Inside Story of Lawsuit over Catastrophic Injuries at Construction Site - Did Attorney's Rejection of Settlement Offer Cost His Client $7,000,000?


A 35 year old healthy construction worker was helping to build a new Lowe's Home Depot in Orangeburg (Ulster County), New York on November 14, 2002 when he fell off the roof 22 feet striking his head on the ground below.

After 63 days in the hospital (57 of them in a coma), 11 surgeries and 65 more days in a rehabilitation hospital, Robert Doviak was left totally and permanently blind, with a sense of touch that was seriously compromised, partial loss of hearing and no sense of smell or taste. Additionally, he had substantial orthopedic injuries including fractures of his left femur, several cervical vertebrae, both zygomatic arches and other bones in and about his face and eyes, his left hand and his right wrist.

Doviak's wife hired Finkelstein & Partners, a well known personal injury law firm in Newburgh, New York and they began a lawsuit against Lowe's and others based on New York's Labor Law which provides that owners of commercial buildings under construction are liable for injuries suffered by workers when they involve falls from heights. A judge granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on liability grounds and the case then proceeded to a jury trial to determine the amount of damages.

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