Worker Injured in Electrical Accident Gets $1.2M Settlement in Essex

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A worker severely injured by electrocution at a construction site was paid a £1.2 million settlement in his Essex County lawsuit, Zhindon v. Prestige Building Co., on April 24. Plaintiff Jorge Zhindon was employed by Brazuka Construction and doing siding work at a residential worksite on Woodward Street in Jersey City on March 11, 2016.

Zhindon and other workers were taking down a scaffold when a metal pole came in contact with overhead electrical wires. He suffered an electrical  shock and was thrown several feet, according to his lawyers, John Ratkowitz and Michael Gallardo of Ginarte Gallardo Gonzalez & Winograd in Newark. Zhindon was in cardiac arrest, and was revived onsite by emergency medial workers via CPR and defibrillation.

He was hospitalized for a week at Jersey City Medical Center, and now has ongoing pain–from electrocution wounds to his head and right foot, as well as in his right leg and shoulder, the lawyers said. Zhindon underwent inpatient rehabilitation at Plaza Health Care and Rehabilitation Center for a week, and at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation for three weeks. Now age 42, he has ongoing pain, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and double vision, and has also undergone outpatient physical therapy, they said.

Brazuka was subcontracted to work on the site by siding contractor Mayfair Remodeling, and Prestige Building Co. was the general contractor on the job. The suit, filed in Essex County based on the defendants doing business there, claimed Mayfair improperly allowed scaffolding to be constructed close to power lines. Brazuka was brought on well into the project, the lawyers noted.

The defense didn’t dispute liability but did contest damages, contending that Zhindon’s vision issue was not related to the accident, they said. The parties settled on March 19, during mediation with Paul Vichness, a retired Superior Court judge with Mandelbaum Salsburg in Roseland. The sum was paid April 24, the lawyers said.

A trial had been scheduled for May 26, and the court was notified of the settlement on March 26, according to electronic court documents. Prestige and Mayfair were represented by Michael J. Maselli and Douglas Sanchez of Cruser, Mitchell, Novitz, Sanchez, Gaston & Zimet in Woodcliff Lake.

They couldn’t be reached by phone or email. — David Gialanella

£650K in Middlesex Auto Case

Elliott v. Howland: A motorist who sustained shoulder and back injuries when his car was struck from behind by a truck settled his Middlesex County case on Feb.

14 for £650,000. According to counsel in the case, on April 23, 2015, plaintiff Raymond Elliott, 27, was merging from Ridge Road onto Route 130 in South Brunswick when a box truck rear-ended his sedan. Elliott sued the truck driver, Warren Howland, claiming negligence, and Penske Truck Leasing Co., which owned the box truck.

Elliott was ultimately diagnosed with a partial tear of the right supraspinatus tendon, of his dominant arm, a herniation at lumbar intervertebral disc L5-S1; and bulging in his cervical spine. For the next three years, Elliott treated with chiropractic care, consulted an orthopedic surgeon and a pain management doctor, and received a series of epidural injections in his lower back. He underwent an arthroscopy to repair his rotator cuff tear and treated with physical therapy.

Elliott alleged that he continues to experience pain and discomfort in his shoulder and lumbar spine, interfering with his performance of routine activities. Elliott sought to recover more than £200,000 in medical costs, plus damages for past and future pain and suffering. The defense contended that the injuries Elliott suffered as a result of the accident would have been strains and sprains to his shoulder, neck and back, all of which would have resolved within weeks of treatment.

A defense expert determined that Elliott’s treatment was excessive and unrelated to the accident. The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. Penske, which was self-insured, agreed to pay £650,000.

Elliott was represented by Michael Heck of Epstein Ostrove. Howland and Penske Truck Leasing Co. were represented by Carl Figueroa of Cottrell Solensky.

*Editor’s Comment: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.

— Aaron Jenkins, adapted from VerdictSearch reports

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