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Result: $2.4M Settlement for Union Mason Who Fell Through Temporary Trench Bridge

The Perecman Firm settles construction accident case for NYC worker injured after falling through temporary lumber trench cover.

The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. Attorneys David Perecman and Zachary Perecman reached a $2,400,000 settlement on behalf of a union-affiliated mason who suffered back injuries after falling through a trench at a construction site which had been covered with a temporary lumber bridge.

The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, arose from a construction accident on the site of a new residential building on Amsterdam Ave. in New York City. The Plaintiff, a union mason and foreman for a subcontractor on the site, had been crossing a temporary bridge comprised of 2x4s and plywood.

While walking over the temporary cover, the sheet of plywood flipped upwards, causing the Plaintiff to plummet through an opening and into the bottom of the trench.

Injuries & Treatment

The Plaintiff claimed to have suffered injuries to his lower back. He was treated initially with pain management and physical therapy, and subsequently by an orthopedic surgeon.

An MRI indicated a herniated disc and severe impingement was treated conservatively with additional physical therapy and an epidural injection. Additional MRIs showed high-grade compression of several segments of the spine and substantial nerve root compression. The plaintiff also experienced radiculopathy in his lower extremities.

The Plaintiff’s persistent pain ultimately necessitated surgery. He underwent a decompressive lumbar laminectomy and spinal fusion, followed by post-operative care and physical therapy. He continued to receive care and intermittently and up to the time of trial, including regular physician visits, injections, pain medication, and restriction of activity. The plaintiff claimed chronic and persistent pain prevented him from engaging in many physical duties, including those requires of his work.

Case & Resolution

Firm Attorneys named several defendants in the suit, including the premises owner, the general contractor, and another contractor involved in the project. Several parties also filed a third-party contribution and indemnification claim against the Plaintiff’s employer.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged the defendants failed to provide a safe workplace in regard to an elevation-related hazard in violation of NY Labor Law § 240(1), that defendants failed to sufficiently safeguard the hazardous trench opening as required by Labor Law § 241(6), and that they violated Labor Law 200.

Defendants argued the Plaintiff’s accident either did not occur whatsoever, or occurred in a way other than the described, as, they claimed, there was no trench at the site on the date of the incident because it had been filled, and because there was no openining large enough to fall through. Project records indicated only that the area of trench had been filled sometime between the Monday before the date of the incident, and the Monday after.

Following two private mediations, the case proceeded for trial. However, Firm Attorneys and the defense entered into negotiations, which resulted in a $2.4 million settlement, agreed upon for payment by three separate parties.

Construction accident claims can be devastating experiences for workers and their families, and difficult legal proceedings for even experienced lawyers. As one of New York’s premier construction accident law firms, The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has the experience and resources to address even the most complex claims involving multiple defendants, third party liability, disputes, and more.

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