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$3,450,000 Settlement for Carpenter Who Suffered Seven Disc Herniations After Slipping on the Job

A carpenter was working on the top floor of a midtown high-rise on a rainy day when he slipped and fell through an unsecured opening, dropping at least 15 feet. The previously secured hole had become a major hazard when both the railing and ladder that secured it were removed.  

The accident resulted in seven disc herniations and the flare-up of a previously asymptomatic congenital abnormality. Steroid injection and physical therapy did little to alleviate the pain, which led to our client undergoing a two-level spine surgery. Represented by Partners Daniel O’Toole and Fred Aranki, our client received a settlement in the amount of $3,450,000 prior to trial. 

Court and County 

Case was pending in New York County Supreme Court 

Plaintiff Description 

At the time of the accident, our client was a carpenter working for a subcontractor on a project in midtown Manhattan. 

Description of Case 

Our client was performing cleaning work on the top floor of a high-rise building in midtown Manhattan as the open level became soaked in pouring rain. Our client slipped on the slick floor, causing him to slide into an unsecured opening in the floor. He plummeted over fifteen feet to the level below.  

Before the day of the accident, the opening had been secured by a ladder that descended to the level below and a set of railings, which covered three sides of the hole. Prior to the day of the accident, both of these safety measures had been removed, leaving the opening exposed and unsecured. Our client filed suit against the owner and general contractor of the building in accordance with Labor Law sections 200, 240(1), and 241(6). At this point, the defendants impleaded the project’s site safety contractor. Our client moved for summary judgment against the defendants based on sections 240(1) and 241(6) of the Labor Law of the State of New York, meaning the case would not be brought to trial, but a ruling would be made by a judge based on the evidence available. This motion was granted by the Court in light of the conditions our client was working in, including factors such as poor weather, the significant height of the building, and the removal of vital safety measures in place near the aforementioned opening.  


Our client suffered multiple spinal injuries as a result of the fall. An MRI of the cervical spine conducted post-accident revealed disc herniations at the C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-6, and C6-C7 levels. Another MRI was performed on his lumbar spine, which revealed disc herniations at the L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L5 levels along with a congenital abnormality, which had remained asymptomatic until our client slipped and fell on the job. With a total of seven herniations and sudden symptomatology exhibited by a previously asymptomatic congenital abnormality, it is needless to say that our client was enduring severe pain in the aftermath of the accident.  

In response to these injuries, our client began a conservative treatment plan that included physical therapy and an epidural steroid injection. Unfortunately, these treatments failed to provide him with significant long-lasting relief from the severe pain he experienced. A two-level spine surgery was performed on our client’s cervical spine in an attempt to provide relief to the area, requiring hardware to be implanted in his cervical spine. A spine surgeon also treated his lumbar spine, although surgery was not recommended at this point. 

Despite the breadth of his treatment, our client will likely still experience post-traumatic arthritis and progression of his adjacent level syndrome because of his injuries, as anticipated by a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation upon examination of our client. The same specialist went on to opine that our client’s injuries are permanent in nature and are a result of the subject accident.  

Due to the severity and anticipated longevity of his injuries, our client was permanently disabled from employment. In the settlement process, claims were made for his lost income and loss of future Social Security retirement income. 

Settlement Amount 

This matter was settled prior to trial for $3,450,000.  

Handling Attorneys 

This case was handled by firm Partners, Daniel O’Toole, and Fred Aranki. 

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