Verdicts & Settlements

Kramer & Pollack - Verdicts & Settlements

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY BUS

A Brooklyn woman was hit by a New York City Transit Authority Bus. She was knocked to the ground and the bus stopped on her foot. When she removed her foot she suffered a degloving injury with multiple fractures. She was hospitalized for 2 weeks. She required subsequent surgery to her opposite leg due to an uneven gait. A Queens jury returned a $16,000,000.00 verdict in favor of the injured pedestrian. The verdict was the largest Queens verdict for 2005 and the 7th largest verdict in the State of New York.


CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT, 30’ FALL FROM SCISSOR LIFT SCAFFOLD, NASSAU

Liability: The client, a 29 year old, former Marine, with 2 tours of duty as a recon sniper in Afghanistan had been hired by an HVAC contractor. He was on the job for 2-3 weeks. They were removing ductwork from the ceiling of an auditorium. The seats had been removed and the floor of the auditorium was sloped. He and his foreman had removed about 90% of the ductwork. They were using a scissor lift scaffold provided by their employer and they also borrowed a scissor lift scaffold from the electricians that were on the job. At the time of the accident the client was on the electrician’s scissor lift scaffold. The ductwork was secured by a rope that went through a pulley attached to the ceiling above the ductwork. The rope was then attached to straps that went around the piece of duct being removed. The foreman was on the ground holding the rope to secure the duct. When the client removed the last screw, the duct swung, struck the scissor lift scaffold causing the scaffold and the client to fall 30 feet to the cement floor. The defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that the client was the sole proximate cause of the accident. They claimed that he set up the pulley and that he positioned the scissor lift scaffold. The plaintiff was told by his superiors how to perform his work, and that there were no safety lines where he could tie off or connect a harness. The scissor lift scaffold he was on at the time of the accident was inspected, after the accident, by an investigator for the electrician and destroyed before we had an opportunity to see the lift. Additionally, a salvage receipt dated 3 weeks prior to the accident was provided. We also moved for summary judgment. Our position was that the hoist was an improper safety device because it failed to properly secure the duct. We also argued that the scissor lift scaffold was inadequate because it was not meant to be used on a sloped or uneven surface. The lower court denied all motions for summary judgment. The appellate court reversed the lower court and granted our motion for summary judgment. Both scissor lift scaffolds had safety features that should have prevented use on an uneven surface. However, the electrician’s lift would extend even if the floor was uneven.
Damages: Several burst fractures (vertebrae), fractured hip, fractured sacrum, significant nerve damage resulting in permanent partial paraplegia, permanent incontinence, necessitating catheterization 10 times per day, loss of erectile sensation and function, necessity to digitally extract feces, multiple surgeries, central spinal fluid leak, inability to stand straight, inability to work, constant severe pain.
Result: $15,000,000.00 settlement during trial. The settlement was the highest settlement ever reported in Nassau County; the highest reported construction settlement in New York State for 2012, and the 3rd highest settlement in all of New York for 2012.


