José Criollo and his family can breathe easier today. Four years ago his accident was so tragic that he was paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair. On January 22, the Ginarte Law Firm managed to seal an agreement for more than eight million dollars in its case against the construction contractor, Clark Developers.
On November 15, 2013, it started as a normal day for Jose, but ended up being the most fateful of his life. He was working on a scaffold tower in a building in Essex County, New Jersey, when dust and debris suddenly fell into his eyes, causing him to make a false step backwards and back onto the pavement. The result of the fall was two fractured vertebrae in the spine and a total spinal cord injury that required emergency surgery and ended up leaving him paraplegic when he was only 46 years old. As the days passed, everything became even more difficult. He was hospitalized for several weeks and four months in a rehabilitation center.
Unfortunately for José, the work handled by Clark Developers did not meet the minimum acceptable standards of safety for workers. Additionally, the company failed to have an accident prevention plan, train workers properly and require that personnel use protection against falls required by the rigorous inspection organization with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). English), agency of the Department of Labor of the United States. In fact, the scaffolding tower on which José worked when he fell did not have the corresponding safety rails or access ladder and lacked planks at the base.
“It is unfortunate that because a company has not taken the appropriate preventive measures in a construction site a person has had to suffer in this way and become paraplegic. It was an accident that could be avoided, “said Michael Gallardo and John Ratkowitz, lawyers of the firm Ginarte who fought the case. “It’s been a long legal process, but it’s been worth it. While we can not return the mobility of your legs, if we have been able to help you have the peace of mind that you can continue to offer a future to your family. We are very satisfied that we have managed to obtain justice for José.”