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Carpenter paralyzed in job-site accident gets $18.5 million settlement

Carpenter paralyzed in job-site accident gets $18.5 million settlement

A Town of Tonawanda man paralyzed in a construction-site accident will receive $18.5 million to settle his State Supreme Court lawsuit.

XXXXX, 38, became paralyzed from the waist down two years ago after breaking through a particle board that covered a stairwell opening and falling 14 feet to the ground floor.  He was erecting walls for a building under construction on North French Road in East Amherst.

The case was settled just before jury selection in the trial, which was to determine damages, said John F. Maxwell, one of XXXXX’s attorneys.

The settlement compensates XXXXX for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

“He didn’t known he was standing on particle board,” Maxwell said.  “He assumed it was plywood like the rest of the second floor.  Unbeknownst to him, someone placed particle board over the opening.”

The particle board was obscured by snow, Maxwell said.

XXXXX has undergone three spinal surgeries and faces more surgeries.  He has showed grit and determination to keep himself healthy, his lawyer said.

“His goal is to avail himself of cutting-edge technology for spinal cord injuries,” Maxwell said, such as stem cell therapy or a robotic walking maching called the Exoskeleton.

XXXXX, who had been employed by Burke Construction for about seven years at the time of the accident, did not have to testify at a trial.  But the former carpenter, in a deposition, described how he has begun to rebuild his life.

However, the catastrophic injury cost him a federal job he was on the verge of landing.

When the accident occurred, he was waiting to hear when he could begin training to become a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.  He was told he was on the list to be hired, and the agency had accepted him into its academy.

The accident on March 23, 2011 ended that prospect.

XXXXX and his family were represented by Maxwell and William D. Murphy of the Buffalo law firm of Maxwell Murphy as well as by Mario A. Giacobbe of the Cheektowaga law firm of Jaworski & Giacobbe. – The Buffalo News

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