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Result: $2.1 Million Settlement for Carpenter Who Fell From A-Frame Ladder

The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. recovers $2+ million for a carpenter who fell from a six-foot A-frame ladder while painting.

Attorney Adam M. Hurwitz of The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. recovered a six-figure settlement for a client who suffered back and ankle injuries after falling from a six-foot A-frame ladder.

The plaintiff was a 48-year-old non-union carpenter who had been painting the wall of a building undergoing a renovation. While standing on the fourth rung of the ladder, the ladder wobbled and caused the plaintiff to fall to the ground.

Injuries & Treatment

The plaintiff’s injuries included a fractured ankle which was treated surgically with an open reduction and internal fixation and a second surgery to remove the orthopedic hardware. A herniated disc in his lower back was treated surgically with a vertebral fusion following two years of failed conservative treatment that included epidural injections, pain medications, and physical therapy.

The plaintiff claimed that he was unable to return to any type of employment because of his injuries.

Claims

A lawsuit filed against the building owner claimed that the defendant violated NY Labor Law § 200, § 240(1), § 241(6), and multiple sections of the NY State Industrial Code for failing to provide the plaintiff with adequate safety equipment to perform his work. It sought damages for pain and suffering and lost earnings.

The defense raised several arguments.

Related to the plaintiff’s injuries, the defendant claimed that while the ankle fracture may have resulted from the accident, the back injury was degenerative and unrelated to the incident. Experts for the defense opined that the plaintiff recovered well and was able to work but chose not to because of the potential economic gain from his pending lawsuit. The defense also submitted surveillance video that showed the plaintiff digging a ditch and operating a backhoe as his home.

The defendant also argued the plaintiff was the sole cause of the accident, alleging that his actions and misuse of the ladder caused the ladder’s movement and / or his slipping from the rungs. Citing records from the ER, the defense contended that the plaintiff’s injuries may have resulted from different accident dynamics, such as a slip and fall on ice outside of the building.

Result

Summary judgment was granted for liability under Labor Law § 240(1). After the defendant’s appeal was unsuccessful in appellate court, the case was scheduled for trial on the issue of damages.

Prior to trial, a mediated settlement was reached in which the defendant’s primary and excess insurer agreed to pay a total of $2.1 million.

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