Man Injured in Worksite Fall Wins $7.68 Million in Jury Award
A New Jersey construction worker who was hurt in an on-the-job fall has recently been awarded $7.68 million in damages by a jury. Learn about the man’s claim below, and speak with a seasoned New Jersey workplace injury lawyer if you’ve been hurt on the job.
Worker suffers major injuries in fall
The case, Schultz v. Atlas Homes LLC, is based on a worksite accident that occurred on April 27, 2015. Duane Schultz, the injured plaintiff, was on a job site in Spotswood, New Jersey. Schultz, employed by a subcontractor to developer and general contractor Atlas Homes, was working on the second floor of a residence under construction. Schultz fell backwards from the second floor, traveling roughly 20 feet to the ground. He suffered fractures in three of his thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, as well as four fractured ribs. Schultz ultimately needed spinal fusion surgery where rods and screws were implanted into his back.
Failure to provide fall protection blamed for injuries
Schultz filed a lawsuit against Atlas Homes for his injuries. The lawsuit claimed that Atlas Homes had failed to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations on implementing job site fall protection for workers. Specifically, Schultz claimed that Atlas Homes should have installed temporary railings along the second story of the site, along with using other safety equipment that would have prevented serious fall injuries. Atlas Homes claimed that it was not responsible for Schultz’s injuries. The defendant argued that Schultz himself had been negligent in causing his injuries and was thus responsible for the costs.
Jury attributes a portion of responsibility for fall to plaintiff
Many accidents aren’t entirely the fault of a single person or entity. Often, the victim bears at least partial responsibility for the accident. That said, even when a victim is partially to blame for their injuries, they often still have a right to compensation from another party. In New Jersey, courts follow the “modified comparative negligence” rule when determining whether a victim who is partially to blame for their injuries has a right to compensation. Under modified comparative negligence, the victim can still seek money damages from the other at-fault party if the judge or jury determines that they are not more than 50% responsible for their injuries. In other words, the victim cannot be more responsible than anyone else for their injuries if they still wish to seek damages.
If the plaintiff is partly to blame for getting hurt, the amount that they receive in damages will also be reduced by the amount for which they’re found to be responsible for their injuries. In the recent case, a jury determined that Schultz was 15% responsible for getting hurt on the job, and that the defendant was 85% responsible. As a result, the total jury award was reduced to $6.53 million, but Schultz is still seeking certain fees and costs that are likely to make that amount rise.
If you’ve been hurt on the job in New Jersey, get help seeking the compensation you’re entitled to receive by contacting the skilled and experienced construction accident lawyer Andrew R. Jacobs for a no-cost evaluation of your claim at 973-532-9681.