Artículos publicados en Falling Objects and Worker Falls

Recently, a man in Louisiana went from living the American immigrant dream to the modern American immigrant nightmare. According to CBS News, he had arrived from Honduras and landed a construction job working on a big new hotel project in New Orleans. Then, after a building collapse injured D.R.P., ICE picked him up and deported him back to Honduras.

In New York City, where hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants work every day, many of them in construction, D.R.P.’s scenario is their biggest fear. They worry, among other things, that if they are injured at their construction jobs, they must choose between pursuing the financial compensation their families need or remaining in this country (and avoiding deportation.) The reality is that, as an undocumented worker, your options are not that narrow, or that bleak. By working with a knowledgeable New York City construction accident attorney, you may be able to get the compensation you deserve and also continue to remain in this country.

According to the news report, D.R.P. worked framing windows in the hotel. He used a laser level a lot, so he was able to detect that the building was tilting just by doing his everyday work. Eventually, the building collapsed and D.R.P., who was working on an upper floor, fell several stories, suffering substantial injuries.

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In any construction injury lawsuit, getting a truly successful outcome is about more than a judgment in your favor; it’s also about an award of damages — or a settlement amount — that accurately reflects the harm you suffered and adequately positions you and your family to deal with the challenges that will inevitably lay ahead. That’s especially true if you suffered catastrophic injuries in your construction accident.

A skilled New York City construction accident attorney can help with getting that award or settlement. Your attorney can help you develop the evidence you need to prove your damages. Whether it involves photographic evidence, testimony or expert opinion evidence from medical or industry experts, your attorney can help you decide what proof your case needs. Your attorney can also help you as you make vital choices like whether to accept a settlement or continue litigating.

R.T., a journeyman construction worker, was someone who experienced that kind of catastrophic injury, according to a Daily News report. A co-worker was operating a mobile excavator (a/k/a a wheel excavator) when that machine struck an overhead utility line, with the line becoming snagged. This caused the utility pole attached to the line to fall, the pole to slam into R.T.’s head and that impact to send the man flying down some 15-20 feet, where he landed at the bottom of an excavation trench.

Certainly, if you’re working at a New York construction site demolishing a wall, framing a window or installing electrical wire — and you were hurt in the process – then you potentially may be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries, as these are activities clearly covered by the laws that protect construction workers. What you may not have known, however, is that there is actually a wide array of circumstances under which the laws designed to protect injured construction workers can help you, even if you weren’t doing “stereotypical” construction work like the examples above. In other words, if you were hurt at a New York construction site, it pays to contact a knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorney to learn more about the legal options available to you.

In a case that was recently ruled upon by the Appellate Division court in Manhattan, the worker’s injuries arose from one of those non-stereotypical activities. M.D. was inside a construction trailer when he spotted a coworker who was “performing improper work.” M.D., seeking to stop that coworker, stepped out of the trailer. When he passed through the trailer door, there were no stairs beneath, and he fell, suffering substantial harm.

In this case, even though M.D. was not engaged in stereotypical construction work, he had a possibly winning case. He suffered a fall due to inadequate safeguards and his activity at the time of the accident was something covered by the law.

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If you’ve been injured working on a major project at a large commercial building, then you may understand that there are certain laws that can protect you and entitle you to compensation. What you may not know, though, is that the statutes’ protections go farther than that. They can apply to a large range of construction or repair-related tasks on commercial or residential properties, unless a legal exception applies.

In other words, after you’ve been hurt at work, you may have more legal options than you otherwise would have thought. Be sure to check with a knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorney about the legal avenues available to you.

S.S. was one of those workers, having accepted a job to remove gutters from a property in Queens. While he was removing those gutters, S.S. fell from a ladder and suffered significant injuries. As a result of the harm he suffered, S.S. sued the property’s owners for damages under Section 240(1) of the New York Labor Law, which protects workers when they’re injured in a fall due to inadequate fall protection.

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Whether you’re a construction worker, an OSHA investigator, or a New York City construction accident attorney, you will, if you remain in the industry long enough, unfortunately begin to see certain patterns that emerge and certain factual issues that come up over and over. For example, one of the most common causes of fatal construction accident is falls. In many of those fatal fall accidents, the worker either wasn’t wearing a harness or other fall protection or did not have his/her harness tied off properly.

Despite the frequency of these accidents, they continue to occur over and over. Too many times, that’s because those in charge at the site are more worried about time and money than they are worker safety, leading them to cut corners on essential safety needs – like fall protection.

The news articles are numerous. In October, reported on a Utica man who died when he fell off the roof of a four-story building. The worker was wearing neither a harness not any other form of fall protection, according to investigators. In May, the Daily News covered the near-fatal accident of a worker in Brooklyn. The worker, who suffered major head trauma after falling head-first into a shaft, wasn’t wearing a harness, police stated. In April, the Ithaca Voice reported on an OSHA fine handed out against a construction management company overseeing a hotel’s construction in downtown Ithaca. That fine came after a photo was published, drawing widespread shock and condemnation. The picture showed a hardhat working atop a scaffold several stories off the ground. The worker had neither a harness nor any other protection other than his hardhat.

