$6,080,408 Verdict for Local 20 Union Carpenter Injured in Manhattan Scaffold Collapse
In a serious construction accident, our client, a 45-year-old union worker, was working on a building renovation project in Harlem. He was atop a scaffold and was performing overhead work, when the scaffold collapsed beneath him, causing him to fall seven to eight feet to the floor. He suffered serious ankle and knee injuries, which required multiple arthroscopic surgeries, as well as a shoulder injury requiring surgery. He is now permanently disabled from work as a carpenter. Partners Scott Occhiogrosso and Fred Aranki vigorously argued the case before a Manhattan jury, and the jury returned with a verdict of $6,080,408.69.
Court and County
Supreme, New York
Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was a 45-year-old husband and father of two children who was employed as a carpenter. He had been a member of Local 20 Carpenters Union for 15 years and was also employed with his employer for the same length of time.
Description of Case
The case arose out of a construction site accident in the Harlem section of New York, New York. Plaintiff, a union carpenter, was working on a building renovation project for a subcontractor of the project’s Prime Contractor.
In order to perform his work, the Plaintiff needed to use a Baker scaffold that belonged to his employer. Plaintiff alighted the scaffold and was performing overhead work related to the building renovation when a wheel from the scaffold frame broke, causing the scaffold to collapse underneath the Plaintiff. When the scaffold collapsed the Plaintiff grabbed a metal header overhead which he held onto for 1 to 2 seconds before it broke, and he fell 7 to 8 feet to the floor below.
Plaintiff moved for Summary Judgment against the Defendants, the General Contractor and Project Manager of the project, under Labor Law section 240(1), a statute which affords protection to construction workers who work at heights on construction projects. The motion was argued in New York County Supreme Court and granted, leading to a damages-only trial.
The construction accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are well-versed in litigating scaffolding accident cases and have attained top recoveries for clients in New York State. Results include $7 million and $6 million settlements for workers hurt in scaffolding accidents in New York City. Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form for a free legal consultation with a skilled attorney.
When Plaintiff fell to the floor, he landed on both feet and fell to his knees. A wooden plank from the scaffold platform struck him on his back, causing him to fall forward to his hands and knees. The Plaintiff did not seek immediate medical attention and first treated for the accident 10 days later. He also continued to work for 10 days after the accident until his pain and physical restrictions caused him to cease being able to perform his job duties.
Plaintiff commenced a course of treatment for his left and right ankles, right knee, right shoulder, lower back and left elbow. Plaintiff underwent a series of diagnostic tests for these body parts. He also initially underwent conservative treatment for these body parts including physical therapy and dozens of injections, which either did not alleviate his pain or only alleviated the pain for a short period of time. Plaintiff eventually underwent two arthroscopic surgeries to his right ankle, arthroscopic surgery to his right knee and arthroscopic surgery to his right shoulder. The Plaintiff’s treating spine surgeon opined that he may need right ankle fusion surgery in the future.
Plaintiff’s expert Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist opined that he would need lifelong treatment to his left and right ankles, right knee, right shoulder and lower back due to the injuries he suffered in the accident and that this treatment would be associated with costs. This specialist and Plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeons also opined that Plaintiff was totally and permanently disabled from employment as a carpenter. Plaintiff’s Vocational Rehabilitation expert also opined that Plaintiff was disabled from employment as a carpenter, and that he was not qualified to perform any other type of employment.
This case was tried over the course of two weeks by firm Partners Scott Occhiogrosso and Frederick Aranki and the jury returned a verdict of $6,080,408.69, broken down as follows:
- Past Pain and Suffering = $720,000
- Future Pain and Suffering = $1,800,000
- Past Lost Wages = $507,016
- Future Lost Wages and Benefits = $2,366,925.62
- Past Medical Expenses = $196,336.07
- Future Medical Expenses = $490,131