Artículos publicados en Ladder or Scaffold Accidents

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.

Scaffold work can be very dangerous. There are many events that can occur that can cause a worker on a scaffold to fall and suffer serious harm. Due to that very substantial risk of harm, New York law has some very broad protections for these sorts of workers. Section 240(1) of the Labor Law, sometimes nicknamed the “Scaffold Law,” gives injured workers the right to seek compensation from site owners and general contractors if they are injured as a result of “elevation-related” risks. That can include something falling on you, or you falling from a height (like falling from a scaffold). If you are hurt while performing work that required the use of a scaffold, be sure you retain a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney, who will be familiar with all the unique aspects of this area of the law.

An example of how the Scaffold Law can work was the case of J. J. was a construction worker working in Queens County when he was hurt. J. was part of a team doing demolition work and his work required him to stand on a scaffold. As some point, while performing his duties, J. fell off that scaffold and suffered significant injuries.

When that type of injury happens, the law allows you to sue the construction site owner or the general contractor on the job. Both have a duty to ensure the safety of worker at risk of “elevation-related” dangers by providing those workers with proper protection, and that duty cannot be delegated to other people or entities.

The law in New York provides some very clear and strong protections for construction workers who are hurt on the job. The owner of the property where the work is taking place, as well as the general contractor on the project, has a responsibility under the law to provide workers on the site with a safe place to do their jobs. This includes providing them with the equipment and safety devices needed to do the work in a way that won’t result in injuries. In New York, you are entitled to that protection and entitled to sue when you are hurt because you didn’t receive that protection, regardless of your immigration status. If you’ve been hurt at your construction job, you should contact a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney right away.

New York courts are clear about undocumented workers’ rights to pursue their cases. One recent example was a case filed by a worker named Carlos, who was a construction worker on a project in Long Island. Carlos needed to do a job that was high up. The ground below was uneven. Carlos recognized, and stated, that a ladder would not work for the task. Even though there were aerial lifts and scaffolding available, Carlos’s supervisor told him to use a ladder anyway. The ladder that Carlos used was not secured to anything. Eventually, Carlos fell from the ladder and suffered serious injuries to his back and his dominant hand and wrist.

Carlos sued. Carlos’ case was a strong one based upon the unsecured ladder. He gave his testimony as part of the trial. The owner of the site, which was one of the companies that Carlos sued, argued that the court should reject all of the proof Carlos gave in his testimony and should instead rule in its favor. The sole basis for this argument by the property owner was the fact that Carlos was an undocumented immigrant, that he did not pay taxes, and that he had used a co-worker’s name to obtain health insurance after the ladder accident.

New York has certain laws that protect construction workers. These laws do more, though, than just protect the men and women working with heavy equipment. As long as you are engaged in certain activities, you may be able to use these laws to your advantage in your injury case too, even if you are not a “hard hat” worker. An experienced New York construction accident attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed with your case and pursue the compensation you deserve.

The case of Juan from Manhattan was an example of how this can work for you as an injured worker. Juan was a porter who worked at a co-operative building in the Upper East Side in June 2013. One day, the building supervisor asked Juan to paint the hot water pipes in the building’s basement. The job required a ladder because the pipes were 10-11 feet off the ground. Juan grabbed an aluminum A-frame ladder. The ladder was missing the stabilizer bar on the left side and one of its rubber feet. These flaws caused the ladder to move front to back and side to side.

Juan used the imperfect ladder because, by the time he went to the shop room to start the painting work, all of the other ladders were already in use. Juan told the supervisor that the last remaining ladder was a broken one, but the supervisor told him “it’s fine.” Juan ascended the ladder holding a paint roller. The ladder shifted, and the porter fell to the ground, suffering injuries.

When you are injured at your construction job and need to file a lawsuit in order to obtain the compensation that the law allows you to receive, it helps to accumulate as many pieces of evidence as possible that back up your own assertions about what happened before and during your accident. Another important litigation tactic you may need to use to give yourself a stronger case is keeping out harmful evidence that the law says is not allowed to be admitted as part of your case. For advocacy in these evidentiary battles within your case, you should make sure you have a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney representing you.

One recent construction injury case involved Atley, a construction worker who was working on Christmas Eve in 2012 when he suffered a serious accident. The worker was wearing a safety harness when he had his accident, but his harness was not tied off to anything. According to Atley, his accident took place because, while he was working on a scaffold, he tripped on a block and fell backward, tumbling off the scaffold and landing on the ground.

To back his allegations regarding how the accident happened, Atley had, in addition to his own testimony that he fell off the scaffold because he tripped on a block, his workers’ compensation claim, which stated that he slipped and fell off the scaffold. These pieces of proof, when put together, were enough to demonstrate to the court that Atley had not received the proper safety protections to safeguard him against falling off the scaffold and suffering injuries, which is a violation of New York’s Labor Law.