On September 10, 2015, a Polish construction worker was helping to build a local New York school when he had a terrible accident. As he was climbing down a ladder, it began to shift. As the ladder shifted, the worker lost his balance and both he and the ladder came tumbling down to the hard cement floor below. As a result of the fall, the worker broke his heel and sustained injuries to his back and neck. Despite his many attempts at physical therapy and other conservative treatment, he was eventually forced to undergo minor surgery to repair tendons in his foot.
On the date of the accident, the injured worker was 55 years-old. When you sustain this kind of injury at 55 years-old, your options are limited. Following the accident, the worker did not know how he could make a living or if he would be able to help his family survive. What is worse is that this accident should never have happened at all.
In New York, ladders must be secure during construction work, so that this kind of accident does not happen. Unfortunately, the defendants in this case never secured the ladder. They had many options. They could have tied the ladder off, they could have instructed people to hold the ladder, or they could have affixed the ladder in dozens of other ways. They didn’t. As a result, the ladder and the worker crashed to the ground. This is a violation of construction law.
The defendants knew they did something wrong. It was their job to make sure the job site was safe. Instead of admitting their wrongdoing the defendants found “witnesses” to say that the ladder was secured at the time, only to contradict our client’s earlier testimony. The “witnesses” went so far as to say that the ladder never fell in the first place. This was in complete contrast to what both the first witnesses on the scene and the investigators saw. Not only that, the “witnesses” claim that the worker told them he just slipped. This was very farfetched because the worker speaks polish and very little English, and the “witnesses” did not speak Polish. It is typical for defendants to try to avoid responsibilities in construction accidents. When this happens, there is only one choice for an injured worker, take the defendants to trial, with a law firm he can trust. It is important to mention that this injured worker had another attorney represent him in the very beginning of this case. It did not take him a lot of time to realize that he needs a lawyer that is more experienced in construction accident cases to represent him in this lawsuit. A law firm that would handle his personal injury case and workers compensation case under one roof – this is when he decided to retain the Platta Law Firm.
The purpose of any trial is to find the truth. Before the trial, the defendants were given everything that we intended to prove, including persuasive exhibits showing both how the accident happened and how devastating the worker’s injuries were. In response, the defendants offered $1,000,000. Although this is a large sum of money, it was not enough to make sure that the worker had the security he needed for the rest of his life. Prior to the accident, he was a member of a union and made a great living. That was taken away from him and so he pressed on to trial.
The first part of any trial is selecting the jury. It is here that the lawyers pick who will get to consider, and ultimately decide the case. Picking a good jury is the most important part of any case. It is a skill developed over years and years of practice. At the Platta law Firm, we usually have as many as two attorneys trying every case. This tactic helps spot any hidden bias in jurors and eliminate potential problems during trial. We take our clients’ cases and trials very seriously and do not allow for any coincidences to enter the courtroom. As they say – two is always better than one!
Luckily for the worker, in this case, the jury was starting to take shape in our favor. As the defendants began to see the jury form, they offered more money. First $1,100,000. Again, it was rejected. Then $1,250,000 then $1,650,000. All were rejected. It was made clear to the defendants that the only thing that would settle this case is $2,000,000. Not only did we not agree to take a penny less, but we also demanded that the worker’s compensation lien be removed from the case. This is where knowledge of the workers' compensation law and personal injury law comes hand in hand. At our law firm, we not only try personal injury cases but also handle any aspect of the associated workers' compensation case for our clients. They do not need to call another law firm to speak with a secretary about their missing weekly checks or failed authorization for medical treatment, which is a usual situation when a workers compensation case is handled by the workers' compensation law firm that handles thousands of cases at once. At our firm clients get personalized attention to their cases that are attended by only experienced attorneys – both in personal injury as well as workers compensation law.
Generally, if you are injured on the job, worker’s compensation is paying for your treatment and lost wages. Something that is unknown to many people is that if you receive a recovery as a result of a lawsuit you must pay back 2/3 of the worker’s compensation lien. This can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars being taken out of the injured worker’s pocket. In this case, there was a worker’s compensation lien of nearly $240,000. This was unacceptable. In order for the case to settle, we made the defendant pay $2,000,000 and waive almost the entire workers' compensation lien. While this is not possible in every case, we were able to use the threat of a continued trial to find the best possible outcome. With the trial looming the defendants finally relented. They agreed to pay $2,000,000 and we negotiated that workers compensation lien down to just over $6,000 (out of $240,000).
Although many cases settle before trial, sometimes, like in this case, they are necessary to hold a defendant responsible. The end result of this process has provided security to an injured worker and his family. It is important to have someone on your side who knows what your case is truly worth and will do what it takes to achieve the proper results.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident, please reach out to us for a free legal consultation by calling 24/7 at 212-514-5100, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our law firm in Lower Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions through the 24-hour chat box on our website (www.plattalaw.com). We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.