$9,400,000 :: Yarnall v. S.K. Management

SETTLEMENT : Fall through roof opening

Roofer Sustains Serious Injuries After Falling Through Roof

The plaintiff was a 28-year old roofer employed by Pegnato Pegnato Roofing Company. On the day of the accident, he was sent to an apartment complex located in Sherman Oaks, California to conduct an estimate on roof repairs. The apartment building had a two-story stairwell located outside of the building that had an opening at the top of the stairwell that was unprotected and unguarded. The plaintiff obtained access to the roof of one of ten buildings in the complex via a fixed ladder attached to the back of the two-story apartment building.

The plaintiff was working for approximately five minutes before we was found unconscious at the bottom of the apartment stairwell. He had fallen 20 feet onto a concrete slab floor, fracturing his arm, and sustaining a severe head injury upon impact. There were no witnesses and the plaintiff sustained memory loss of the time just before and during the accident.

After being hired by the plaintiff, we filed a personal injury lawsuit against the professional management company and the owners of the apartment complex. Our suit claimed that the seven feet by three feet opening at the top of the stairwell by which the plaintiff fell was an incomplete skylight that did not comply with building code. The opening, pursuant to OSHA regulations and customary safety requirements, was not covered or guarded with a guardrail. The plaintiff did not see the opening to the stairwell because it blended into the roof, and was not plainly visible.

In addition, there were tripping hazards on the roof and we were able to obtain evidence that children had access to these same roof openings, even toys and candy wrappers were found on the roof.

The plaintiff sustained permanent severe brain damage with amnesia, severe short-term and long-term memory loss, epileptic seizures, and a fractured arm. He required medical monitoring for a majority of the day. He would not be able to work for the rest of his life.

At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was earning $40,000 annually which an expected increase in income due to an expected promotion. His initial medical costs were $826,000 with an expected cost of $3,000,000 in the future. The case settled before going to trial for $9,400,000.

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