$240,000 Settlement for Construction Worker Who Sustained Burn Injuries in Brooklyn Accident
Sullivan Brill recently finalized a $240,000 settlement for a construction worker who was injured when fumes from floor lacquer he was applying to a wood floor unexpectedly ignited. As a result, he suffered second degree burns to his thighs, torso, arm and hand. Investigation revealed that the fumes ignited from an electrical arc. A lawsuit was brought against the owner of the building and manufacture of the lacquer. The owner was sued under New York Labor Law §241(6). It was claimed that the owner failed to provide a safe work site and that it violated safety regulations including in the New York Industrial Code requiring an owner to protect workers from accidental fire or explosion where the construction workers are working with materials that create flammable fumes. By failing to turn off the electricity to the work area, the building owner violated this regulation and was thus liable for the burn injuries sustained by the workers. A products liability lawsuit was also brought against the manufacture of the lacquer alleging that the product was unreasonably dangerous and that the manufacture did not provide adequate warnings of the flammable nature of the product. As a result of his burn injuries, the client was unable to work for several months. He filed a workers compensation claim and had his lost wages covered during the time he recovered from his injuries. Workers compensation also covered his medical expenses related to the accident. However, under New York law, two thirds of these expenses had to be repaid out of the proceeds of the settlement for the construction workers burn injuries. Fortunately, the client was able to return to work and his burns healed with almost no residual injury. He did have some scaring from the burns and therefore part of his settlement included compensation for the pain and suffering he experienced immediately after the accident as well as compensation for the future suffering he will be expected to experience.
Sullivan Brill brought suit against both the dealership and the service station, asserting products liability and negligence claims against the dealership and negligence claims against the service station for failing to conduct a proper inspection of the vehicle and failing to warn the client of the dangers in driving the car in the condition it was in. Half way through the litigation, the dealership withdrew from the litigation and a default was entered against it. A settlement was reached with the service station and a damages trial was conducted before a federal judge in the Federal District Court in Puerto Rico. After hearing the evidence, the judge assessed the client's damages at $4,000,000, including $1,000,000 for medical expenses, $500,000 for lost earnings and lost earning capacity, $1,500,000 for past and future pain and suffering and $1,000,000 for emotional damages.
Practice area(s): Personal Injury