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$6,500,000 Jury Verdict for Local 731 Union Worker Struck by Falling Beam

While completing demolition work on a construction site in College Point, Queens, our client was struck in the lower back by a 2×4 beam thrown down by a laborer standing on scaffolding 16-18 feet high. A lack of proper examination of the area by the laborer and his colleague prior to throwing down the 2x4s led to the accident.

Court and County
Supreme Court, New York

Plaintiff Description
Plaintiff was 32 years old at the time of the accident. After immigrating to the United States in 2007 from Kosovo, he worked various trade jobs to provide for his wife and two children. Just six months prior to the accident, he became a member of the Laborers’ Local 731 Excavators.

Description of Case
Our client was on a construction site at North Shore Marine Transfer in College Point, Queens completing work for AIC Associates, Inc. While he worked on a demolition project, two other laborers, employed by a separate construction company, worked together, one from 16 to 18 foot scaffolding and one from the ground, to remove 2x4s from a wall. The laborers were fully aware that our client had been working to break up concrete in that area since 7:00 that morning and threw the 2x4s in another area, away from our client.

At around 12:45 p.m., one laborer asked the other if the area where our client was working was clear to which the other responded in the affirmative. From the 16-foot-high scaffolding, the laborer then threw down a 2×4 that struck our client in his lower back. Our client experienced immediate pain in his lower back that radiated to his right leg but initially tried to allow it to pass. After leaving the site, he went home and began suffering severe back pain whereupon he called an ambulance to transfer him to Jacobi Medical Center for medical treatment.

Subsequent examinations and tests conducted by various doctors determined that our client was suffering a herniated disc at the L4-L5 and at the L5-S1 levels of his spine with nerve root impingement. After conservative treatment methods showed no improvement, our client underwent fusion surgery, also with an unsatisfactory outcome. Our client was determined by medical professionals to be totally disabled and incapable of returning to work.

During the trial, the defense attempted to argue that Plaintiff’s injury claims did not match their doctors’ medical evaluations. Additionally, the defense argued that while Plaintiff could not return to construction work, he was capable of earning a living in another occupation.

Injuries & Damages
Plaintiff suffered a traumatic injury to his lower back resulting in post-traumatic musculoskeletal pain, radicular pain syndrome and herniations at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels of his spine, impinging on the nerve roots. After undergoing conservative treatments including physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, pain medication, and spinal injections with no relief, Plaintiff required fusion surgery, also finding little relief.

At the time of the verdict, Plaintiff was able to walk short distances with the assistance of a back brace and cane with limitations to the periods of time in which he could stand, walk, sit, and lay down. He was concluded to be totally disabled and unable to return to his previous occupation in construction.

Verdict Amount
The jury awarded the Plaintiff $6.5 million.

Handling Attorneys
This case was handled by Partners Scott Occhiogrosso, Esq. and Daniel O’Toole, Esq.

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