$590,000 Settlement for Personal Injury - Pipe Fitter Slips Off Ladder and Falls to Concrete Floor

The 57-year-old plaintiff pipe fitter was performing work in connection with the installation of large HVAC units on a construction site. The pipes had not yet been insulated because the work had not been completed, so water would drip from the pipes and accumulate on the concrete floor when the units were turned on.

The plaintiff did not mop up the water, nor did he ask anyone else to mop up the water, before proceeding to perform his work, which was to hang a chain fall from a metal grate above the concrete floor. The plaintiff placed the ladder in a puddle of water and attempted to climb it when his wet shoes slipped off of the ladder and he fell to the concrete floor.

The plaintiff suffered a compression fracture, which required fusion.

The plaintiff sued the general contractor on the job site, alleging that it had a duty to ensure that the area where the plaintiff was working was free from hazards, including water.

The defendant was expected to argue at trial that the plaintiff was well aware of the water and that he had two options when encountering the hazardous work condition. He could have removed the water himself, or in the alternative, he could have reported it to an entity that could have removed it and waited to do his work until such time as it was removed.

The plaintiff retained a vocational expert who opined that he was permanently disabled due to his chronic pain and lack of transferable skills. The defendant was expected to offer expert testimony at trial that the plaintiff could work in a number of sedentary occupations.

The case settled following mediation and just prior to the trial of the third-party case and the Board of Industrial Accidents' determination as to whether the plaintiff was permanently and totally disabled and entitled to benefits under G.L.c. 152, Sect. 34A.