Result: $3.25 Million Settlement for Plumber Who Lost Two Fingers on Unguarded Table Saw
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. secures multi-million settlement over table saw accident resulting in traumatic finger amputations.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. Attorneys Adam Hurwitz and Zach Perecman were successful in recovering a six-figure settlement for a client who lost two fingers after using an unguarded table saw.
The plaintiff was a 51-year-old plumber who had been performing work at a renovation site in Manhattan. While using a table saw to cut a sheet of plywood, the wood kicked and caused the plaintiff’s left hand to be pulled into the path of the blade.
Injuries & Treatment
The plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his left hand and fingers, including:
- Traumatic amputation of parts of the index and middle fingers of the left, non-dominant hand.
- Open fractures to the left hand’s index, middle, and ring fingers.
- Laceration and tearing of ligaments, nerves, and tendons and lacerations of the left hand, thumb, and little finger.
The plaintiff was treated surgically with procedures involving debridement of the damaged tissue, open reduction and internal fixation of the fractures, and repairs to damaged ligaments, nerves, and tendons. He underwent approximately 12 months of physical therapy.
The plaintiff was unable to work since his accident, claiming that residual pain, numbness, and limited range of motion prevented his performance of manual labor or any gainful employment. He sought reimbursement of a workers’ compensation lien, approximately $1 million for past and future lost earnings and work-related insurance benefits, and damages for past and future pain and suffering.
The defense countered with a vocational-rehabilitation expert who opined that the plaintiff could perform unskilled labor that would provide annual earnings between $30,000 to $54,000.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. filed suit against the premises’ owner, tenant, and management, and the construction company overseeing the renovation project claiming that the defendants negligently failed to provide a safe workplace and that said failure constituted a violation of New York State Labor Law.
Specifically, it was alleged that the accident resulted from the saw’s lack of a protective guard, with plaintiff’s counsel contending that the defendants violated the following New York Codes, Rules and Regulations:
- Title 23, part 1.12(c)(2), which specifies that a non-portable power-driven saw's blade must be protected by guards that effectively shield the blade.
- Title 23, part 9.2(a), which governs maintenance of power-operated equipment at work sites.
Plaintiff’s counsel further contented that the violations established the defendants’ failure to provide reasonable and adequate protect as required by Labor Law 241(6).
The defense contended that the plaintiff was an experienced worker who knew the dangers of using an unguarded table saw. The defendant construction company in charge of the renovation argued that because it was a manager and not the general contractor, it was not subject to the requirements of Labor Law § 241(6), and that the plaintiff had not been given permission to use the saw, as a sign affixed to the saw warned that it was not to be used by workers not employed by the company.
The defendant tenant and construction company impleaded the plaintiff’s employer seeking indemnification for alleged negligence in supervising the plaintiff. The defendant premises owner, tenant, and management filed a cross complaint against the project manager construction company seeking indemnification.
After moving for summary judgment of liability, the presiding judge found that the defendant construction company and premises owners violated Labor Law § 241(6) and denied the property tenant’s motion for summary judgment.
While an appeal was pending, a settlement was negotiated in which the construction company’s insurer agreed to pay $1,125,000, and the plaintiff’s employer paid $1 million of its primary policy and an additional $1,125,000 from an excess policy, for a total settlement of $3.25 million. The settlement also included a reduction of the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation lien.
The initial settlement offer was $750,000.