$3,500,000 Recovery for Worker with Traumatic Brain Injury After On-the-Job Fall
COURT AND COUNTY
AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
Plaintiff was a 48-year-old plumber’s helper at the time of the accident
FACTS AND ALLEGATIONS
The incident occurred on July 14, 2010, around 2pm at 520 Broome Street in Manhattan, New York. Plaintiff fell from a 12 foot “A” frame ladder while fixing a leaking air conditioning unit.
Plaintiff was doing construction-related work in the hallway lobby of a new high rise tower where a pipe from an air conditioner was leaking. Fixing the leak required him to create a hole to properly drain the pipe. To create the hole, Plaintiff had to use the 12 foot “A” frame ladder, which was set up by his supervisor, but belonged to a different company.
Plaintiff was on the 7th or 8th of 10 rungs on the ladder and was holding a hammer drill weighing 10 kilograms when the accident occurred. He was forced to use both hands to drill the hole into the cement wall when the ladder became unsteady and started wobbling. The ladder fell to the side while the Plaintiff’s body crashed to the unforgiving ground, causing him to lose consciousness.
Plaintiff claimed that he was instructed by his foreman to use just the ladder-which was not held or secured in any way-and was not given any additional equipment or devices. He also claimed that he checked to ensure the ladder was fully opened and that there was no debris on the surrounding floor. Defendants pointed out that they inspected the ladder for any defects, of which there were none, and claimed that since the Plaintiff inspected the ladder before use and ascended it without any issues, the accident occurred because he was not bracing himself while operating the drill.
Plaintiff’s boss first sent him to a local doctor, despite the Plaintiff having a serious injury. He then went to Elmhurst Hospital where he was admitted for 3 weeks. Plaintiff suffered multiple skull fractures and sustained a traumatic brain injury, causing permanent loss of hearing in his left ear, permanent loss of smell due to an 8th cranial nerve injury, severe post-concussion syndrome, spinal cord injuries, and balance problems. Emergency surgery was required to drain a cranial bleed due to his skull fractures, and Plaintiff then had to see a physical therapist to relearn how to walk and keep his balance.
Plaintiff argued that the accident caused the traumatic brain injury affecting hearing, smell, and balance. Plaintiff further argued that the employer had a responsibility to protect its workers from dangerous conditions and ensure that all equipment, such as ladders, were safe and in proper functioning form. The defense, on the other hand, argued that the ladder was, in fact, in proper condition and that it was solely Plaintiff’s negligent use of the ladder that caused his accident and injuries.
Plaintiff made claims for past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future pain and suffering.
The parties negotiated a $3,500,000 pretrial settlement.
This case was handled by Daniel P. O’Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso.