Result: $2.7 Million Verdict Over Scaffold Collapse
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. Secured Unanimous Jury Verdict for Construction Worker, Wife Against Negligent Property Owner
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. recovered $2.7 million in compensation for a 61-year-old construction worker and his wife over a construction accident which resulted in serious injuries. The plaintiff had been working on a construction site in Manhattan in August of 2003 when a suspension scaffold he was standing on, which was also loaded with building materials, titled and collapsed, causing him to fall and injure his hip.
In a lawsuit filed against the property owner, the plaintiff alleged the defendant violated the New York Labor Law. Specifically, it was claimed that the scaffold could not support the materials and personnel which the job required, that the incident stemmed from an elevation related hazard per NY Labor Law 240(1), and that the plaintiff had not been provided property safety equipment as required by the statue.
In response, the defendant argued it did not have responsibility over the placement, loading, or construction of the suspension scaffold, and that the incident resulted from the plaintiff’s negligence for overloading the scaffold with materials such as bricks and mortar. Their arguments proved unsuccessful when the presiding judge in the case ruled in favor of a motion for pre-trial summary judgment of liability filed by The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. team. A trial was subsequently held to address damages.
At trial, evidence was presented to describe the substantial damages suffered by the plaintiff, who was transported by ambulance to a local hospital after the accident and diagnosed with a fracture of his right hip. The following day, he underwent surgery for an open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture, spent five days in the hospital, and was transferred to a rehabilitation facility for over a week. Thereafter, he attended bi-weekly physical therapy sessions for two months, and underwent an outpatient procedure in 2005 to remove medical hardware implanted during the initial surgery.
An orthopedic expert noted the severity of the plaintiff’s injury, which required him to use a cane and prevented him from being able to walk long distances. The expert also noted the plaintiff’s risks for developing residual avascular necrosis as a result of the injury, which would require a total hip replacement in the future, and stated that his permanent disability would prevent him from returning to construction work. The defense’s expert opined that the plaintiff’s fracture affected the intertrochanteric / basi-cervical region of the hip, which typically heals well and would not necessitate a future hip replacement.
In April 2006, after three days of trial and 2 days of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous verdict awarding $2,774,361 in damages to the plaintiff and his wife. The recovery included:
- $2.4M for past and future pain and suffering;
- $100,367 for past stipulated and future medical expenses;
- $154,000 for lost income and lost future earnings; and
- $120,000 for the plaintiffs’ wife’s past and future loss of consortium.