On a bright day, a 53-year-old electrician was working on the roof of a community college. In order to reach the spot, she was working on she had to climb up a 20-foot ladder. When she was about 15 feet in the air, she slipped and fell all the way to the ground below, hitting a slab of concrete.
The fall and hard landing caused serious injuries including a fracture of the right femur, a herniated disk and fracture at L-2 a fracture in her right foot, and injuries to both knees. After being rushed to the hospital doctors performed an open reduction internal fixation of the femur fracture and surgeons also placed a retrograde nail in her knee. This required her to stay in the hospital for more than a week and the after, she was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility for nearly two weeks. She was unable to use her right leg for three months and during this time, she also had to wear a back brace.
Despite the quick action of her doctors, she continues to experience pain in both knees and back, and eventually, she needed to have additional surgery on both knees and back. Her continued pain and limited range of motion have made it impossible for her to return to work.
Learn more in detail about Construction Accidents Involving A Ladder Fall here.
The electrician decided to file a construction injury lawsuit against the general contractor of the job site and the company that had installed the ladder, alleging that they had failed to install proper nonslip coating to the rungs of the ladder and that they had also failed to clean off drywall dust.
Surprisingly, the defendants admitted liability in this case, however, they argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were not as substantial as she claimed them to be and that she could find another line of work. Both parties attempted to negotiate a settlement but no agreement could be reached and the case went to trial, where a jury awarded the plaintiff with $5.25 million.
In cases like this one, the compensation awarded by the jury was intended to cover the plaintiff's medical expenses, lost wages, and even her ongoing physical pain and suffering. In some cases, if the plaintiff also experiences emotional trauma like PTSD, anxiety, or depression due to their accident, it may also be possible for them to obtain additional compensation for this emotional turmoil.
No, not every plaintiff obtains millions of dollars in coverage. When determining an appropriate amount, their actual losses are taken into consideration$500,000 in medical expenses and because she was unable to return to work, she had an estimated 10 years in lost wages and benefits.
When most people think of construction accidents, they imagine cranes dropping heavy objects, tools cutting an appendage, or heavy machinery running over a worker. But a shockingly large percentage of these accidents involve a slip and fall. While it’s easy to understand how a slip and fall from a great height could cause serious damage, many of the workers who sustain the most serious injuries fall from a standing position.
But the bottom line is it doesn’t matter how the worker becomes injured - they have the right to claim workers' compensation and in most cases, they are also eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party whose negligence resulted in their accident. But none of this is easily accomplished without the help of an attorney.
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