When you’re injured at a construction job, there may be various ways for you to seek damages, depending on the facts of your case. One option that may exist for you is a lawsuit asserting that you have a claim for damages under Labor Law Section 241(6). A claim under that law potentially arises when a violation of the state’s safety regulations has taken place. If you have been hurt because of debris left on the floor, equipment improperly stored, or some other safety problem, the law may allow you to recover compensation for the injuries you suffered. To pursue your rights, contact an experienced New York City construction injury attorney about your case.An example of this type of safety problem (and its leading to an accident) was the case of M.L. M.L. was a carpenter who was framing a bathroom on the 12th floor of a Manhattan hotel. While working, the carpenter stepped back off the ladder he was using and, in the process, landed in a hole in the floor, becoming wedged. The carpenter managed to avoid falling but became twisted, injuring his knee in the process.
M.L.’s lawsuit for compensation for his knee injury relied upon this statute (Section 241(6)) and the safety issues at his work area. One particular New York regulation, Section 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(e)(2), says that floors, platforms, and similar areas where work takes place must “be kept free of dirt and debris.” In the carpenter’s case, he noticed that the room in which he was working “was a little bit of a mess.” Specifically, he alleged that there was sheetrock, pipes, and other debris on the floor. What the carpenter didn’t remember, however, was whether or not the debris actually covered the hole (as opposed to being merely near the hole).
So did the carpenter’s inability to provide evidence that the debris covered the hole that caused his injury mean that he was unable to win his injury case and recover compensation? The courts clearly said the answer was, “No.” The law allows the jury in your case to make certain inferences based upon the proof that you provided to them if that proof is sufficiently extensive. In M.L.’s case, the appeals court ruled that, when the carpenter’s extensive deposition testimony was taken as a whole piece of evidence, it was adequate to allow for the inference that the debris either covered the hole or else was so close to the hole that it prevented M.L. from seeing the hole. Either way, the debris, as alleged, created a “hazardous condition,” which meant that the carpenter was entitled to go forward with his case against the building owner.