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$2,000,000 Settlement for Carpenter Injured in Lower East Side Construction Accident

A 42-year-old carpenter was at work at a construction site in Lower Manhattan. He and a coworker were raising a wooden form when unexpectedly, his coworker dropped it, causing Plaintiff to hold the form himself to prevent it from dropping to the ground and potentially injuring someone. It was a heavy form, and as a result of this incident, Plaintiff sustained serious shoulder, elbow, and neck injuries, which required multiple surgeries. Represented by Partners Stephen Murphy and David Scher, he received a $2 million settlement.

Court and County
Supreme, Bronx

Plaintiff Description
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was a 42-year-old non-union carpenter who resided in the Bronx with his wife.

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Description of Case
The incident occurred at a new construction site at 50 Bowery Street in the Lower East Side.

Plaintiff and his coworker were at the edge of the building, raising a wooden form (4 feet by 9 feet in dimension) when Plaintiff’s coworker dropped it, causing Plaintiff to have to hold the form himself to prevent it from dropping down to the street potentially seriously injuring someone on the ground. In the course of this incident, Plaintiff injured his neck, right shoulder, and right elbow.

There were varying accounts of exactly what occurred, included inconsistent statements contained in certain post-accident medical records.  Plaintiff claimed that the Defendant site owner and general contractor should have had fall protection in place at the perimeter of the building and/or should have supplied a safer way for Plaintiff and his co-worker to handle and install the subject wooden form.  Plaintiff alleged that the lack of appropriate protection forced Plaintiff to hold the heavy form after it began to fall, and become injured.  We alleged that Defendants violated New York Labor Law Section 240(1).

The lawsuit was pending in Bronx County and was still in the discovery phase when the case settled.  Had the case continued, the defense would have contested liability by arguing that Plaintiff had failed to establish exactly how the incident occurred and that proper perimeter protection was not in place.  Regarding damages, the defense would have pointed to the delay in an initial neck complaint to argue that Plaintiff’s alleged cervical spine injuries were not caused by the incident in question.  Plaintiff’s claims included pain and suffering, past and future medical costs, and past and future lost earnings.

Injuries and Damages
Plaintiff claimed injuries to his right elbow, right shoulder and neck.  He did not seek immediate treatment and, in fact, continued working for several weeks after the accident.  His first medical visit was 3 days after the injury when he presented to the Emergency Room with complaints of pain to his right arm and shoulder.  Plaintiff did not make any recorded complaints of neck pain until several months after the accident.

He underwent the following surgeries:

  1. Right shoulder scope – partial roto cuff tear, impingement, synovitis
  2. Right elbow surgery – for compression ulnar neuropathy / cubital tunnel syndrome (decompression of right ulnar nerve, fasciotomy right forearm pronator muscle mass, tenotomy right medial epicondylitis w/ debridement
  3. Right elbow surgery – right elbow ECRB tear, repair of tear with “Y-Knot 1.3 mm anchor made by Conmed” (general anesthesia)
  4. Three-level cervical spine fusion (C4-7)

Handling Attorneys
The matter was handled by Partners Stephen Murphy and David Scher.

Settlement Amount
The matter settled for $2,000,000.

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