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$2.5 Million Settlement for Unprotected Worker Who Fell from Roof

DSCN0019On November 15, 2010, a 19 year old worker from Asbury Park, New Jersey was working as a roofer on the construction of a luxury house located in Brielle New Jersey. The owner of the project was Compass Venture Capital, LLC. The general contractor was Compass Building Corporation. The worker was directed to unload roof shingles and other supplies that were being delivered to the site (directly to the roof of the structure) by defendant Arzee Supply Corporation of New Jersey, which was using an articulated boom truck/crane system. The worker was provided no fall protection training or equipment and the facts showed the general contractor in charge of the project simply did not follow OSHA work safety rules.

Near the end of the unloading work, the worker attempted to pick up one of the last bundles of shingles when it slipped out of his hands. He attempted to reach for it, slipped on the shingles and packaging, causing him to fall down and off the roof. Actual photos from the incident scene are on this page.

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Clark Law Firm, PC, on behalf of the worker filed claims against the owner, general contractor and delivery company. Plaintiff alleged that the general contractor breached its responsibility to follow basic workplace safety rules. Plaintiff also alleged that the delivery company, Arzee Building Supply Corporation, violated its own safety rules in knowingly delivering the roofing materials in a precarious situation to workers on a high pitched, steep roof who were not protected from falls. The foreman of Arzee testified his company has no concern for the safety of other workers and that if he saw workers on a roof with no fall protection exposed to the imminent risk of injury and death from falling that he would just go ahead and boom the materials to them.

Plaintiff also maintained the general contractor, Compass Building, disregarded safety rules, including about fall protection, and instead took the view that on Compass’ jobs, “[I]f you’re any kind of a roofer [or Compass’ jobs] you have to take your life in your own hands…”

The worker fell from the roof and lost consciousness. He was immediately taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey where he sustained the following injuries:

  1. Right subdural hematoma with cerebral contusion.
  2. Left temporal bone fracture.
  3. Epidural hematoma.
  4. Left rib fracture.
  5. Left clavicle and scapula fracture.

The workers underwent several craniectomy and craniotomy procedures to clean out the subdural hematomas. He continued to suffer the long term residual effects of his injuries. He was out of work for about a year and a half after the fall.

The lawsuit was filed and litigated by Gerald H. Clark, Esq. of the Clark Law Firm, PC in Belmar, New Jersey in January, 2011. Clark prepared the case for trial and was ready to pick a jury when the insurance companies for the defendants realized he was ready for court. They then settled for a total amount of $2.5 million in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick.

Contractors that ignore basic safety rules pose a danger to anyone that comes near their construction projects. Here a worker fell and was injured. But these kinds of safety violations could just as easily caused injury to anyone else who may have come near the house including a family that many have been looking to buy it. It is important to hold contractors accountable when they needlessly endanger the public, otherwise other contractors will be pressured to cut the same corners or risk being outbid. This result is good for the community.

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