A Genesee County man was awarded $3.8 million after a New York State Court of Claims Judge found him totally disabled from strenuous work, including construction, after he was injured on the job.
Robert Woodhouse, a 37 year-old journeyman carpenter and member of Union Local 85, was seriously injured on September 20, 1996, while working on a bridge over Rt. 490 in the Town of Bergen. He was hoisting 300 pounds of steel up from the road below when the device he was using malfunctioned and the steel fell. The hoisting device “caught” before the steel hit the ground, causing its handle to slam into the side of Woodhouse’s head. Fortunately, he was wearing his hard hat. The hard hat, which was made of Kevlar, the same material used to make bulletproof vests, broke in two.
Woodhouse was knocked unconscious for a few minutes and considered lucky to not be more seriously injured. Unfortunately, he has suffered from debilitating migraine headaches almost every day since.
Because of the headaches and the dizziness that goes with them, Woodhouse, a carpenter, could no longer do the climbing and working at heights that union carpenters are often required to do. He found a factory job in Batavia. His supervisor praised his work and testified at trial that he was an excellent worker, but that his headaches caused him to miss more and more days of work until, finally, they had to let him go. He has tried everything to treat the migraine headaches without any success.
The New York State Court of Claims Judge Donald H. Corbett, Jr., who heard the case, found Woodhouse totally disabled from strenuous work, including construction and machine shop employment. He found that Woodhouse was not at all at fault and awarded him $3.8 million to cover his medical expenses, lost wages and disability.
Joe Moran of Moran & Kufta represented Woodhouse. “Even after working on hundreds of major personal injury cases over the last 20 years, it is still difficult seeing a strong, family oriented man, like Bobby Woodhouse, lose his ability to work and enjoy life and to see how devastating this can be to a family,” Moran said. “I hope the money will help his family get back on their financial feet and start fresh.”