Think You’ve Had a Bad Day?
[author and source unknown]

One Bricklayer's Insurance Claim

I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In Section 3 of the accident report form I put “poor planning” as the cause of my accident. You said I should explain in more detail and I trust the following will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the brick into it. Then I went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in Section 11 that I weigh 135 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a very rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity if the third floor I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

Fortunately, by this time I regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.

I refer you again to my weight in Section 11. As you might imagine, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations on my legs and lower body.

The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I finally fell into the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.

I'm sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks, in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my presence of mind.

I let go of the rope.

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