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Falling Injury

Falling-Injury

New York has a powerful law that protects construction workers from gravity-related risks such as falling injuries. In addition, this law protects workers struck by falling objects. This law holds construction site owners and general contractors strictly liable for gravity related injuries. This is a powerful protection for construction workers. Good construction accident attorneys know how to get their clients compensation under this law.

This law came into play when a worker sustains an injury as a result of falling from a ladder. At the time of his accident, the worker was attempting to remove a large satellite dish. To complete this job, the worker needed to cut the dish into smaller pieces using a jigsaw.  To access this location, he had to utilize a ladder.  After completing this task, he began to descend on the ladder, when the ladder suddenly shifted, causing the man to fall twenty (20) feet onto the pavement below.

The Falling Injury Lawsuit

The injured construction worker (the plaintiff) sued the property owner, the commercial tenant, the tenant’s national property management company, the locally retained property management company, and the subcontractor who hired the plaintiff’s employer (the defendants).  The defendants named the employer as an additional defendant in a separate legal action.  In New York, a person injured on the job can bring a Workers’ Compensation claim. Generally, the worker cannot sue his employer. Nevertheless, any defendant in a construction accident case can bring a legal action against the employer of the injured party. In those cases the defendant must show the plaintiff suffered a “grave injury” to sustain the claim against the employer. Here, he employer agreed that the injured worker suffered grave injuries in his accident. Accordingly, the claims against the employer were allowed.

The Damages

As a result of this accident, the injured man suffered catastrophic injuries. These included skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury. The brain injury resulted in a spastic quadriplegic condition with dysphagia, incontinence, and loss of verbal interaction.  Doctors initially feared that he would remain in a permanent vegetative state. The plaintiff eventually regained consciousness.  His doctors stated that despite the devastating nature of his brain injuries and his inability to talk, he was aware of the nature of his disability. The plaintiff provided the defendants with a video depicting the plaintiff’s mother sitting next to his hospital bed telling him a story. He smiled at the end of the story.  Plaintiff’s attorneys argued that this evidence demonstrated that he was able to understand the story.  The defendants disagreed with the plaintiff and argued that he was not aware of his surroundings after the fall.

The plaintiff also submitted an economic expert who argued that the cost of his future lifetime care ranged from $5,000,000 – $12,000,000, depending upon the level of care and whether plaintiff remained as an in-patient at a rehabilitation facility or was transitioned to his home.

Who’s Responsible

The plaintiff moved for summary judgment in the falling injury case. All of the defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s case.  The defendants in this case argued that the removal of the satellite dish was not covered under the law. They also argued and that the actions of the injured worker caused his accident and injuries.  The construction worker countered that the demolition and removal of the large dish was required. Without its removal, the workers would not have been able to reach portions of the roof. These portions of the roof were the subject of very significant repairs. Accordingly, the work was a necessary part of the major alteration work. The plaintiff also argued that his fall occurred during the demolition of the satellite dish. Demolition is protected under the law.

While the motions were pending before the court case settled for $6,800,000.  The employer’ insurance carrier paid $5,750,000.  The plaintiff also received $50,000 from the national property manager, $350,000 from the commercial tenant, $150,000 from the landowner, and $500,000.00 from the local property management company. The subcontractor had not responded to this legal action. In addition, the employer/compensation carrier agreed to waive their workers’ compensation lien. The lien was approximately $1,000,000. They also agreed to cover the plaintiff’s medical and related expenses for his lifetime.

Construction accidents can cause permanent, life-shattering injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic falling injury, you need to call the experienced lawyers at the Platta Law Firm, PLLC to help you get the compensation you deserve.