David Belding

Lives in Suffolk County, injured in Manhattan / Worker David Belding explains how he fell off an unsecured ladder and became a below the knee amputee.

I was working on installing protective window coatings in Manhattan for a subcontractor on the day of my accident. The windows needed to be covered with bomb blast film, which prevent windows from shattering in the event of a bomb being set off. Initially I was supplied with a makeshift scaffold for the window installation but when we did the reinstallation, I was only provided with a twelve-foot A-frame ladder. As I moved to the top of the ladder, the ladder collapsed, causing me to fall and shatter my entire leg from the ankle up.

I had multiple operations on my leg over the course of seven years including two bone grafts, at which point my leg was finally taken off in September 2010. My leg was amputated below the knee.

When I was given only a ladder to do the job on May 25, 2004, I asked for a man lift instead. I was not comfortable going up on that ladder. The ladder did not look sturdy to me but I was told to use it to perform the job.

I am reminded constantly about being an amputee every time I see the stump on my leg and when I put on my prosthetic. My leg starts to hurt by the end of each day. The leg also gradually shrinks so I need to be fitted periodically for a new prosthetic. After I lost my leg, I underwent months of intensive physical therapy. The constant litigation over the seven-year period and the multiple surgeries put a huge strain on my marriage, which ultimately ended.

My case settled in 2011 and the Scaffold Safety Law gave me back as much of my life as I could get under the circumstances. Workers compensation didn’t cover my quality of life or all of the surgeries I needed. It would have been a financial disaster without Labor Law 240. Changing the Scaffold Safety Law would destroy the lives of workers injured at gravity related accidents.