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$4,250,000 Settlement for Client With Serious Injuries, Including a Broken Humerus Requiring Two Surgeries

At the time of the accident, our client, a union excavator, was working to shore up the sides of a trench by installing large plywood planks. Our client left the trench he was working in to take a break. On his way back to his work station, he passed by some of the hanging stacks of plywood planks. The straps holding one of the plank piles snapped as he walked past it, striking him and causing him to fall into a trench, with some of the planks landing on top of him. As a result of the accident, he sustained multiple injuries, including a broken humerus, cervical radiculopathy, and severe pain in his shoulder. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, he received a $4.25 million settlement.

Supreme Court, Kings County

The plaintiff was a 40-year-old union excavator at the time of the accident.

The plaintiff was an employee of Triumph Construction, where he was working as a labor foreman. Triumph Construction had been hired to install new sewer lines at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In order to do so, the plaintiff and other workers were required to dig long, straight trenches and then shore up the sides of the trenches by installing plywood planks. The planks were large, about 12 feet long, one foot wide, and three inches thick. They would help structurally reinforce the trench and prevent collapse. The plaintiff was working with the plywood when a break was announced, and he left the trench in which he was working.

On his way back to his work area, the plaintiff had to pass in between five-foot stacks of plywood and a trench on the construction site. The straps that held one of the plank piles together suddenly snapped, causing the planks to fall onto the plaintiff. He initially caught the falling planks and tried to hold them up, but the weight was too great. The plaintiff let go and fell backwards approximately 12 feet to the bottom of the trench. The planks followed and landed on his left shoulder. The plaintiff was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with multiple injuries, which required ongoing treatment.

As a result of the accident, the plaintiff suffered several serious injuries. He sustained a comminuted fracture of the left humeral head that required surgical repair on two occasions and the permanent implantation of metal screws. There was also thickening of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder and accompanying tendinosis. He also needed surgery to remove scar tissue from the shoulder.

The plaintiff had a left C5-C6 cervical radiculopathy, as well as a focal central disc protrusion with an annular tear on his L5-S1 vertebrae. There was lasting, consistent cephalalgia, thoraco-lumbar, and cervical pain accompanied by lumbar spasms. The cervical and lumbar spinal ranges of motion were very restricted, and the plaintiff continued to suffer from both neck pain and lower back pain. He also suffered from severe pain in his left shoulder before and after the surgeries, radiating down his arm and causing numbness and tingling in his hand. The pain in his left shoulder would worsen with weather changes.

His condition rendered him prone to dizziness, anxiety, headaches, and inability to sleep. He was also unable to lift things, including relatively light loads. The plaintiff had to undergo extensive physical therapy and had lasting trouble with pain management for his injuries. He attempted to return to work but was not able to meet the physical demands of his previous job.

The parties reached a pre-trial settlement of $4,250,000.

The case was handled by Firm Partners Daniel O’Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso.

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