$7.67 Jury Verdict for Failure to Provide Worker with Fall Protection

Dwayne Schultz was working as a carpenter’s assistant for a subcontractor on a home construction project for the general contractor, Atlas Homes LLC.  Schultz, who was 52 at the time, was framing the home on the second floor when he stepped backward to pull up a compressor hose and fell approximately 20 feet off the side of the building. He suffered thoracic and lumbar spinal fractures and four fractured ribs.

As a result of the injuries he suffered, Schultz underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery, which included a 3-level spinal fusion. Schultz continues to experience pain and discomfort and has difficulty standing, walking, or sitting for extended periods of time. His medical expenses were $177,000.

He sued Atlas Homes and its owner, alleging they chose not to comply with OSHA standards by providing fall protection and temporary railings at the work site. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

The defendants, the general contractor and owner, argued that it was Schultz and the subcontractor’s responsibility to ensure compliance with OSHA standards. The defendants also argued that it was Schultz who was negligently working near an unguarded edge.

The jury signed a verdict for $7.5 million finding that Schultz was 15% at fault for his own injuries. The verdict was later adjusted by the court to include past medical expenses for a total verdict of more than $7.67 million.

The attorneys handling this lawsuit for Schultz were James Pagliuca and Andrew Chambarry.

Schultz’s attorneys engaged experts in safety and orthopedic surgery who were presented at trial.

Schultz v. Atlas Homes, LLC, No. MID-L-3512-16 (N.J. Super. Ct. Middlesex County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling construction injury lawsuits, work site injury cases, ladder and scaffold fall injury lawsuits and catastrophic injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including South Holland, Blue Island, East Hazel Crest, Flossmoor, Markham, Oak Forest, Tinley Park, Matteson, Richton Park, Park Forest, South Chicago Heights, Crete, University Park, Salk Village, Willowbrook, Monee, Orland Hills, Worth, Bridgeview, St. Charles, Geneva, Aurora, Joliet, Wheaton, Naperville, Maywood, Flossmoor, Chicago (Austin, Garfield Park, Belmont Cragin, Jefferson Park, Andersonville, Bronzeville, Sauganash, Wicker Park, Noble Square, Ukrainian Village, West Town, River West, Fulton River District, Near West Side, Bridgeport, Chinatown, Canaryville, Wentworth Gardens, Whiskey Point, Washington, Parkway Gardens, Greater Grand Crossing, Auburn Park, Lithuanian Plaza, Marquette Park), Summit, Lyons, Stickney, Cicero, Melrose Park, Franklin Park and Hillside, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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