Trief & Olk negotiates a $650,000 settlement for 2 minutes of conscious pain and suffering

Trief & Olk secured a settlement of $650,000 for the family of a warehouse worker that was killed by the collapse of an industrial shelving unit. The decedent was working for an auto parts store in its warehouse in Bronx, New York. While attempting to retrieve auto parts from a shelf within the warehouse, the industrial shelving unit collapsed onto the decedent, crushing him and killing him almost instantaneously.

Trief & Olk aggressively litigated this matter even before the lawsuit was filed. Through a pre-suit Court Order, Trief & Olk’s expert was permitted to inspect the scene of the accident and shelving unit in question. At the inspection, it was revealed that the shelving unit was never secured to the adjacent wall or to the floor as mandated by the manufacturer of the shelving unit and that the supporting crossbeams that were initially installed were not present on the date of this accident.

The death of a loved one is difficult under any circumstances, but a loved one being killed due to the negligence of another party is unfathomable. Sadly, the laws in the State of New York do not make it any easier for the families of those that suffer a loss at the hands of a negligent party. New York is among the very few states in this country that do not recognize the grief and sorrow that a family member goes through when they lose a loved one. Pecuniary, or financial, losses by the family due to the death are the only recoverable compensation that the family is directly entitled to in a wrongful death action.  

The decedent was 22 years old at the time of his death, was not married, had no children and was not providing any financial support or services to anyone. His only surviving beneficiaries were his parents. Defendants argued that the wrongful death part of this case had no value under New York law.

However, the family of an accident victim can also bring an action, on behalf of their deceased family member, for the conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent from the time of the accident to the time of the death. Defendants argued that this portion of plaintiff’s case also had minimal value, if any, as the decedent died almost instantaneously after the accident. The first settlement offer by the defendants’ insurance companies was a combined $100,000.  

Trief & Olk supported plaintiff’s claim of conscious pain and suffering with an expert in forensic medicine. The expert, through thorough analysis of the autopsy findings, determined the mechanism of the decedent’s death and supported the conclusion that the decedent remained conscious for at least two minutes from the time of the accident until he lost consciousness and ultimately passed due to his devastating injury. The expert further supported the conclusion that the decedent experienced excruciating pain and suffering during this two minute period.

Trief & Olk represents individuals in a wide variety of personal injury actions, including workplace accidents. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, or by any other cause contact Trief & Olk by telephone or our website’s submission form to find out how Trief & Olk can help you.