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$1.1 Million Settlement for Construction Site Accident - Worker Paralyzed After Fall from Plank Secured by Ladders

The plaintiff fell on a job site and suffered a T11-12 fracture that led to spinal cord compression and paralysis.

On the date of the incident, the plaintiff and his co-workers were supposed to be performing roofing related construction work on a residential job site. They leaned three ladders up against a building and placed a plank so that it extended the length of the ladders and they secured it to the ladders with ladder jacks. The plank and ladders were not in any way secured or attached to the building, and the ladders were set on soil, rather than wood or some other solid surface. The plaintiff contends that he and two of his coworkers climbed the ladders and stood on the plank while they attempted to perform their work, and when one of the ladders shifted in the soil, the men fell. The plaintiff’s co-workers landed on their feet. The plaintiff landed on his back.

Defendant STG Construction, Inc. was the general contractor on the job site. Defendant Meagher Construction, Inc. was a subcontractor on the job site. Meagher hired the plaintiff’s employer when it was unable to complete its work in accordance with deadlines. Neither Meagher’s men nor STG’s men were present at or near the ladders on the morning of the fall.

STG admitted during discovery that it was in charge of safety for all workers on the site, and Meagher admitted that it had the authority and the duty to advise workers, including the plaintiff, to change the manner in which they were performing work to ensure the workers’ safety on the jobsite, but that it did not do so.

STG was aware that the ground, where ladders or staging were to be placed, consisted of loose, sandy soil. Despite the conditions, it did not use wood to secure ladders so that they would not shift in the soil. STG was also aware that the sub-contractors on the job site were not using wood to secure the ladders, and it did not require them to do so. Meagher used wood to stabilize ladders on the job site where its employees were working, but it admitted during discovery that it did not know if the plaintiff’s employer was using wood to secure the base of their ladders.

Moreover, prior to the date of plaintiff’s injury, workers were using pump jack staging, rather than ladders, on the opposite side of the building to perform the same work that plaintiff was performing on the day of the incident. At the time plaintiff was injured, pump jack posts were on the job site but had not been erected.

Following the fall, the plaintiff was transferred from the scene of the accident by ambulance to a local hospital. Low back CT scans were obtained and revealed T11-12 fracture with spinal cord compression. The plaintiff was immediately brought to the operating room for urgent decompression, open reduction, and instrumented fusion. Although the surgery was successful and his spine was aligned correctly, the doctors noted that he had suffered a fracture of the vertebral column as well as paraplegia. The plaintiff has no feeling in his legs and is unable to control his bladder or bowels.

Plaintiff brought negligence claims against STG and Meagher, and his wife and children brought loss of consortium claims.

The case settled following mediation.

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