Our client, a 44 year old carpenter, sustained an injury to his neck when he was struck by a falling cinder block. The cinder block had fallen from the top of a masonry wall.
The client, who worked for the general contractor, was working with other carpenters and also with brick masons employed by a subcontractor. All were engaged in building a large cafeteria which was going to be a new addition to a school. The plans called for the brick walls of the cafeteria to be 12 feet high. Because these walls were being built during cold weather, construction blankets were draped over newly built sections to aid the drying of the mortar.
While bringing lumbar out from his work station inside the school, the client was struck by a cinder block that was placed at the top of a wall to secure a construction blanket. Windy conditions had caused the blanket to rise like a sail causing the cinder block to fall. The client was not wearing a hard hat and he sustained a neck injury that required surgery.
We filed suit against the masonry contractor on the basis that it chose to use an unsafe method to secure its construction blankets. We contended, with the help of a nationally known construction safety expert, that blankets of greater length should have been purchased that would have covered the entirety of the front and back sides of the wall with the blankets being anchored at the base on each side of the wall rather than at the top. The masonry company contended that the client’s injury would have been prevented because he failed to wear a hard hat.
We obtained photographs that had been taken routinely by the general contractor for the purpose of receiving installment payments as the work was completed. Several of the photographs showed numerous masons at work – none of them wearing hard hats.
The case settled before trial for $450,000.