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$5,000,000 Settlement for Local 282 Teamster Hurt by Falling Object at Construction Site

In a Manhattan case, a worker hired by a scaffolding company for a high-rise renovation project suffered serious hip and back injuries after he was struck by an unsecured plank that fell from above. Represented by Partners Daniel O’Toole & Scott Occhiogrosso, he received a $5 million settlement.

Court and County
Supreme, New York

Accident Description
Plaintiff, an Albanian immigrant working as a Local 282 Teamster, was employed by a scaffolding subcontractor on a Manhattan high-rise renovation project. Plaintiff’s employer was hired by the general contractor on the project and tasked with the assembly and maintenance of exterior pipe scaffolding that was erected against the façade of the building.

On the date of the subject accident, Plaintiff drove a flatbed truck to the project in order to deliver a load of wooden planks that would make up the flooring for the exterior scaffold. Plaintiff parked the truck close to the building and he then operated the truck’s mechanical hoist to deliver the wooden planks to coworkers tasked with the assembling of the scaffold flooring, approximately twenty (20) feet above street level.

After completing the offloading of the wooden planks, Plaintiff continued to assist his coworkers by picking up scaffold brackets that were on the ground so that these brackets could then also be delivered to the workers above. As Plaintiff was bent over picking up one such bracket, an unsecured wooden plank fell from the level above, all the way down to the street level, and struck Plaintiff in his lower back.

Injuries and Damages
Plaintiff was taken to Bellevue Medical Center via ambulance. At the hospital he complained of pain to his lower back and his left hip. Based on CT scans he was diagnosed with subcutaneous bruising of the left flank. Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital with instructions to follow up with private doctors if pain persisted. Plaintiff attempted to continue working through the pain for several weeks before realizing his injuries were more severe than he had first believed.

Subsequent diagnostic testing revealed traumatic herniations of two lumbar disc and tears of the anterior labrum of the left hip. Plaintiff underwent spinal fusion surgery to address the injured discs and was undergoing ongoing treatment for his injured hip at the time of the settlement.

The handling attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy argued that not only was Plaintiff entitled to recover for his lost earnings due to the disabling injuries, but also defendants should be responsible for compensating Plaintiff for future medical care necessitated by the injuries. Defendants argued that Plaintiff was not disabled from his job as a truck driver and there was no future care required.

The handling attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy litigated the case against the general contractor of the renovation project, arguing that the accident occurred due to a violation of Labor Law 240(1) – a falling unsecured object on a construction site. Defendants argued that Plaintiff was not within the class of construction workers protected by Labor Law 240(1) because his title was truck driver and he was only supposed to deliver the materials to the site. The motions were argued to the judge and the decision was pending at the time the parties agreed to private mediation.

Settlement Amount
After two mediation sessions, the case was resolved for a total sum of $5,000,000.

The case was handled by firm partners Daniel P. O’Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso.

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