« Back to Blog

Case Example: Ladder Fall Case Underscores Problem of Unsafe Worksites

Posted on November 1, 2016

Frank Voce faced a tough choice. He could work in unsafe conditions - or quit his job and risk being unable to feed his seven children. He chose the former. The result was a career-ending injury with daily pain and suffering. Duffy + Partners handled the case, which ultimately brought Frank and his wife just compensation. But many workers like Frank face similar obstacles without a just outcome.

With a tenth grade education, Frank was limited in his employment opportunities. He was employed as a glazier, a skilled craftsman who cut and installed glass in buildings. On the day that he was injured, Frank was working at a construction site for the Centerton Square Project, a strip mall in Mt. Laurel, N.J. He was installing the rubber stripping around the windows.

The site was muddy from recent rain, and there were unleveled areas with rocks, cinder blocks and debris. Frank used plywood to level his ladder but it didn’t work. The plywood slipped and Frank fell onto the cement blocks and broken pallets, injuring his left shoulder and hip. He had to have surgery to repair his shoulder, and a hip replacement was subsequently recommended. The fall aggravated an arthritic hip, and Frank was unable to return to work.

The defense argued that Frank shouldn’t have worked in an area that appeared to be unsafe. However, Duffy + Partners argued that the general contractor and the concrete subcontractor violated New Jersey’s Uniform Building Code and Construction Safety Code, as well as federal OSHA regulations, by not guaranteeing general worksite safety. That included that ladders should be able to be placed on flat surfaces.

After deliberating for just about half an hour, the jury unanimously awarded $6.5 million to Frank and his wife. The award will help to cover Frank’s future wage losses as well as past and future medical expenses.

You can read more about the verdict here: http://www.duffyfirm.com/news/worker-awarded-65-mil-for-ladder-fall.

Do you know an accident that may have happened because of unsafe worksite conditions?

Contact us to discuss the situation and how we can help.