Construction Accident - Fall Injury

WRSH Partner, Bill Hepner, settled this case at mediation for $1.25 million.

Plaintiff, a construction worker, was assigned the task of performing work on the first floor of a small cooperative building which had been damaged by a fire. The flooring had been completely removed, leaving only the support beams exposed. Plaintiff was working on one of these exposed and unsecured support beams when it began to shake and come loose.

As a result of this, he fell off the beam and down into the basement level of the building, approximately 10 feet below. Plaintiff had not been provided with any type of fall protection, safety devices, or safety harness to protect him from any elevation or gravity-related hazards at the construction site. This constituted a violation of N.Y. Labor Law § 240 (1). At the conclusion of depositions and other discovery in this litigation, Hepner filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability based upon this statutory violation and won.

Plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries to his right shoulder and left knee. He had substantial treatment which included two arthroscopic surgeries on each of these body parts. There was no lost earnings component to this claim. Defendants argued that there were degenerative changes in plaintiff’s knee and shoulder and that the accident did not cause the tears found in these areas. They further argued that plaintiff had made a good recovery and that his doctor did not find more than a small percentage of restriction. Despite this, Bill argued that plaintiff had no prior problems and the surgeries were necessary because of the accident. At an earlier mediation of this case, at a time when the plaintiff had undergone two surgeries, the defendants only offered $75,000.

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