Justia Badge
Lawyers Weekly
Martindale-Hubbell
AVVO.
Super Lawyers.
Super Lawyers
WBA Supporter
Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys
The National Trial Lawyers
Top Ten Ranking
Top 40 Under 40
AVVO
Top 100
Best Lawyers 2020 Badge

$675,000 Settlement for Construction Site Accident - Ironworker Loses Fingers During Crane Operation

The plaintiff, a 57-year-old ironworker, lost three of his fingers when he and his co-worker were attempting to use a tower crane to move a steel bundle at a construction site.

At the time of the accident in 2001, the plaintiff was working at a site where a 13-story building and a four-level parking garage were being constructed. The size of the project was such that two tower cranes were needed to reach the entire site.

The plan was to erect a tower crane on the east side of the site, which would be used to erect the east side of the building, and erect a tower crane on the west side of the project, which was to be used to erect the west side of the building. The two sides were to be erected simultaneously.

Multiple design-related problems arose such that by the fall of 2001, the erection of the east side of the building was essentially complete, while the west side of the building was erected to only the third or fourth floor. In addition, the minor structural steel work on the east side could not be completed because the design changes had prevented the fabrication and shipment of the materials according to the schedule.

The plaintiff's employer, who had subcontracted the steel erection, was not required under its contract to maintain the east tower crane on the job site given the fact that the work was essentially completed, and accordingly, the east tower crane was removed pursuant to the agreement on Sept. 11, 2001.

On Nov. 1, 2001, steel was delivered to the west side of the project near the area of the west tower crane, which needed to be placed in the alley on the east side of the project. The raising gang, which included the plaintiff, was instructed by its employer to put the steel in the alley. The raising gang attempted to use the west tower crane to do so.

The plaintiff was located between the second and fourth floor of the building near the east side. The first steel bundle was connected to the crane hook, and the crane swung its boom to the east side of the building where the steel was to be landed, but the bundle would not clear the building. The plaintiff pushed the bundle away from the building and it was landed.

An attempt was then made to move a second bundle, which was to be placed on the east side of the first bundle. The plaintiff attempted to push that bundle off the building, but the bundle was tight on the building, scraping the building and getting hung up.

The plaintiff placed his hand on the cable to guide the bundle as it was lowered. The bundle was landed. The plaintiff's hand was still on the cable when his co-worker gave the signal to the crane operator to raise the hook. The crane operator, who was unable to see the plaintiff, raised the cable and the plaintiff's fingers got caught in the block.

The plaintiff lost the third and fourth fingers on the day of the accident, and the index finger was amputated several days later. The plaintiff underwent subsequent surgical repairs to gain better mobility. Ultimately, he was fitted with a prosthetic device.

The plaintiff and his wife sued the general contractor on the job site, alleging that the general contractor had a duty to oversee the job site and ensure that the crane work was performed safely, which would have included ensuring that a plan was in place to perform the work safely without the tower crane.

The defendant contended that there were alternative methods to move the steel, such as carrying or using some apparatus to move the individual pieces. The defendant further contended that the plaintiff was responsible for his own injuries. During discovery the defendant elicited testimony from all of the plaintiff's co-workers that an experienced ironworker, such as the plaintiff, would have been aware of the risk of placing his hand on the cable, and the plaintiff acted in an unsafe manner.

The defendant was expected to offer testimony at trial that the steel erector, the plaintiff's employer, was responsible for the steel erection; to the extent that a plan needed to be initiated to move the steel, it was the steel erector's responsibility; and the general contractor could not have known what the plaintiff was going to do.

The plaintiff's treating physician and vocational expert opined that the plaintiff was permanently and totally disabled, and that he essentially had no transferable skills. The defendant was expected to offer expert testimony that the plaintiff could work in a number of sedentary occupations.

The case settled just prior to the Board of Industrial Accidents' determination as to whether the plaintiff was permanently disabled and entitled to benefits under Chapter 152, Sect. 34A.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
We wanted to thank you again so much for all you did for us and your support throughout this ordeal. You did a great job for us and we truly appreciate it. We wish you well always. Dot and Alex
★★★★★
We are extremely happy that we chose Kathy Jo Cook as our attorney. She brings experience, knowledge and compassion into the complicated legal process. Day or night, Attorney Cook always had time to talk to us and answer any questions we had throughout. We highly recommend her. Christopher & Mary Casella
★★★★★
KJC Law firm handled my case and I was very pleased with the results. The Team there always returned my calls or emails quickly. They are very direct and upfront on how they feel the case will go and the best ways of handling it. I would definitely call them again should I need their assistance and will recommend them to others highly. J G.
★★★★★
Law firm represented myself and another individual in a work related age discrimination case and was successful in obtaining a settlement in our favor. Couldn't be happier with the results and the representation. Mike K.
★★★★★
I have worked with Kathy Jo Cook for over a decade. She has represented me in both personal and professional matters and has given 150% every time. Kathy Jo is hardworking and always has my best interests in mind. She is professional and reliable and has been accessible as needed, even after business hours. Kathy has expertise in many areas of law and is incredibly fair and ethical in her client work. We secured favorable outcomes every time that have enabled me to enjoy more happiness, health and success in my life. Mindy