Sam James fell down a chimney.
Although this sounds fantastic, Sam fell down an abandoned chimney while doing construction work on the roof of St. Francis College in Brooklyn. The chimney was unmarked and covered with thin plywood. While working on the roof, Sam stepped onto the weak plywood which collapsed beneath his feet. While falling he recalled the horror of seeing the light at the top of the chimney grow smaller and smaller, and he thought that he was going to die. Fortunately, Sam did not fall like a stone to the bottom of the shaft. He got wedged toward the bottom.
Sam suffered multiple injuries including a degloving of his leg (requiring skin grafts), a torn knee meniscus (requiring surgery), and herniated discs in his lower back which would require surgery in the future. He was unable to return to work.
Sam’s wife, a former client, contacted us right after the accident. We met with Sam and his wife in his room at Bellevue Hospital.
As a first step, we referred Mr. James to workers’ compensation counsel to ensure that he would receive his lost income and so that his medical bills would be paid. His workers’ compensation carrier eventually paid $175,000 for his medical bills and lost income.
We brought a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. James against both the college and the general contractor under Labor Law 240(1) which provides special protections to construction workers. Over the course of years, we prosecuted Mr. James’s case through depositions, discovery, and various motions. We hired an economist to prove the extent of Mr. James’s lost earnings.
Without going to trial, we settled for $1,500,000 including the compensation carrier’s full waiver of a pay-back of its lien.
*The client name has been changed to protect the client identity.
Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.