GAS EXPLOSION CUASES SEVERE BURNS, MANHATTAN

Liability: While a mother, with her 4 children, all under the age of 5 were at home in their apartment a tremendous gas explosion occurred. The fire marshal determined that the gas explosion was the result of a gas leak originating from a corroded crack in the flexible hose connecting the stove to the natural gas line in the apartment. Within the 6 months prior to the gas explosion, there had been more than 4 complaints concerning the odor of gas in the building. One complaint led to an investigation into the source of a gas leak. The investigation revealed a crack in a flexible gas line, in a different apartment in the building. The flexible gas line in that apartment was replaced, but no notification was provided to any of the other 15 apartments in the building. Thereafter, a tenant 2 floors above the apartment where the explosion occurred, called the fire department complaining that she smelled gas. The fire department using special “sniffing” equipment detected the presence of a gas leak. The fire department contacted Con Ed. A crew was dispatched and they confirmed the presence of a gas leak in the apartment. The Con Ed crew determined that the stove in the apartment 2 stories above the location of the explosion was the cause of the leak. They turned off the gas and told the tenant to replace the stove. The stove was replaced but the tenant still smelled gas. Con Ed was called back a second time. The second time Con Ed again found the presence of a gas leak. This time they determined the cause of the gas leak was the new stove. Con Ed disconnected the new stove. After the stove was disconnected the tenant still smelled gas. She called Con Ed again. Con Ed returned for a third time and determined that the gas valve on the wall in the apartment was leaking and needed to be replaced. They removed the old valve and installed a new valve with a cap. They did not attach the stove to the valve. The tenant still smelled gas and just 5 weeks before the explosion wrote a letter to the Landlord complaining that despite multiple visits from the fire department and Con Ed, she continued to smell gas in her apartment. Natural gas is lighter than air which means that it rises. In short, the gas leaking from the corroded flexible gas line in our clients’ apartment was registering in the apartment above. Of critical import was Con Ed’s failure to investigate apartments below the reported gas leak to determine if the origin of the gas was below where it had been detected. Nor did any Con Ed workers notify the tenants by posting a sign, or by telling the super to let the tenants know that they should have their apartments checked for the presence of a gas leak.
Damages: All 4 of the girls were burned 60-90% of the total body surface area. They also suffered inhalation injuries. All of the children and their mother endured countless debridements and multiple skin graft surgeries. The oldest was hospitalized for almost 1 year. Her burns were very severe, she had difficulty walking, she was on a ventilator, several teeth were burned and several fingers auto amputated. Her sister lost vision in one eye and the other eye had a sympathetic reaction resulting in complete blindness. Another sister suffered burn injuries in her throat. She had surgery to remove scar tissue from her throat. The youngest was 15 months old. As a result of the trauma her growth was stunted. Unfortunately and very sadly, 3 weeks after the explosion, their mother died as a result of her injuries.
Result: The landlord settled prior to trial. Con Ed did not make any offers and the case continues against Con Ed.


FALL FROM LADDER AT CONSTRUCTION SITE – BROOKLYN

Liability: A laborer fell off a ladder while cutting a hole in sheetrock.
Damages: As a result of the accident the plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries.
Result: The case settled during trial for $4,000,000.


FALL FROM HEIGHT WHILE CUTTING A HOLE IN CEMENT WALL, BROOKLYN

Liability: A construction worker fell as a result of the failure to provide him with proper safety devices. The plaintiff was granted Summary Judgment pursuant to New York State Labor Law 240.
Damages: As a result of the accident the plaintiff required multiple surgeries, including fusion surgery to his neck, was not able to continue working and required extensive medical treatment into the future.
Result: The case settled during trial for $3,700,000.


MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE NECROTIZING FASCIITIS

Liability: The client had a C-section. Following the C-section, prior to discharge, a nurse noted that her incision had a small area that was red, swollen, warm to the touch and there was some discharge with a foul odor. The doctor examined the patient after the nurse and did not comment nor record any similar findings. The patient had an elevated white blood cell count. The patient was discharged. The following morning the patient woke up “in a puddle of pus”. The pus had soaked through a thick gauze dressing. She called the MD who called in an antibiotic script and told the patient that she will see her the following day for her regularly scheduled follow up. When she was examined at her follow up visit the doctor thought the incision was infected. The doctor opened the incision in the office. The MD who examined her in the office told her she needs to be admitted because the wound was infected. The client was admitted to the hospital later that night. No one wrote an admission note. The medical records department asked the MD from the practice who was on call at the time of the re-admission to write a note. In that note, written 3 months later, he wrote that the MD who opened the wound in the office said it was the worst wound she had ever seen and that it appeared to be necrotizing fasciitis. Necrotizing fasciitis is commonly known as a flesh eating bacteria. If not treated it spreads very quickly. Necrotizing fasciitis has a very high mortality rate. Necrotizing fasciitis is a medical emergency. Early diagnosis and intervention is critical. During the hospitalization tests were done and consults were ordered. An infectious disease consult was ordered but the order was not picked up by the nursing staff causing a 2 day delay. The necrotizing fasciitis was not diagnosed or treated until 5 days into the admission. By that time the infection had spread throughout the abdomen and the patient went into septic shock.
Damages: Septic shock, destruction of abdominal wall, reconstruction of abdominal wall, multiple surgeries, 20 inch scar, plastic surgery, wound vac, inability to carry pregnancy to full term, termination of subsequent pregnancy
Result: $3,250,000.00 Settlement before trial


FALL OFF SCAFFOLD – BROOKLYN

Liability: A construction worker fell when a scaffold he was working on collapsed. The plaintiff was granted Summary Judgment pursuant to New York State Labor Law 240.
Damages: As a result of the accident the plaintiff underwent a fusion surgery to his lower back. The plaintiff continues to experience pain, limited range of motion and can no longer work. He requires extensive medical treatment in the future.
Result: A jury awarded the plaintiff $3,100,000.


