Michel Pierre, who lives in Brooklyn, received 30 stitches after his face, arms and legs were hit by shards of porcelain from the toilet, ABC News reported.
"Toilet bowls are supposed to flush, not explode," Sanford Rubenstein, a personal injury attorney representing Pierre, told ABC News.
Rubenstein said the water in Pierre's building had been shut off Oct. 2 for plumbing work. Later in the day, Pierre flushed the toilet to see if the maintenance work was done, at which point the toilet exploded.
Theresa Racht, general counsel for the co-op where Pierre lives, Caton Towers, said it appeared the plumbing work caused a buildup of pressure in the pipe that serves the toilets, Sky News reported.
Three other toilets in the building exploded.
"This is a horrific incident. Everybody feels terrible that such a thing could have happened," Racht said. "It certainly makes me think twice about flushing the toilet when the water's been turned off. This could very well be what we call a true accident."