Slip and Fall Accident in the Workplace: A Case Study

In 2014, one in five workplace accidents took place on a construction site (source). Despite dozens of codes, regulations and laws companies are required to follow; construction sites naturally expose workers to what the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) calls the “Fatal Four.” Electrocution, struck by object, stuck between objects and, with the highest number of incidents, falling, put each worker in danger regardless of their experience. That same year, OSHA also discovered its most violated standard is fall protection (source).

The Orlow Firm took action in a recent case involving a workplace fall due to company negligence. Sabatello Zaami, a 57 year old, union-affiliated painter and New York City resident suffered a six-foot fall from the top of a ladder during a restoration project in 2012. The fall was the result of regular movement shifting the ladder and knocking him off balance. While current labor law requires a spotter to ensure this doesn’t happen, the company had transferred that worker to a new task.

Zaami was taken from the site, by ambulance, to a hospital. A fractured heel and impact related joint damage left him with a cast, physical therapy and the inability to continue working. Permanent damage led to ongoing pain, loss of movement and a surgical procedure to the joint the following year.

Fearing that his and his family’s livelihood was at stake due to lost wages, Zaami contacted The Orlow Firm to make a case. In February 2016, The Orlow Firm filed a lawsuit against the parties in charge of the construction site for failing to provide adequate protection. Despite the obvious negligence, Zaami’s employers stated he was at fault for the accident and that his lost earnings were exaggerated, further claiming he wouldn’t have worked until the average age of retirement regardless of the fall. The court denied Zaami’s case.

The Orlow Firm is built on over 30 years of dedication to its clients. We aim to bring quality, caring service to ensure our injured clients receive what they deserve. As long as there’s a fighting chance, we will not back down. After Zaami’s case was denied, our legal counsel appealed the decision and began discussions for a pretrial settlement. Before the court could reach a decision on proceeding to trial, The Orlow Firm closed the case with a $1.3 million settlement. The physical and emotional hardship may never be undone, but Zaami’s future wellbeing has been saved in the face of company negligence.

An accident in the workplace shouldn’t mean an uncertain future. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on the job, contact The Orlow Firm today.

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Case Study: Taxi Accident

Personal injury cases are very tricky cases as they involve more than just the plaintiff and the defendant. We understand the nature of these cases, as the plaintiff will surely want – and surely deserve – compensation for damages done to them. Our firm makes sure our client will get the best kind of treatment for damages done to them.

In this particular case, our clients Shazad and Delilah suffered serious injuries after the taxi they were riding was hit by another vehicle. In ordinary circumstances, the taxi company would very well be paying for compensation and other potential treatments with insurance. However, we have to let our clients know that sometimes defendants in these cases find ways to slow cases down.

Unfortunately, these cases tend to be slowed down to such an extent that plaintiffs do not pursue the case entirely and forgo their potential compensations. When Shazad and Delilah came to the Orlow Firm, we made sure this never happened to them. We stayed on top of both the defense attorney and the insurance company to make sure the case is pursued as quickly as possible.

In the end, Shazad and Delilah were given treatment and compensation, aside from the insurance company paying for their respective surgeries. Shazad had surgery on his extremities, while Delilah was treated for neck and back problems that surfaced during the incident.

We make sure that our clients are aware of all the steps involved in their cases. The Orlow Firm schedules regular meetings via call or personal consultation periods to ensure our clients are up to date with the progress of their cases.

If you find yourself in a vehicular accident involving a service vehicle, always remember that you can pursue the company in charge of the service vehicle in order to have them treat you as part of compensation. If they refuse to do so, then feel free to contact one of our attorneys at the Orlow Firm.

People curious about certain aspects of the law can contact The Orlow Firm and its New York Office. We provide free consultation regarding all kinds of cases, and may refer you to one of our lawyers for assistance.

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Case Study: Wet Floor Slip and Fall

When it comes to personal property, it is the legal responsibility of the owner of the said property to ensure that its tenants are safe and sound. This is why personal damage cases that involve being in another person’s property normally involves having to prove that the owner of the property is actually aware of the elements that can cause damage, and that there was some form of neglect that happened, and it ultimately resulted to injury.