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The pieces of evidence that end up being the keys to success in your construction accident case can come from a lot of different places. This is one reason, among many, why it is so important to have an experienced New York City construction accident attorney on your side. You might know to obtain photographic evidence or the eyewitness testimony of your nearby co-workers, but there are many other things that you might not think of, either, and those things may be essential to your success.

Take, as an example, the case of A.V., an ironworker injured at a job site in Manhattan. A.V. was working on the eighth floor of the building. Up on the ninth floor, carpenters were setting up a floor. On the morning of A.V.’s injury, a carpenter placing a wooden beam on a truss missed his target. The beam crashed down and hit A.V. on the head.

When you’re injured in an accident like this, there are several “boxes,” so to speak, you have to check. First, you must make sure that the accident that injured you in something that’s covered by the legal claim you use in your lawsuit. For example, if you include a claim under Section 240(1) of the Labor Law, then your accident needs to include a fall, a falling object or some other injured tied to a “elevation-related” risk of harm.

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When you are working at a construction job, there are many ways that you can be injured. Not all construction accidents are collapsed walls, malfunctioning scaffolds/ladders or falling building materials. Even if your injury accident wasn’t one of those more common “I fell from a scaffold” or “a falling beam fell onto me” cases, that doesn’t mean that you can’t recover compensation under the New York statutes.

The New York statutes designed to protect injured construction workers cover more than just the “obvious” type of injury scenarios. So, even if your accident was a less common one, don’t be discouraged and do reach out to a skilled New York City construction injury attorney promptly.

D.C. was someone who sued after he was hurt in one of these “less common” scenarios. He was an electrician working on the construction of a new Apple store in Grand Central Station in Manhattan. His tasks required D.C. to cross a three-foot tall concrete platform several times. The electrician wasn’t actually working on the platform; he simply had to cross it to get to a room in which he was working. During one of those trips, the electrician began entangled with a metal stud and fell from the platform and onto his elbow, suffering a significant injury.

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There are many aspects of construction work in New York City that are particularly dangerous. As recent incidents have shown, work that involves elevators and elevator shafts is one of those areas. Whether it is being struck by a moving elevator, being hurt when an elevator malfunctions and falls or being injured in a fall into an elevator shaft, the potential for serious or even fatal injury is significant. If you’re hurt in one of these kinds of accidents, you may have suffered serious injuries and may have a need for substantial compensation for the harm you suffered. Be sure to retain an experienced New York City construction accident attorney to help you in getting the recovery you need.

In October 2019, another construction accident meant yet another construction death. Although details were sparse in many reports, most reports seemed to agree that a 24-year-old worker was traveling in an elevator of a Manhattan high-rise when he dropped his phone. As the worker moved to retrieve the phone, he fell, tripped or somehow became entangled in some type of material. As NBC New York described it, “he somehow became caught on something.”

The elevator then fell, and the worker slammed into a “saddle,” which is a metal piece that is part of the shaft. The saddle crushed the man and killed him.

To give yourself the best chance of the fairest and fullest possible recovery in your New York construction injury case, it pays to assert as many different claims as possible, and to fight for your right to argue all of them at your trial. Doing that effectively, of course, means knowing how to make the right arguments and give the court the right evidence and other information it needs. In other words, it pays to have a skilled New York City construction injury attorney handling your case and providing the representation you need.

The case of an injured man working in Manhattan provides a useful example. The worker, G.M., was a foreman for a company doing asbestos removal at an elementary school. The work involved getting the materials that contained asbestos out of the building’s ceiling and some of that work was done using a jackhammer. G.M. was reportedly hurt when one of the long light fixtures in a classroom, which was held to the ceiling with thin steel beams, crashed down and hit him.

Clearly, G.M.’s injury would seem to present a potentially winning case under New York’s “Scaffold Law.” That’s because, whether or not you were using a scaffold at the time of your accident, you, as a construction worker, are entitled to proper safety protections to safeguard you from injuries resulting from falls or falling objects. That includes objects like light fixtures hung from ceilings.

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After you’ve been hurt at your construction job and you have made the important decision to seek compensation through the court system, you can expect that the entities you’ve sued won’t go down without fight. They will likely be well armed with skillful attorneys who know how to make persuasive arguments to defeat the claims of workers like you.

That doesn’t mean that you should fear or despair, and it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sue. All that previous warning should illustrate to you is just how important it is to make sure that you have an experienced and effective New York City construction injury attorney of your own to fight for you.

One of the more common techniques that an employer may use to try to defeat your case is to cast you as entirely at fault. If you have strong proof that you were hurt and that you were not provided with safety protection equipment, then the employer may resort to trying to pin the blame 100% on you. A bridge worker from western New York faced that hurdle in his case, and his success is an example of how to defeat that defense argument.

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