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$2,500,000 Settlement for Severe Hand Injuries After Work Accident

Our client was a construction worker who was tasked with stripping metal beams from the ceiling of a new building in downtown Manhattan. The A-frame ladder he was provided, however, did not provide the stability required to safely perform this work, causing his hand to be pinned under the beam. He suffered severe injuries to three fingers on his left (non-dominant) hand which ultimately required an amputation among other surgeries. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, he received a $2,500,000 settlement.

Court and County
New York State Supreme Court, Kings County

Plaintiff Description
Our client was a 36-year-old non-union laborer at the time of the accident.

Description of Case
Our client and his co-workers were taking down metal beams from the ceiling of a new building on a construction site in downtown Manhattan. The beams were 10 feet long and weighed between 50 – 100 pounds.

To do this, he and a co-worker stood on A-frame ladders at opposite ends of the metal beams. These ladders were about 10 feet tall and the planks were about 15 feet off the ground, so our client and his co-workers had to reach above their heads in a coordinated way, pick the plank up slightly off the poles on which it was resting, and then lower it by hand. However, the ladder proved inadequate to stabilize our client while he attempted to perform this cumbersome, overhead, heavy work, leading to the beam shifting and pinning his left hand between the beam and post on which it had rested.

Our client alleged that the site’s owner and general contractor, who were the Defendants in this case, violated New York State Labor Law Section 240(1) by failing to provide the appropriate equipment to safely remove the beam. Previously, when our client and his co-workers had to perform this job, they were supplied with a man lift (also known as a boom lift), which gave them a more stable elevated platform to handle the awkward and heavy beams from. Since the day of the accident, workers on the job site use man lifts for this task.

Our client was taken to Bellevue hospital by emergency services and diagnosed with severe injuries to the index, middle and ring fingers of his left (non-dominant) hand. In order to treat these injuries, the following surgeries were performed:

  • Irrigation, excisional debridement of wounds
  • Revision amputation left index finger
  • Open reduction and percutaneous pinning of left long finger, left ring finger proximal phalanx fractures
  • Revascularization with radial digital artery repair with vein graft of the left long finger and left ring finger
  • Vein graft harvest from left dorsal foot

Following these surgeries and extensive physical therapy, our client was left with diminished strength and range of motion in his middle and ring fingers, which we alleged prevented him from returning to employment in the construction industry.

Settlement Amount
This case settled for $2.5 Million in its discovery phase, years prior to any anticipated trial date.

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

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