Unsafe construction areas have historically been the sites of dozens of combined work-related injuries and fatalities annually recorded in New York State. Sites that do not follow safety laws put workers at high risk for catastrophic injuries caused by everything from faulty equipment and unsafe protocols to falling objects. That is why union and non-union construction workers in New York should understand their rights if they are hurt while on the job.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has fought for victims of construction accidents and negligence in New York City and Long Island since its inception in 1983. Staffed by 10 dedicated injury lawyers, the firm has recovered more than half a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for injured plaintiffs.
A longtime client recently shared his story with Best Lawyers to discuss what others can do if also severely injured by falling objects and unsafe construction sites.
Tom R. was 39 years old in early 2016 when he reported to his worksite at the high rise building above the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan. Standing at six-foot-three and solidly built, he fit the classic description of a hard-working construction professional and was an active member of Cement and Concrete Workers Local 20. His life changed forever on Jan. 14, 2016 when an unsecured I-beam leaning against a scaffold fell and struck him.
“I was down on one knee, taking the pipes off my shoulder and within a split second I felt something blast me across my back,” he said.
Tom worked through the pain that day and the next morning completed an injury report and scheduled a doctor’s appointment. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the impact caused permanent injuries to his lumbar and thoracic spine. Tom could not return to work and he realized he needed to hold the proper parties accountable.
Unable to sleep, he searched online for “construction injury lawyers in New York” just after midnight and found The Perecman Firm. He chatted with the online concierge, who said the firm would contact him soon after. Tom was awakened at 7 a.m. by a call from trial lawyer Zachary Perecman directly. Tom said he was shocked that one of the firm’s lead attorneys made the call. Furthermore, he was impressed with how well Perecman understood his condition on an intellectual and a personal level.
“We know that when someone is in pain, the hours can seem like days,” noted Perecman. “We pride ourselves on delivering outstanding client service from the outset, and that we make it a point to return calls as quickly as possible. After hearing Tom’s story, I was confident in our abilities to advocate for the compensation he deserved. I sent a car for him and we continued the conversation in our Manhattan office.”
The Perecman Firm represented Tom in both his workers’ compensation claim to ensure that he would be able to visit his doctors and afford the prescriptions, and the injury litigation against the third parties, which included the site owner and the general contractor. Unfortunately, the agony from his injuries intensified and persisted. Following several injections and non-invasive procedures, a costly discectomy became inevitable.
Knowing the lawsuit could take years to resolve, communication continued and became less formal between the two over time. Tom was especially grateful for this bond, as he felt he had a confidant in Perecman amid the surgery that took place in 2018 and the personal and mental stressors developing in his life.
“I was a more outgoing person before my accident and Zach helped keep that part of me going while I was unable to work and feeling more and more isolated,” Tom said. “He and his amazing staff made sure I was getting workers’ compensation checks and that I was seeing my doctor and taking the right medication for the pain. I have been treated like a family member in many respects, and not a name on a list. Zach and his firm have been a constant source of support.”
The firm developed its case and secured a favorable $1.8 million settlement with the defendants in May 2021. “The judge recognized that the I-beam was not braced or secured, which meant the law was violated by the owner and the general contractor, and they were therefore liable for Tom’s devastating injury,” Perecman said. “We had photographic evidence proving that the entire site was unsafe and these risks were clearly all over the site
“With this result we sent a clear message to building owners to follow the law at all times, because even the most safety-conscious construction worker – wearing sophisticated and protective gear – will suffer the impact of a massive falling object. It was a privilege to secure the compensation that will help Tom recover physically, mentally and emotionally.”
NYC Construction Lawyers Fight For Injured Victims
The Perecman Firm P.L.L.C. resolved the case on behalf of Tom R.. The firm was founded by David Perecman, who was named 2022’s Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in Long Island for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. The Perecman Firm was recognized in the New York Law Journal’s 2020 Top Verdicts & Settlements list for securing 11 of the state’s largest recoveries. Among these results were the number one Workplace Safety Settlement and the fourth-largest Construction Settlement.
Contact The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation at (718) 795-2679 or find them online.