Laborer Fell into a Hole When Sidewalk Beam Shifted

This matter was recently settled by WRSH partner William Hepner for $3.75 million. Our client was injured on February 23, 2012, during the demolition of a sidewalk in front of a large building. Under the concrete of the sidewalk was an empty vault space about 4-8 feet deep. Our client was standing on one of the steel beams that supported the sidewalk while cutting adjacent rebar with a grinder. The steel beam shifted and fell into the hole below, causing him to fall with it. As a result of the accident, he had a cervical fusion, a lumbar fusion, and a left knee arthroscopy.

The plaintiff moved for summary judgment on liability and a decision had not yet been issued by the court. He could have lost the case due to the fact that it was argued by the defense that this was a permanent structure and plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of his accident. Our client originally hired an attorney in 2012 who did very little work, so he hired Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, in 2014 to prosecute the case. There was no lost earnings component to the case.

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