to the Emergency Room, where he complained about pain to his head, back and hands and was treated for a cut on his left hand with sutures. Later that week, he began a course of physical therapy treatment. MRI studies revealed the following, according to Plaintiff’s doctors: L4/5 and L5/S1 herniated discs in the lumbar spine, C4/5 and C5/6 herniated discs in the cervical spine and tendinosis/tendinopathy in the left and right wrists.
Plaintiff underwent dozens of injections to his neck and back while undergoing physical therapy. Despite that, his pain persisted. He ultimately had two surgeries. The first was a one-level anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. The second was a low back surgery consisting of discectomy, laminectomy with fusion at one level.
We claimed damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. The defense’s medical experts contested almost every aspect of Plaintiff’s case. They opined that the injuries claimed by Plaintiff were all pre-existing and degenerative in nature and that neither of his surgeries were causally connected to the accident. They reviewed the MRI films and disagreed that the studies showed any evidence of traumatic injury. The defense-hired physicians also claimed that our client was exaggerating his complaints and was actually physically able to work, despite claiming to be disabled.
This was a hard-fought case and we were proud to reach a resolution of $2.4 million for our client. We overcame several defense arguments to reach this result. Notably, this lawsuit was still in its discovery phase – years away from a potential trial date in its Bronx County venue – when the case settled.
The case was handled by BOM Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher.