Union Accident Lawyer: Bridge Accident $5M Verdict

Union Accident Lawyer: Bridge Accident $5M Verdict

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Jun 2, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

Construction accidents are common in New York City and surrounding areas. In the Bronx, one painter was injured while working on a union bridge project, suffering injuries to his neck, arm, and back. Although part of local unions, he was denied compensation for his injuries. His employers even attempted to prove that his injuries were due to pre-existing conditions.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers went to work securing damages for our client. Read on for a breakdown of this accident and how Schwartzapfel Lawyers went above and beyond to ensure our client got the compensation he needed to pay for his medical bills.

Alternatively, you can speak with one of our experienced accident lawyers by dialing 1-800-966-4999 now!

The Accident

Our client was originally employed as a union bridge painter. He was assigned to work on a painting project in the Bronx at a pedestrian bridge crossing the Henry Hudson Parkway. Far from being a new union member, our client was a longtime member in good standing with both Structural Steel Painters and Local 806 Bridge.

He took an overnight shift to earn money for his family, expecting to be offered proper safety equipment and guidelines to come home safely. Instead, the Defendant general contractor opted to rush work and did not provide our client with safety equipment. An accident occurred afterward as a result.

Our client was ordered to sandblast the bridge down to the metal, remove lead paint, and remove the protective coating to the bare steel layer. Then he was ordered to repaint the bridge structure completely. At the time of the accident, our client was due to prep the bridge for containment and eliminate lead paint hazards.

Our client had to work at heights of approximately 10 feet above the ground or higher to accomplish his job. Our client asked for a ladder but was instead told to climb a nearby fence running the bridge’s length. This was clearly unsafe, but our client was given no other choice to complete his work.

Dutifully, our client scaled the wrought iron fence. He tried to drape a tarp over the area to contain the lead paint he was supposed to remove. Though he was successful in placing the tarp, he fell on the descent back toward the ground. At over 6 feet tall, our client fell from an elevation of over 10 feet.

Due to the impact, our client suffered numerous injuries to his arm, back, and neck. These injuries were severe enough that he was unable to return to work and had to now face exorbitant and overwhelming medical bills.

Determining Negligence

Initially, our client turned to another law firm. However, they did not fight for him as they had agreed. Schwartzapfel Lawyers then stepped in and got to work determining negligence on behalf of our client’s general contractor.

Negligence, in this case as in many others, was broadly defined as:

  • Having a stated duty to another person or party
  • Failing that duty due to ignorance or deliberate decision

In this case, it was clear that our client’s general contractor, the defendant in the case, did not provide our client with appropriate safety gear. Despite knowing that safety gear would have been important, the general contractor opted to rush through the work, presumably to secure greater profits for themselves.

Furthermore, our client specifically asked for a ladder so that he could rise and descend from the fence and the bridge working area safely. Because he was denied, this showed intent to ignore the reasonable safety request of the claimant.

How Schwartzapfel Lawyers Assisted

To ensure a successful lawsuit outcome for our client, Schwartzapfel Lawyers gathered evidence, including doctors’ notes and other medical information, evidence from the scene of the accident, and more. We helped our client file his lawsuit properly and present the evidence compellingly to court.

All the while, Schwartzapfel Lawyers worked hard so our client received the rest he needed to recover while we ensured a successful case verdict.

The Verdict and Compensation

In the end, our efforts were worthwhile. Not only were we able to prove that the defendant was guilty of negligence, but we also managed to secure a $5 million compensation award from the court. This was enough to help our client pay for his expensive medical bills, pay off bills accumulated from lost work, and still have plenty leftover.

This $5 million compensation amount was fair and just given the circumstances. It’s also another example of how Schwartzapfel Lawyers can ensure fair damage compensation to our clients.

NYC Construction Accident Frequency

Sadly, accidents like the above-mentioned bridge accident are far from uncommon. In fact, construction accidents are some of the most common and dangerous in New York City and surrounding metro areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry has the highest rate of fatal occupational injuries in New York City. For example, 2020 saw a total of over 4,700 fatal work injuries in just that year.

But other injuries are also common. The NYC Department of Buildings found that 2020 had 484 construction-related accidents. Those accidents yielded 502 construction-related injuries. Among those accidents, the most common causes were fall accidents, material failure causing a fall, and other construction-related factors.

Because New York City construction accidents are unfortunately common, painters, welders, and all others involved in the construction industry need to know who to contact in the event of an accident.

To learn more, dial 1-800-966-4999 and allow Schwartzapfel Lawyers the honor and privilege of assisting you in your legal needs.

How To Get the Help You Need

If you’re injured at work or during a construction accident, first contact medical services and get the help you need to stabilize your condition. Only after you have seen medical professionals should you contact legal professionals like Schwartzapfel Lawyers.

Construction accident lawyers or workers’ compensation lawyers can assist you with:

  • Proving that you were injured because of the negligence of a general contractor or someone else
  • Proving that you deserve workers’ compensation because your injuries were acquired at work or while in the performance of work-related duties

Although New York City contracting companies and other organizations are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, many insurance companies refuse to pay injured workers. They try to save money instead of doing what’s right.

Knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys like Schwartzapfel Lawyers can help you by proving that your injuries were sustained during normal work duties. We can also help you prove that your injuries were not sustained because of negligence on your part.

If your injuries were acquired because of someone else’s direct negligence, as in the above example case, we can assist as well. You might be able to prove negligence if:

  • You are denied proper safety equipment or gear to carry out your tasks
  • Your current gear is not safe or is not upgraded when it is no longer functional or protective
  • You are not warned about worksite hazards
  • You are forced to work around worksite hazards deemed unsafe by OSHA or other organizations
  • You are required to work in hazardous conditions
  • And in many other situations!

Your general contractor or superior may try to pressure you into avoiding a lawsuit. Don’t let them. Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-800-966-4999 for a free case evaluation.

Why Schwartzapfel Lawyers Are Right for You

There are many lawyers you can contact in the Bronx and throughout New York City. Why Schwartzapfel Lawyers? We’re the best choice for unionized workers who experience accidents because:

  • We fight for you from start to finish. We won’t give up no matter the circumstances of your case or the defenses that someone else erects. When we take on a client, we treat them like family and treat their cases as the most important cases we’ve ever approached – because they are!
  • We don’t charge you anything unless your case is a success. When your finances are already struggling, you don’t need to worry about paying for legal assistance. If your lawsuit doesn’t win, we don’t win, and we won’t charge you a dime.
  • We have a long history of successful construction accident and workers’ compensation cases and verdicts. The above bridge accident with a union worker is just one example. Our testimonials page has plenty more showing our dedication to our clients and the results you can expect if you contact us today at 1-800-966-4999.


Schwartzapfel Lawyers has helped clients like this union worker recover the compensation needed to recover from injuries, to pay for medical expenses, and so much more. That’s why if you or a loved one has been injured in a construction-related accident, you shouldn’t wait or settle for subpar legal representation.

Instead, contact us today at 1-800-966-4999 or visit us online. Once you give us a call, we will begin with a free case evaluation and explore all potential legal options. The path to recovery starts here – let Schwartzapfel Lawyers guide you to a successful lawsuit outcome today!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Fatal Occupational Injuries in New York City — 2020 | BLS.gov

Construction Accident Summary | NYC Department of Buildings

Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

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