YOUNG GIRL BURNED BY WATER WHEN STOVE TIPPED

A $3,000,000.00 settlement was reached, before trial, for an 11 year old Brooklyn girl who sufferred 2nd and 3rd degree burns on 36% of her body. The stove tipped over when she leaned on the door to clean the oven. A pot of boiling water fell from the stove top causing severe burns. The stove was not installed with an anti-tip device. The stove was shipped with an anti-tip device, warnings were present in several locations on the stove and a brochure was provided with installation instructions for the device. She was hospitalized for 6 weeks. Skin grafting and debridement were performed. Read more about this case here.


FALL OFF SCAFFOLD – BROOKLYN

Liability: A construction worker fell when a scaffold he was working on collapsed. The plaintiff was granted Summary Judgment pursuant to New York State Labor Law 240.
Damages: As a result of the accident plaintiff required multiple surgeries. He continues to experience pain and requires extensive medical treatment in the future.
Result: The case settled during trial for $2,875,000.


STUDENT INJURED ON PLAYGROUND

A Brooklyn Jury returned a verdict in the amount of $2,550,000 to a plaintiff, a thirteen (13) year old student, who was injured at a New York City public school. The plaintiff was injured when, while playing football, he stepped into a hole in the concrete and fell. As a result of the accident the plaintiff fractured his left leg.


TRIP AND FALL AT CONSTRUCTION SITE – BRONX

Liability: A laborer tripped and fell as a result of a hole in the driveway of a construction site. The jury found the owner of the property 100% responsible.
Damages: As a result of the accident the plaintiff underwent surgery to his back.
Result: A jury award the plaintiff $2,100,000.


DRIVER MAKING LEFT TURN STRUCK BY TRANSIT AUTHORITY BUS – BRONX

Liability: A 70 year old woman turning left with a green arrow was struck be a NYC Transit Authority Bus. The Transit Authority claimed the plaintiff did not have a green arrow.
Damages: As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained a subdural hematoma to her brain that required surgery. The plaintiff died 2 years after the accident for reasons not related to the accident.
Result: A jury found the New York City Transit Authority 100% at fault and awarded the plaintiff $2,000,000.


CAR ACCIDENT, PEDESTRIAN KNOCK DOWN, BROOKLYN

Liability: The client was walking in the crosswalk with the light in his favor. He was struck by a car. The car failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrian.
Damages: Fractured skull subdural hematoma, subdural hemorrhage and death.
Result: $1,900,000.00, lost wages was a large component of the damages. A forensic accountant and an economist were retained in an effort to quantify the loss of income.


SWIMMING POOL CASE, QUADRAPLEGIA, LAS VEGAS

Liability: Client was a guest at a hotel. The entire pool was 3.5 feet deep. The only depth marking was a tile measuring 4 inches on the opposite side of the pool. In the center of the pool were islands with palm trees (obscuring visualization of the depths marker). The tile had a “3” but there was no hash mark nor abbreviation (ft for feet). There were no markings on the deck of the pool (No diving signs). The only no diving sign was on the back of a lifeguard stand. The client dove head first into what he believed was the deep end of the pool. At one end of the pool there were stairs with a railing. He dove into the pool between 2 ladders that came up out of the water. Before he dove in he was standing immediately next to an elevated lifeguard stand. The case came down to the hotels duty to warn guests versus the client’s obligation to ascertain the water’s depth before diving into the pool. The lifeguards admitted that they would have to tell guests several times a day not to dive (indicative that the warnings were insufficient). There was varying testimony regarding the number of alcoholic beverages consumed prior to the accident. Alcohol was promoted and sold at the pool. There were also questions about the appropriate nature of the response by the lifeguards.
Damages: Complete quadriplegia, the client was 29 years old. He had a 12 year old daughter at the time of the accident. He managed a pub.
Result: $1,800,000.00 settlement before trial


MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, URETHRAL STENT, ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Liability: Client needed a urethral stent implanted in his penis. There was a complication with the stent. The stent was not the correct size and created a blockage. The use of the stent resulted in formation of scar tissue and if they removed the stent the scar tissue would continue to grow resulting in more problems.
Damages: The client experienced retrograde ejaculation which is a mixing of semen with urine. He also suffered from erectile dysfunction.
Result: $1,750,000.00 Settled before trial


MAN INJURED IN AUTO ACCIDENT

A Brooklyn Jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1,750,000.00 to a plaintiff who was injured in a car accident. As a result of the accident, plaintiff injured his neck, back and was required to undergo surgery to his neck.


MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT

Liability: A police officer was struck by a sanitation vehicle while working. A jury found the defendant 100% at fault.
Damages: As a result of the accident the plaintiff had neck surgery.
Result: The case settled for $1,500,000 before picking a jury for a damages trial.


TRIP AND FALL OVER RAISED SUBWAY GRATING, MANHATTAN

Liability: While walking on a Manhattan sidewalk, the client tripped over a raised subway grating. As a result of falling the client injured his wrist. The New York City Transit Authority did not make an offer as their position was that the defect that caused the client to fall was too small and the client was totally responsible for the accident.
Damages: Injured wrist that required 3 surgeries.
Result: At trial, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1,467,000.00


MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, BRAIN DAMAGED BABY

During childbirth a fetus was deprived of oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxic event). The medical personnel failed to act/react quickly. The result was brain damage and the child is now wheelchair bound. The case settled for $1,250,000.00.


WOMAN TRIPS AND FALLS ON RAISED SIDEWALK

A woman tripped and fell on a raised sidewalk. She suffered a fractured humerus. A case was brought against the abutting land owner. The jury returned a $1,000,000.00 verdict.


FALL FROM REAR OF TRUCK – BROOKLYN

Liability: A delivery truck helper was caused to fall while pulling the strap on a door at the rear of his delivery truck. The strap was tied to the door by a co-worker and the leasing company of the truck indicated that straps should not be tied to the truck for safety reasons. Because of the Workers’ Compensation Law, the plaintiff could not sue his co-worker and was limited to sue the leasing company who did not have possession of the delivery truck. The defendant argued they did not know the strap was tied to the truck since they did not have possession of the truck.
Damages: As a result of the accident the plaintiff underwent to surgeries to his back, is not able to return to work and requires future medical treatment.
Result: The case settled during trial for $900,000.


SCALD BURN OF INFANT, SUDDEN BURST OF HOT WATER, BROOKLYN

Liability: An infant was being bathed by his father in the kitchen sink. A sudden burst of scalding hot water caused second and third degree burns on the infant’s foot and leg. Upon investigation it was revealed that the hot water heater was set on Very Hot. The temperature of the hot water at the tap was 168 degrees. At that temperature it takes less than 1 second for a child to suffer a 3rd degree burn. There had been multiple complaints of sudden bursts of hot water prior to the accident.
Damages: 2nd & 3rd Degree burns to both feet and one leg. The burns covered 8% of the child’s total body surface area. Debridement and skin graft surgery was performed. The burns on the leg developed keloid scarring which restricted the child’s range of motion. Keloid scars are raised and thick. The infant also suffered from neurologic problems since birth.
Result: $850,000.00 Settlement at mediation


CONSTRUCTION ACCIDNET WORKER FELL FROM SCAFFOLD, BRONX

Liability: The client, a construction worker, was caused to fall off a scaffold that was not properly secured. The scaffold did not have proper footings which allowed the scaffold to shift while the plaintiff was working on the scaffold. The plaintiff was awarded summary judgment pursuant to New York’s Labor Law.
Damages: The client sustained injuries to his knee that required surgery.
Result: At trial the case settled for $825,000.00


ELDERLY COUPLE INJURED IN AUTO ACCIDENT

A settlement was obtained for a maried couple from Brooklyn in the amount of $750,000 for injuries they sustained in an auto accident. They were passengers in a car and the husband sustained injuries to his neck, back and hand and the wife's leg was fractured in 3 places requiring surgery.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.