Artículos publicados en Falling Objects and Worker Falls

Another summer in New York City has ended, but not before the even more construction deaths occurred the city. As with so many fatal construction accidents, these involved workers who suffered fatal injuries in a fall or as a result of falling objects. Falls and falling objects consistently are the most frequent forms of fatal construction accidents, yet a lack of proper protection continues to remain a major problem in the construction industry.

In New York, the law requires construction site owners and general contractors to provide all workers with the protection they need to safeguard against “elevation-related” risks of harm. When that doesn’t happen and a worker gets hurt, that worker can obtain an award of compensation for the harm he/she suffered. To learn more about the legal options available to you related to your construction accident, reach out to an experienced New York City construction accident attorney.

In the more recent incident, PIX11 reported that 59-year-old J.P. was standing inside the bucket of a cherry picker repairing a traffic light in Queens. At around 2:45 a.m. a tall box truck passed through the intersection where the traffic signal was located and slammed into the cherry picker’s bucket, causing the worker to fall roughly 20 feet to the ground.

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In a popular 1980s movie, the henchman to the film’s main villain is asked by the police, “Did you see anything?” In his response, which is the movie’s last line of dialogue, the stunned and confused henchman simply mumbles, “A polar bear fell on me.”

In that movie, the accident’s peculiar nature and the henchman’s dazed description are meant to be amusing to the audience. However, when something unusual falls on you at your construction job, causing you to suffer significant injuries, it is exactly the opposite of a laughing matter. It is scary, frustrating, confusing and stressful. To take away some of that stress, fear and confusion, you need an experienced New York City construction injury attorney to help you identify your options within the legal system, and then pick the best one for your specific situation.

One thing that is important to understand about falling object injuries at construction sites is that not all injuries caused by falling objects will entitle the injured worker to compensation. (Do not dismay, though; a lot of them do trigger an award of damages.) As a recent case that began in Westchester County illustrated, success often depends on giving the court the evidence needed to show that your falling object accident meets all the requirements to be covered by the law.

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Sometimes, as a construction worker, you may be injured as a result of a fall. Fortunately, there’s a law that allows construction workers to obtain compensation for injuries suffered in falls. Other times, you may be injured in an accident that occurred due to a violation of one or more state safety regulations. Again, fortunately, New York has a law allowing construction workers to get compensation when they’re hurt in this way.

However, what happens if, say, you were injured at your construction job in a fall that occurred as a result of one or more safety regulation violations. Must you pick one or the other of the statutes under which to pursue your claim? If so, which one is best? Or can you assert claims under multiple different statutes in the same lawsuit? For answers to these and other essential questions, be sure you speak to an experienced New York City construction injury attorney for the answers you need.

In a situation like the one described above, the reality is that you can sue and assert claims under both statutes. As an example, there’s the case of M.D., who was reportedly working at a job on Staten Island when he was hurt. As part of his job, M.D. needed to instruct other workers where to position a generator. As he walked along a muddy pathway, he slipped and fell. When he fell, he dropped into one of two deep trenches situated on either side of the pathway that were dug out for the installation of pipes. The trenches had been covered only by orange netting held by wooden posts.

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Construction work in New York is dangerous work. There are many common ways in which a worker can be injured or killed. Sometimes, however, the danger that injures you at your construction job is particularly unusual or a “freak” accident. Does the fact that a danger was especially unexpected, and an accident was a freak one necessarily mean that you are less able to recover compensation for the harm you suffered? No, it doesn’t. Whether your accident was of a common variety or was a freak injury, you should contact a knowledgeable New York City construction accident attorney right away to get started assessing your legal options and best path forward.

As an example of a recent real-life “freak” accident, there is the tragic accident in Port Jefferson Station that Newsday reported claimed the life of a 22-year-old worker. A.O., the man killed in the accident, was a member of a construction crew that had staged cable guide wire along North Bicycle Path, intended to hoist that wire above the road and into place. Before the crew could hoist the wire, however, a pickup truck driver drove along the street and over the wire. The wire became entangled in the truck’s undercarriage, then became taut as the truck continued moving forward. The wire managed to entangle A.O. and his two co-workers, dragging all three along behind the truck.

According to the report, one man suffered minor injuries, another was reported to be in critical but stable condition immediately after the accident, and 22-year-old A.O. was dead.

One of the legal bases that construction workers can use to seek compensation in court is something nicknamed the “Scaffold Law.” That statute is something that protects workers from injuries caused by “elevation-related” risks of harm and inadequate protection from those risks, whether the accidents involve scaffolds or not. This can include things falling on (and injuring) a worker or a worker suffering an injury in a fall.

That law also says that there are two people/entities that have a “non-delegable duty” to ensure that all workers receive the protection they need from fall injuries or falling object injuries. (“Non-delegable duty” means that the person/entity cannot escape responsibility by saying “I assigned that obligation to someone else, so I’m not liable.”) Those two are the general contractor on the project and the owner of the job site. However, as most anyone in New York knows, many places are not occupied by their owners; they’re leased and are occupied by a tenant. If that’s the circumstance at the construction site where you suffered your injury, would you know what to do? One of the first things you should be sure to do is to reach out to an experienced New York City construction accident attorney.

