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After surviving 47-story fall, construction worker moves on

On Dec. 7, 2007, two brothers were cleaning the windows of a Manhattan high rise when their scaffold broke. One brother died. The other brother survived a 47-story plunge to the ground in the scaffold. He survived, despite serious injuries. Doctors at the time were surprised that the man survived the scaffold accident. But he survived, and recovered well enough that he has even completed a 5K walk for charity.

After the construction accident, emergency rescuers found the surviving man on top of wrecked scaffold railings and cables. He was given 24 pints of blood and 19 pints of plasma and ultimately required 16 surgeries. He man had 10 broken bones, collapsed lungs and blood clots on the brain.

He underwent a lengthy inpatient rehabilitation process, physical therapy, occupational therapy and mental exercises. He also went through psychotherapy to deal with the death of his brother in the accident. He will not be able to work in the foreseeable future.

In addition to his physical and mental recovery from the accident, the man also sought financial recovery. He filed a personal injury lawsuit for money damages. A Manhattan Supreme Court Judge found a scaffolding company at fault because it improperly installed cables that suspended the scaffold from the roof of the building. The company that owned the building was also found at fault. The man settled for an undisclosed sum. His brother’s family received $2.5 million in a wrongful death suit.

The man continued his recovery. He and his family, including his wife and three children, relocated from New Jersey to Arizona. He stretches his muscles at the gym and walks one to two miles daily. In 2011, he completed a Turkey Day 5K to benefit a food pantry. Neither the race director nor the other walkers and runners knew he had fallen 47 stories and survived.

Source: New York Post, “He survived 47-floor plunge — and now walks for charity,” Susan Edelman, Jan. 5, 2013

  • Our law firm represents people who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones in construction accidents in the New York City area. To learn more, review our page on scaffolding accidents.
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