In this particular case, our client suffered a bad slip when he fell on the hallway in front of his apartment. Apparently the building superintendent was cleaning the hallway he was in but was not able to place adequate signage for him to notice and be more careful. The hallways was in fact shaped like an L, making it difficult for other tenants to see the signage even if it was placed in the vicinity.

When the client contacted the Orlow Firm, we first made sure the client got evidence that the building was in fact unable to provide space to see the signage in the first place. This was done by taking pictures of the place where he fell down, and how its location was not given consideration when the signage was placed by the building superintendent.

To make sure our client did not have any more damages, we referred him to a doctor and checked if the building managers could provide insurance. In the end, we were able to get a settlement and our client was able to get treatment for his knee.

We in the Orlow Firm ensures that our clients are made aware of their rights and responsibilities as tenants and occupants of these kinds of establishments. We also guarantee that our clients are made aware of the various circumstances and processes that are taking place while their cases are being dealt with in court. In the cases of personal damages, we also try in our utmost to get the best treatment possible depending on the particulars of our clients’ cases.

Anyone curious about certain aspects of the law can contact The Orlow Firm and its New York Office. One of our lawyers may provide assistance with different cases courtesy of a free consultation.

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Wrongful Death in Police Custody

Diabetic Man Died After 40 Hours in Custody Without Insulin

Settlement: $1,250,000
Case: M.P., as Administratrix of the Goods, Chattels and Credits of A.V. and on Behalf of the Heirs and Distributees of the Deceased, A.V. v City of New York, No. 2742/03
Court: Queens Supreme
Judge: Martin E. Ritholtz
Date: 2/7/2007

Plaintiff Attorney(s)
Adam M. Orlow; The Orlow Firm, Flushing, NY

Defense Attorney(s)
Philip Pizzuot, Assistant Corporation Counsel,
Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York, NY

FACTS & ALLEGATIONS: At about 8:30 p.m. on September 20, 2002, plaintiff’s decedent A.V, 45, an insurer’s claims adjuster, was arrested by a fire marshal for allegedly setting off a sprinkler system in a bathroom of New York Downtown Hospital, in Manhattan. A type-1 diabetic, A.V was held in police custody until his arraignment at about 1 P.M. on September 22. After being released and returning to his home, he collapsed while taking a shower. He was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A.V.’s sister, M.P., claimed that A.V. died because he did not have access to his insulin during his 40-hour-long detention.

M.P., acting as administratrix of A.V.’s estate, sued the City of New York. The estate alleged that the City’s Police Department failed to provide timely, adequate medical care.

M.P. contended that she brought A.V. to his home and tat A.V. indicated that he could treat himself faster than an emergency room could, so there was no reason to go to a hospital. However, M.P. claimed that she did not know whether A.V. ever took his insulin before he died.

The estate’s counsel claimed that A.V. was wearing a medic-alert necklace and had a syringe with him at the time of his arrest. He contended that fire marshal Thomas Silvestri confiscated the syringe and took A.V. to a police precinct.

Defense counsel contended that, while in custody, A.F. was seen twice by paramedics. He claimed that A.V. did not express a need to seek treatment at a hospital. He also claimed that a precinct paramedic recommended that A.V. seek treatment at a hospital, but that A.V. refused. Defense counsel produced a waiver to that effect.

In response, the estate’s counsel argues that the arresting officer, an emergency medical technician at the precinct, and an emergency medical technician at the booking station all were aware of A.V.’s insulin requirement. He also contended that the waiver was not really a waiver, as it indicated only a waiver of pre-hospital care. He argued that there was no waiver of a trip to the hospital, which was an option on the form that A.V. did not mark off. He further argues that, at the time he signed the waiver, A.V. was not yet in need of insulin. After signing the waiver, A.V remained in custody for another 30 hours.

INJURIES/DAMAGES: death – diabetic ketoacidosis
A.V. died September 22, 2002, at age 45. An autopsy listed his cause of death as diabetic ketoacidosis – a condition that stems from a lack of insulin. The estate’s expert endocrinologist determined that A.V. would have died even if he had taken insulin immediately upon his release from custody. The estate sought recover of damages for A.V.’s wrongful death.

