WRSH Partner obtained a $1.9 million recovery for a 51 year old client who had fallen through an unsecured piece of plywood on the second floor of a home being built for him. This settlement was significant because the defendant construction company only had a $500,000 insurance policy.
At the time of the accident, plaintiff was inside his house which was being constructed. The accident occurred when our client was admiring the views from what would eventually become his master bedroom. While walking across the home's second level flooring, he stepped upon an unsecured piece of plywood covering the opening where the staircase leading to the home's basement would be. He fell approximately 25 feet onto the basement floor, sustaining a burst fracture at the L1 level of his spine and compression fracture of the L3 vertebrae. The client required surgery for the insertion of titanium rods to stabilize his spine. He also required a surgically implanted pain medicine pump for the continuous delivery of pain medication.
The defendants first claimed that the accident was entirely the fault of the plaintiff, alleging that there was safety-colored spray paint along the perimeter of the plywood and that there was even a worker who was actively cutting along the edges of this piece when plaintiff walked across it.
Moreover, the defendants alleged that only the construction company should have been sued and not two of the individual owners. Their contention was that the plaintiff had entered into a contract with the construction company only and not with the individual owners of the company, therefore, the owners' personal assets could not be sought in satisfaction of this claim. Had they been successful with the argument, our client would have been limited to a recovery of the $500,000 bodily injury limits of the insurance policy. WRSH Partner, however, was able to pierce the corporate veil and attach liability to the individual owners of the construction company because at the time of the accident, the company owners had failed to file the necessary corporate documents, in fact, the company was nothing more than a fictitious corporate entity, thereby, exposing the individual owners to personal liability.
As a result, WRSH Partner obtained not only the full $500,000 insurance limits, but also a personal settlement contribution from the company's owners in the amount of $1.4 million. This case is a prime example of our firm's tenacity in leaving no stone unturned while seeking to hold tortfeasers accountable for their negligent acts.