$925,000 Settlement - Laborer Sustained Injuries from "Kickback" of Circular Saw

WRSH partner Frank J. Lombardo obtained a settlement in the amount of $925,000.00 prior to trial during a non-binding private mediation. Our plaintiff, a 34-year-old laborer, was instructed to cut a 2' x 4' piece of wood that was being used to brace concrete forms. He was provided an old circular hand-held saw with a problematic blade. He experienced difficulties with the blade’s bottom protective guard getting stuck, not retracting; and the broken guide plate was loose and secured only by a wire.

In addition, the electrical cord appeared as if it had previously been repaired. There were no other saws available for our plaintiff to use to perform his job. As he started to cut the wood, the saw blade guard became stuck, causing the saw to bounce or "kickback." The teeth of the blade cut into his left hand as well as injured his shoulder.

The plaintiff sustained a partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon of the right shoulder and underwent ultrasound-guided injections and two surgeries, which included an acromioplasty and excision, subacromial decompression, and joint resection. In addition, the plaintiff sustained shred wounds of the volar aspect of the left middle, ring, and pinky fingers, with multiple underlying neurovascular tendon injuries and ischemic overlying tissue. He had two surgeries, including an exploration, extensive debridement, and repair of the left middle, ring, and pinky fingers’ structure and overlying defects, and scar removal.

The defendants contended that the plaintiff was comparatively at fault in the manner in which he used the saw; that a co-worker used the saw subsequent to the occurrence without difficulty; and that Industrial Code Section 23-1.12(c)(1) entitled Guarding of Power-Driven Machinery was not applicable. In addition, the defendants’ medical expert found that the plaintiff had full range of motion of the shoulder and fingers without any loss of strength.

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