Balcony Railing Gives Way on Second Story

Synopsis

Doe plaintiff was working on the second story of a San Jose construction project, in 2009, when the second floor balcony railing gave way. He fell two stories, landed on his feet before collapsing, severely fracturing his left calcaneum.

Plaintiff Allegations

The plaintiff sued the general contractor along with multiple subcontractors who were either contractually responsible for the subject railing or had worked in the area and may have altered the railing. Plaintiff was able to establish through testimony that the general contractor had a practice (undertook a duty) of installing and correcting safety rails at the project. Plaintiff was also able to establish that one of the subcontractors was contractually responsible for the installation of all safety rails at the project and therefore either installed the defective rail or failed to ensure that all safety rails at the project were safe.

Defendant Allegations

Liability was contested by multiple defendant contractors on the project. All defendants denied involvement with or responsibility over the faulty railing. Many key documents that would have identified recent work in the subject area were missing and plaintiff had the difficult task of recreating an event timeline through testimony alone. Over 30 depositions were taken in this case.

Injuries/Damages

Plaintiff's injuries prevented him from returning to his profession as a delivery driver and appliance installer. He presented a claim for past wage loss over a two-year period and a diminished earning capacity into the future. Past medical specials in the case were approximately $100,000 and future medical specials were estimated to be roughly $560,000. Plaintiff's future medical treatment included a lifetime of pain management.

Result

Parties settled before trial for $2,015,000.