For an illustration of a scenario where you can sue a tenant, look at the case of C.R., a man who worked construction in Nassau County. C.R. was reportedly injured while doing sheetrock work to soundproof a wall that divided sports complex from a law office. As a result of C.R.’s on-the-job accident, he suffered significant injuries.

If you work construction in New York City or are close to someone who does, you certainly know that this kind of work is often very dangerous. You probably know a worker who has been hurt at a construction job or, maybe, you were that worker.

You may also know that, if you’re hurt while working construction in New York, you may be entitled to sue in court and receive compensation. (And, if you did know that… great!) What you probably don’t know, however, is all the different ways that these laws can protect you and help you get back on your feet after your construction injury. To find out just how much the law can help you, contact a knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorney right away to discuss your situation.

One of these laws is something lawyers know as Section 240(1) of the Labor Law. Many non-lawyers know it as the “Scaffold Law,” but that name can be misleading. Yes, that law does protect workers who were injured while utilizing a scaffold to do their work; however, it goes far beyond just that, as one recent case demonstrated.

A pair of July accidents at New York City cites brought more tragedy, with two more workers dead. These terrible accidents are a reminder that, although construction is inherently dangerous work, too many sites are unacceptably dangerous. Also, these two men were immigrants and their deaths are a reminder that, often times, the burden of injury or death in New York City construction accidents falls heavily on immigrants.

You are entitled to work at a safe construction site. When that doesn’t happen, you are entitled to go to court and obtain fair compensation. That’s true regardless of your immigration status… even if you’re undocumented. For the advice and advocacy you need for your situation, look to an experienced New York City construction injury attorney to guide you through the process.

In the first accident, reported by the New York Post, a man who worked at a recycling facility in the Bronx was attempting to repair a bulldozer when he died. The 47-year-old worker was welding the bulldozer’s excavator bucket when that bucket dropped. It landed on the man and crushed him to death.

Sometimes, achieving success in your construction injury case may be very complex. It may involve large amounts and multiple varieties of proof, from eyewitness statements to documentation to expert opinions. Other times, the path to success can be very straightforward and may not involve that much evidence at all. Whether your situation is complex or straightforward, be sure you are prepared to succeed. Be sure you have a skilled New York City construction attorney on your side.

How direct is the path to success sometimes? The case of W.C. is an example. W.C. was a laborer working on the renovation of a Catholic school in Queens. W.C.’s duties required him to stand on a scaffold. While the laborer was doing his job one day, the scaffold’s platform collapsed, leaving W.C. to fall through the scaffold’s frame and all the way to the ground. The fall caused the laborer to suffer significant injuries.

W.C. filed a lawsuit against the parish that owned the school. His lawsuit included multiple claims for compensation under various sections of New York’s Labor Law. One of the sections was Section 240(1), which protects workers engaged in construction activities from elevation-related risks of harm. That includes things like objects falling and striking the worker, and also includes things like a worker falling due to a collapsed scaffold.

Even if you are not someone who regularly engages in construction work, you may still be entitled to pursue a claim under the New York laws that protect construction workers. If you were hurt as a result of a falling object striking you or a fall, and you were engaged in erection, demolition or repair (among certain other activities) of a non-exempt building, then you can successfully pursue a case under Section 240(1) of New York’s Labor Law and obtain an award of compensation, regardless of whether your regular duties were in construction or something unrelated. To find out more about your options, be sure to reach out to a knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorney.

Y.Z.’s case is an illustration of this concept. Y.Z. was a salesperson at a kitchen plumbing supply center in Brooklyn. One day, Y.Z. was instructed to run thermostat cable wiring through a wall on the second floor of the building where he worked. Allegedly, a duct opening in the floor was covered only by a thin piece of Styrofoam. Y.Z. stepped on the Styrofoam, it broke and he fell some 15 feet down to the first floor, suffering substantial injuries as a result, according to his complaint against the property owner.

When you’re hurt in a situation like what happened to Y.Z., there are various ways in which you can achieve a successful outcome. One of the best ones is to win a motion for summary judgment. When that happens, then you do not have to go trial on the issue of whether or not the defendant was liable, you only have to have a trial to prove how great you harm was.

Tragically, another month has brought yet more news of a fatal construction accident in New York. This time, the location was a construction site on Long Island. Again, the accident involved workers hurt because they didn’t receive the proper equipment they needed to do their job safely. These accidents are happening far too often here. When they do and you are injured as a result, be sure to reach out without delay to an experienced New York City construction injury attorney to learn more about the options the law gives you.

In the Long Island accident, a crew was working on the construction of a new home in Freeport and was standing on what news reports described as “makeshift scaffolding” as they worked on the third floor. The makeshift scaffold appeared to be two-by-four planks placed atop wooden beams, according to the report.

Reportedly, the makeshift device failed and the two workers on the scaffold platform fell to the ground 25 feet below. One of the two workers, a 17-year-old from Hempstead, suffered a fractured skull and later died from his injuries.

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