The plaintiff, who was 55 years old at the time of his accident, was a non-union laborer. He tripped and fell from the side of the building due to concrete debris. Right before the accident, the plaintiff and his co-workers were removing ventilation ducts on the second floor. As the plaintiff was falling, he attempted to grab onto the railings of a wooden ladder that led from the second floor to the ground, and it detached from the building as the plaintiff attempted to do so.
The plaintiff sustained a tear of the right anterior cruciate ligament; a tear of the left medial meniscus requiring arthroscopic reconstruction repairs; laminectomy and discectomy of the L4-5; bilateral ankle ligament deficiency; and instability requiring extensor retinacular graft augmentation and reconstruction.
The defense counsel contended that the plaintiff was not tied off, although he was wearing a harness, and presented a statement from a co-worker verifying the same. We were able to show that the plaintiff was not wearing a harness, but a yellow florescent safety vest, and that the defendants failed to provide the proper safety vest and equipment to prevent his fall.
The defendants also contended that the plaintiff’s claim for future lost earnings was minimal due to his past criminal history and 20-year incarceration. We were able to show that since the plaintiff was released from prison he had made a successful re-entry into society, was a hard worker, maintained a residence, and re-established himself as a person of excellent credibility both with his family, his co-workers, and within the community.
The defendants contended that the plaintiff’s injuries were not significant because he continued to work for another five months following the accident. However, we established that he only worked a light-duty desk job because he was the only one who had a fire certification required for the project.
Lastly, the defendants attempted to argue that the plaintiff’s injuries were a result of preexisting degenerative conditions in the ankles, knees, and lumbar spine. We countered this contention by showing that the plaintiff had no prior complaints of pain, and that if he did have a preexisting condition, then he was more susceptible to injury, and in any event the defendants were liable all the same.