Nobody Believed Hispanic Carpenter Who Stepped Into A Hole And Didn’t Complain ($825,000)
A Local 272 Carpenter recovered an $825,000.00 settlement after suffering chronic back pain which resulted from a construction site accident.
The carpenter was working at a Power Construction project at 1333 N. Canal Street. While working on the insulation for the River Bend Condominiums, he stepped into an open hole that reached up to his waist, injuring his back. After the fall he continued to try and work but was ultimately laid off.
His MRI’s and other tests showed no new injury, though he experienced chronic back pain. It was determined that he had a preexisting defect in his spine, spondylosis, or degeneration of the disc spaces between vertebrae. This defect was not present prior to his work-related injury. To make matters worse, the carpenter underwent a functional capacity examination to determine his function and movement limitations. The test showed that the carpenter was allegedly exaggerating his injuries. In addition, his employer, Cassidy Brothers, hired two neurosurgeons, both of whom testified that the carpenter was faking his injuries.
The insurance carrier did not believe him, the employer did not believe him, and unfortunately, his own attorney did not believe him.
The worker’s well-known plaintiff’s attorney settled the workers’ compensation case for only $60,000.00 and dropped the third-party case against the general contractor, Power Construction.
The carpenter came to Horwitz, Horwitz and Associates, Ltd for a second opinion. Attorney Clifford Horwitz met with the carpenter and was initially hesitant about the case; concerned that another attorney dropped the case and because three separate professionals were stating that this carpenter was exaggerating.
“What didn’t make sense to me is why he (the carpenter) would give up making $40,000 or more a year plus benefits? I just can’t believe a person who worked his way up to that wage and made a career of it would suddenly just start exaggerating. I certainly don’t trust the employer’s examining neurosurgeons. They commonly lie about the injuries of an injured worker. I decided to take the risk on behalf of this carpenter. We owe that to him and his trade.”
“Today, 4 years later, the Third-Party claim settled for $825,000 against Power Construction just before a jury trial. We took over thirty depositions and demonstrated that it was the employer’s doctor’s who were exaggerating, not the carpenter. Furthermore, the general contractor failed to cover the hole that the carpenter fell in.”
Horwitz continues, “I cannot tell you how many cases other attorneys have dropped that have substantial third-party value for the injured tradesman. This is just one of at least a dozen that I have resolved in the past several years. We can’t give up just because the case is hard or expensive.”
“We owe it to the union workers to battle these cases out. We just can’t take the obvious winners; we have to fight the difficult cases also,” he explains.
“I find this to be one of the most irritating parts of our profession; lawyers giving up on their clients. It may not be as profitable, but it gives my life more meaning and doesn’t just make it about the money.”
“I’m glad we could help this carpenter. He will never return to his trade. He never was faking his injury. The evidence showed that Power Construction didn’t properly oversee the job and instead, attempted to blame every contractor on the project for injuries suffered. In the end, Power Construction saw we would never give up until there was reasonable justice.”