Verdicts and Settlements:
$342,500 Settlement For A 49 Year Old Painter Who Fractured His Wrist When He Fell Off A Ladder While Painting An Apartment
Immediately prior to trial Mr. Sitinas was able to obtain a significant $342,500 settlement for a 49 year old plaintiff who fractured his wrist when he fell off a ladder while painting an apartment.
This accident occurred at an apartment building in Astoria, Queens on July 25, 2008. At that time, our client had been hired to paint several apartments inside a building which contained commercial businesses on the ground level and apartments above. Our client claimed he was on a ladder pulling nails out of a window frame when his ladder slid and one of the ladder’s legs became caught in a torn section of the apartment’s linoleum flooring. As the leg of the ladder got caught, the ladder toppled over and our client tried to break his fall by extending his right arm. Unfortunately, he not only broke his fall but also his right wrist, requiring surgery to repair his distal radius. During the surgery, screws were implanted to secure the distal radius fracture.
Mr. Sitinas sued the building owners, alleging violations of New York Labor Laws, Section 240(1). We claimed the owners were strictly liable for our client’s injuries as they failed to provide our client with appropriate safety devices and failed to properly secure the ladder. We also claimed the flooring itself was defective and dangerous, contributing to the accident.
The defendant owners vehemently denied that the accident occurred in the subject apartment. They claim that when they first learned of plaintiff’s injured wrist, he was downstairs and outside the building. They claim he had gone to his vehicle to retrieve supplies then he fell crossing the street- therefore the New York Labor Laws did not apply and they, as the building’s owners, were not responsible for plaintiff’s fall outside their building on the street. They further claimed that when they learned of plaintiff’s accident, they sent him to the hospital and then proceeded upstairs to lock the apartment door. They claimed that when they went to secure the apartment, they noticed the ladder was standing upright in the apartment and not toppled over as plaintiff claimed- therefore the accident must have occurred somewhere other than the apartment itself.
The plaintiff claimed this was a fabrication of the defendants to avoid legal liability for his injuries. He claimed his accident did indeed occur upstairs in the apartment where his ladder fell. He further stated that the reason the owners first learned of the accident when plaintiff was outside their building is because that is where the plaintiff went to inform them of the accident. The building owners maintained a business that was only accessible from the sidewalk outside of the building and not accessible from the apartment building’s lobby. In order to inform them of his injury and inability to complete his work, he proceeded outside the building and encountered one of the owners on the sidewalk. He further states that several days later, he sent an employee of his to the apartment to finish the work. When that employee entered the apartment, the ladder was still laying on its side exactly where it had landed after the plaintiff’s fall. Thus the building owners were not being truthful in claiming they found the ladder standing upright when they secured the apartment.
Shortly before trial, the defendant building owners offered a substantial amount of money to avoid having a jury decide this case. Based upon the significant sum offered, the client decided to accept the settlement and forego trial.