*Plaintiff: the injured worker
This case involves an explosion accident lawyer retaining a floorer who sustained serious injuries during a worksite accident. At the time of his accident, the worker was employed by a flooring contractor. His boss also owned a flooring supply retail store as a separate entity. The flooring supply store provided Plaintiff’s company with all of the products they used in their work.
Plaintiff’s explosion accident lawyer stated that the incident occurred in a residential building in Long Island City, New York. When an apartment became vacant, the building’s management company called Plaintiff’s employer to sand and finish the floors of the apartment. The building superintendent knew the workers were coming to perform the flooring work in the apartment. However, he did not turn off the gas for the gas stove in the apartment before the work was performed. This could only be turned off from a room in the basement which was locked and to which the superintendent had the keys. Plaintiff was not informed that the gas and pilot light was not turned off for the stove.
How the Explosion Happened
Plaintiff was provided with a lacquer sealer to apply to the floor after the sanding was done. The lacquer sealer had a flash point of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, which made it highly combustible and flammable. Products such as this one had been responsible for a number of flash fires throughout the country. As a result, these products became heavily regulated. In fact, prior to the accident, New York City enacted a law which made it illegal to use any flammable floor finishing product with a flashpoint below 80 degrees Fahrenheit indoors. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, the product he was given was not permitted for use in New York City.
While working in the room applying the sealer to the floor of the living room, the lacquer sealer ignited, causing an explosion, which engulfed the entire room in a fire. Plaintiff tried to run out of the apartment taking the 5-gallon bucket of sealer outside of the building so that the fire would not continue and engulf the entire building.
As a result of this accident, Plaintiff sustained multiple burns, including second degree to full thickness burns and soft tissue cellulitis, which required 9 days of hospitalization. Plaintiff underwent skin grafting surgery where skin was harvested from his left thigh and grafted onto his left arm. As a result he has permanent scarring. Plaintiff also suffered Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) in his left arm with ongoing pain and sensitivity and loss of strength.
What Our Explosion Accident Lawyer Did in Court
The case was extensively litigated. There was some delay when one of the named defendants who owned the premises passed away and Surrogate’s Court proceedings had to be initiated to appoint an executor of his estate. The issue of whether the retail store was entitled to a defense under the workers’ compensation law was also extensively litigated. Plaintiff received workers compensation benefits from his employer, the flooring company. Because his boss owned both the flooring company and the flooring supply store, he argued that the flooring supply store and flooring company were one in the same and thus Plaintiff could not bring claims against the flooring supply store. Our office successfully defeated this motion for summary judgment by proving that the entities had separate workers’ compensation insurance policies, and that Plaintiff had not received any payments from the flooring supply store’s policy.
Our explosion accident lawyer prepared thoroughly for a potential trial, including retaining experts in the fields of product warnings and chemical product design and development. The case ultimately settled for $1,650,000 a week after all sides participated in a full day mediation. If you happen to have any type of accident, do not hesitate to contact our law firm.