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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Court Decides in Favor of Injured Construction Worker in Queens, NY

A personal injury lawsuit has been settled in favor of an injured construction worker and his wife four years after an accident at the Roosevelt Field mall. The combined settlement was for $7.6 million awarded by a Manhattan jury after a trial that lasted nine days.

The accident happened on April 15th 2010 when the construction worker, 53-year-old Santiago Cortes, a resident of Queens, fell off a scaffold at the mall. He was apparently dismantling a section of the scaffold as part of a project involving removal of asbestos and some construction work.

Cortes sustained serious and permanent injuries as a result of the fall. He claimed in the lawsuit that the scaffolding supplied was dangerous and insufficient safety equipment was available during the project and his fall could be directly attributed to the failure to provide a safe working environment.

The New York state labor law requires all owners of buildings and contractors to provide “proper protection” for all workers who work on scaffolding or any other equipment on a construction site.

The lawsuit was jointly filed against J.C. Penney and the Retail Property Trust Inc. The State Supreme Court jury awarded a three-part sum to Cortes, which was composed of $300,000 for his medical bills, $4.5 million for “pain and suffering” and $1.5 million for loss of earnings as Cortes was unable to continue with his work as a result of the severity of his injuries.

Cortes’ wife, Maria del Rio, also filed a separate lawsuit against the same defendants, claiming that her husband’s injuries had deprived her of “love and companionship.” The jury also found in favor of her claim and awarded her $1.5 million.

The case is somewhat unusual, partly because of the protracted nature of the lawsuit. It has taken well over four years for the sum to be finally settled as well as a lengthy trial.

Usually, workers are covered by workers’ compensation in the event of an accident, but in some cases like this example the injuries can be so severe that workers’ compensation is simply not sufficient to fully compensate someone who has been injured as a direct result of an employer’s negligence.

It is important in any construction accident or a slip-and-fall accident which occurs on someone else’s property and is due to poor maintenance, insufficient regard to safety procedures or any other form of obvious negligence  to use the professional services of a personal injury attorney to resolve a compensation dispute.

If you have been injured in an accident whether it’s out on our roads, as a result of a slip-and-fall accident or a construction accident, contact Richard S. Jaffe Esq. an experienced New York and Long Island personal injury attorney.

You can contact him for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll-free: 800-483-6149.

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