Result: $2.5+ Million Verdict for Construction Worker Hit by Falling Brick
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. Secures Verdict in Excess of $2.5 Million for NYC Construction Worker Hit on Head by Falling Brick.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. prevailed in securing a $2,536,000 verdict on behalf of a 29-year-old construction laborer who was struck on the head by a brick which fell from the fifth floor of a building on a construction site in Manhattan. The incident occurred in April of 1992.
The lawsuit filed by the firm on behalf of the plaintiff claimed the brick which struck him had been wedged under a pulley before it fell, and that the defendant (the City of New York) violated New York Labor Law 240(1). In defense, the defendant argued it was not liable for the accident and that the plaintiff’s employer, a third party waterproofing company, was responsible. In turn, the third party defendants claimed the plaintiff was not one of its employees.
At trial, the plaintiff produced the supervisor of the building, who testified the plaintiff was in fact one of the workers performing duties on the construction site at the time of the accident. Evidence, including illustrations of the injury and surgery, pulley, and photographs, were also presented to show the severity of the client’s head injuries, which included:
- A depressed skull fracture;
- A subdural hematoma, which necessitated a cranioplasty;
- Cognitive deficits;
- Partial loss of vision in one eye; and
- A subjective loss of smell.
As a result of these injuries, the plaintiff, an immigrant who did not complete any formal education beyond the eighth grade, claimed his impairments also resulted in short-term memory deficits and various problems with cognition. It was noted that the injury had resulted in a 1-week hospitalization after the initial incident, and an additional week of hospitalization four months later after he underwent the cranioplasty. The plaintiff was also treated by a clinic on three separate occasions and was unable to work for 2 years. He subsequently resumed working as a livery cab driver.
Counsel for the defense argued at trial that if the plaintiff suffered cognitive impairments as severe as he described, how would not be able to safely operate a motor vehicle, and that the plaintiff did not make any effort when he underwent neuropsychological evaluations. The defense did not contest the plaintiff’s partial loss of vision.
The plaintiff sought $2.5 million in the suit’s demand, and the defense had only offered $1 million. Following two days of trial and one day of deliberations, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, and awarded $2,536,000 in compensation. Post-trial motions were denied, and the defendant (City of New York) was granted indemnification against the third party defendant. The breakdown of the verdict is as follows:
- $1.5 million for pain and suffering;
- $1 million for future pain and suffering
- $36,000 for past lost income
Falling objects are among the greatest dangers on construction sites, and are considered among OSHA’s “Fatal Four” most dangerous worksite hazards. Ensuring accountability in cases like these, particularly when defendants are unwilling to pay what victims rightfully deserve, is critical not only to protecting the rights and futures of clients who depend on recovering full compensation for their losses, but also to ensuring accountability. These outcomes help deter companies, worksite owners, and even public entities or local governments from failing to comply with workplace safety regulations that minimize the most pressing hazards workers face.