After a distracted truck driver hit the rear of a school bus, the school bus driver never could return to work. The crash aggravated our client's shoulder and neck so much that he needed surgery on both his shoulder and neck. We were able to collect the full $500,000 of insurance from the truck driver. In addition, we filed a claim against the school district for Underinsurance benefits. At first, the school district claimed our client received full compensation so we pursued an arbitration. Just before the arbitration was going to be held, the school district agreed to pay an additional $410,000 making the total settlement $910,000. The case was handled by trial attorney Brian Acard and managing attorney David Akerib.
Having won hundreds of thousands of personal injury cases, our experience is proven. In the past fifty years Finkelstein & Partners has obtained verdicts or settlements with awards ranging from $500 thousand to $34 million. While we have established our reputation as the law firm to retain when seeking top-dollar verdicts or settlements from insurance companies, your satisfaction is our primary goal.
Now in our fifth decade of providing client representation and service, we remain dedicated as ever to fighting for and winning the money you deserve from insurance companies or other responsible parties, while preserving your dignity and privacy.
Please read on for a selection of recent cases of note.*
When a landlord elects to fix a support beam himself, he better do it right. As the cement garage floor settled in their New Windsor, NY house, the landlord saw the support column in the middle of the garage was no longer connected at the top. Rather than pay for a contractor to properly affix the column, the landlord simply tried to nail the column to the ceiling. The column was loose because the original contractor chose to use the wrong size support column and the original framer never properly affixed it at the floor or at the ceiling. The column was loose for years. After a fire in their own house, our clients needed to rent a home while the fire damage was being cleaned. They moved into the rental house and the landlord never warned them about the loose column in the garage. Within a few weeks of moving in, the 6-year-old son was walking through the garage with his three-year-old brother when, as expected, the six-year-old pretended the pole was a fire pole and swung around it. As he did, the pole gave way and landed on him, killing him. Our office immediately sent an expert to the house and properly documented the faulty work by the contractor and framer as well as the shoddy repair work by the landlord. Even though they tried to blame the boy for swinging on the pole, ultimately they were held accountable and agreed to settle the case for a total of $1,100,000. While the parents know no amount of money is going to bring their son back, they were happy the responsible parties were held accountable because they don’t want this to happen to anyone else. The case was handled by partners Elyssa Fried-De Rosa and Ron Rosenkranz.
When a property manager hires a contractor, he/she must ensure the working environment is safe – even when the property owner does not direct or supervise the work. A corporate property owner hired a contractor to demolish a building on a property in Hudson Falls, NY. As part of the demolition process, workers utilized ladders to reach elevated areas in the building to remove steel pipes and copper wiring. There was a snow storm overnight that resulted in ice on the floor of the owner’s building that was being demolished. And although the owner was aware of the weather, the owner chose to remove snow and ice from areas on the property other than the building where the workers were doing their job with ladders. The owner took no action to ensure that workers were furnished with devices to prevent ladders from slipping; this violated New York Labor Laws requiring that workers be afforded protection from falls. Predictably, our client’s ladder slipped because he had not been provided with devices to secure the ladder, and he fell to the ground suffering a broken back. Despite the owner’s contention that our client should be 100% responsible for his own actions in working in an unsafe area without availing himself of equipment to make his work area safe, a Warren County jury enforced the New York Labor Law with a verdict in our client’s favor. The trial was presented by Partner Kenneth Fromson.
Building owners and general contractors must provide safe places for sub-contractors to work – even when it is on a roof. A major corporation in Fishkill, NY hired a general contractor to do renovations to several of it’s buildings, including the flat roof. There was a snow and ice storm overnight and the flat roof was very slippery. Since the job was already shut down a few days earlier because of dangerous work conditions, the general contractor had to meet their deadline and chose to send workers on the roof without even salting or shoveling the roof. As our client walked across the roof he slipped on the ice and severely broke his wrist. After four surgeries, including a fusion to the wrist, our client can was finally able to return to work. The case settled before a Columbia County jury heard the case for $1,250,000 by Trial Partner George Levy.
When our client from Stony Point in Rockland County was exiting the Seaford Oyster Expressway in Nassau County, Long Island, she brought her car to a stop. While waiting for traffic to open up, the car behind her was driving distracted and struck her in the rear. Being that she was so far from home, and because she did not have any broken bones, she choose not to get immediate medical attention. As too often happens, instead of the stiff neck and back getting better over time, both got worse. Eventually she had to have surgery on her lower back. Unfortunately the distracted driver only had the minimum insurance coverage, $25,000 which we collected. In addition, our client had purchased insurance from her own car insurance company that allowed her to make a claim when a car that causes a crash has less insurance than what she provided. This is called under-insurance. We immediately took action and filed her under-insurance and successfully collected an additional $75,000 for a total recovery of $100,000. The case was handled by Attorneys David Gross and Michael Feldman.
