Construction Site Injury - Workplace Accident
WRSH partner Kenneth Halperin obtained a settlement in the amount of $450,000 for a 55-year-old man who was injured in an accident on a construction site.
The accident in question occurred at a construction site located in Queens where a building renovation was taking place. The plaintiff was standing on a ladder installing sheetrock when a rung broke causing him to fall to the ground. There were no witnesses. Plaintiff went to the hospital that day and was diagnosed with a fractured ankle that required surgery. He was a non-union worker and was able to return to work approximately one year after the accident.
In litigating the case we encountered two problems. First, the hospital chart indicated that plaintiff had fallen down steps and not a ladder. Defendants argued that was inconsistent with his version of the facts and therefore a jury could infer that he never fell from a ladder in the first place. We were able to establish that plaintiff was Spanish speaking and thus the interpretation at the hospital was likely unreliable.
Additionally, the building’s insurance carrier disclaimed insurance coverage because they alleged that the plaintiff was an employee of the building. We disputed this and showed that they had no proof, such as checks, contracts or any other documentation to support the claim. Plaintiff was brought to the site to work by some individual and he only knew that person’s first name. The settlement was ultimately paid by both the building owners and the insurance company.
Prior to the settlement a mediation was conducted and the defendants offered $350,000 to settle the case. We refused and the case settled shortly thereafter when the defendants increased their offer.