PLAINTIFF EXPERT(S)
Conrad Berenson, PhD, labor economics, Woodbury, NY (did not testify)
Henry Branche, general investigations, Massapequa, NY (did not testify)

DEFENSE EXPERT(S)
Fred Goldman, PhD., economics, New York, NY (did not testify)
Loren Wissner Greene, M.D., endocrinology, New York, NY (did not testify)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel declined to contribute.

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Labor Law Construction Accident

Fall from scaffold caused back, knee injuries, plaintiff alleged

Settlement: $1,375,000
Case: Plaintiff v One State Street, LLC
Court: Queens Supreme
Judge: Marguerite A. Grays
Date: 8/22/2007

Plaintiff Attorney(s) Adam M. Orlow
The Orlow Firm Flushing, NY

Defense Attorney(s) Steven Steigerwalk,
Law Office of John Humphries, Melville, NY (One State Street LLC)
None reported (Topline Contracting Inc.)

FACTS AND ALLEGATIONS On June 17, 2003, plaintiff, 39, a remover of asbestos, worked in the basement of a building that was located at 1 State Street, in Manhattan. Plaintiff’s work required access to an area of the basement’s ceiling. Thus, he was standing on a scaffold. During the course of that work, a co-worker moved the scaffold. Plaintiff fell about six feet, and he landed on the ground. He claimed that he sustained injuries of his back and one knee.

Plaintiff sued the building’s owner, One State Street LLC. He alleged that One State Street violated the labor law.

One State Street commenced a third-party suit against Plaintiff’s employer, Topline Contracting Inc. One State Street sought indemnification. However, the third-party suit was dismissed via summary judgment.

Plaintiff’s counsel claimed that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard, as defined by Labor Law Section 240(1), and that Plaintiff was not provided the proper, safe equipment that is a requirement of the statute.

Defense counsel contended that Plaintiff’s actions were the sole proximate cause of his fall.

Plaintiff’s counsel moved for pretrial summary judgment of liability, and the motion was granted. The parties proceeded to mediation that addressed damages.

INJURIES/DAMAGES arthroscopy; discectomy; facetectomy; fusion, lumbar; herniated sic at L4-5; herniated sic at L5-S1; laminotomy; lumbar laminectomy; torn meniscus

Plaintiff claimed that he sustained a tear of his right knee’s meniscus and herniations of his L4-5 and L5-S1 intervertebral discs. His right knee’s injury was addressed via arthroscopic surgery that was performed June 28, 2006. He also underwent a multi-segmented surgery that addressed his back’s injuries. The surgery included a decompressive laminotomy, which is an excision of the bony plate that covers a vertebra, and a facetectomy, which is the removal of a vertebra’s fact joint. Those procedures addressed his spine’s L4, L5 and S1 levels. The surgery also included an L5 laminectomy, which is the removal of the L5 vertebra’s posterior arch; a discectomy, which is the surgical removal of a disc; and fusion of his spine’s L4 and L5 levels.

Plaintiff performed about two weeks of work that completed the job that he was performing when the accident occurred. However, he has not performed any other work. He claimed that he suffers residual disabilities that prevent his resumption of any type of work.

Plaintiff sought recovery of his past and future lost earnings and damages for his past and future pain and suffering.

Defense counsel contended that Plaintiff’s spinal injuries stemmed from significant conditions that preexisted that accident.

The defense’s vocational-rehabilitation expert determined that Plaintiff can perform jobs that would provide income that equaled or exceeded the income that he was earning before the accident occurred.

RESULT The parties agreed to a $1,375,000 settlement, which was established via the guidance of mediator Peter Merani, of United Arbitration Inc.

INSURER(S) Travelers Property Casualty Corp. for One State Street (primary insurer) Zurich North America for One State Street (excess)

PLAINTIFF EXPERT(S) Conrad Berenson, Ph.D., Economics, Woodbury, NY
Richard J. Radna, M.D., Neurosurgery, New York, NY

DEFENSE EXPERT(S) Maurice Carter, M.D., orthopedic surgery, New York, NY
Peter Stickney, M.S., C.R.C., vocational rehabilitation, Manlius, NY

EDITOR’S NOTE This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. One State Street’s counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls. Topline Contracting’s counsel was not asked to contribute.

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