Two days after a snowstorm the parking lot was still a mess at an apartment complex in Beacon, New York. Plowing is not enough when there are large patches of ice where cars park. The apartment management company choose not to salt or sand the ice. Our 45 year old client was walking between two cars where untreated ice was under a thin coat of snow. When he stepped on the snow, the ice caused him to fall and break his arm. The break was so bad it required surgery and his bones are now supported by a metal rod. Fortunately our client was able to return to work after a few weeks, but he will be at risk of developing arthritis. We were able to settle the case at mediation for $210,000. The case was handled by Senior Trial Partner George M. Levy, Managing Attorney David Gross and Case Manager Lynn P.
When the dad of a 13 year old boy agreed to let him go on vacation with his son’s friend’s family to Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee he thought he would be properly supervised. Unfortunately, the resort they were staying at allowed the families to rent jet ski’s without showing them safety training videos and did not require riders to sign disclosures limiting riders to appropriate ages. The parents who were in charge let 3 kids under the age of 13 to ride jet ski’s unsupervised. That’s when one of the children lost control of her jet ski and ran into our 13 year old client, causing very serious injuries. Because we felt the resort was partially responsible, we brought a law suit in Picket County, Tennessee, where we sued the supervising parents and the resort. Just before jury selection the insurance companies agreed to settle the case for a total of $1,317,000. After we placed the settlement on the record in open court, the presiding judge told us this was the largest settlement that has ever occurred in Picket County. This case was handled by trial attorney Brian Acard and managing attorney David Gross.
When a 65 year old Dutchess County resident was driving in Connecticut he never thought he would end up in a Danbury Connecticut hospital for 3 weeks. Unfortunately that is what happened after a lone drunk driver crossed over a double yellow line and struck him head on. Our client nearly died and required multiple surgeries for several broken bones. The drunk driver did die in the crash. We attempted to recreate where the drunk driver had come from so we can hold the server of the alcohol responsible. Unfortunately, there was no digital foot print left by the drunk driver as he did not have a cell phone. No bar within a 25 mile radius had any credit card receipts for him. It remains a mystery where the drunk driver was before the crash. Our client wanted to put this behind him and accepted the full amount of insurance available ($1,250,000) on the car that struck him. The case was settled by our Connecticut lawyer, Ken Bartlett.
The Hoboken Path train station is a busy place during rush hour. Everyone knows this, especially the Port Authority. When Port authority found a hole at the bottom of a stairway, rather than fix it, they put a thin metal plate over the hole without securing to the ground. When our client stepped on it, the metal plate slipped out causing him to fall on to both knees, tearing the quadriceps in both legs. Multiple surgeries were required and our client now requires a cane to walk. Had the Port Authority properly secured the metal plate, the fall never would have happened. The Port Authority agreed to settle the case just before jury selection for $1,625,000. Case was handled by partners Andrew Finkelstein and David Gross.
Andrew G. Finkelstein, managing partner, and firm partner Kenneth Fromson, obtained a settlement of $12,750,000 for our injured client on the day the jury was to be selected. Our client, a 49 year old truck driver for a retail auto supply store, sustained broken bones in both feet when he stepped off an unprotected edge and fell 10 feet to the warehouse floor while making a delivery.
As a result of the store being built into the side of a hill, the warehouse, at the rear of the store, is located 10 feet below grade. When making deliveries trucks park against the delivery dock door and the drivers utilize a vertical lift to access the warehouse floor 10 feet below. The elevator-like lift has a safety gate that may only be opened at delivery dock level in order to protect workers from falling. Tragically, the store is known to disable and even remove the safety gate to speed up deliveries - as was the case when our client stepped off the unprotected edge when neither the lift nor the protective safety gate were in place at loading dock level.
"Workers have the right to expect a safe work environment," said Finkelstein. "Unfortunately, when that right is violated and conditions are unsafe people get hurt and their lives can be changed forever. When that happens, we strive to hold employers accountable and fight for the rights of our clients."
The resulting broken bones from the fall to the warehouse floor required surgery. Following surgery, the worker developed gangrene in one foot which ultimately required an amputation below the knee. Today he uses a prosthetic device and faces additional surgery on his surviving foot.
"Our client did not expect to have his life permanently altered by an unsafe work place when he went to work that day," said Fromson. "We helped him navigate the complex legal system and held the auto supply store accountable when they failed to uphold a safe work place for all employees."
The retailer settled for $12,750,000 at jury selection, avoiding taking the case to court.