Differentiating Repair Work from ‘Routine Maintenance’ in Order to Win Your New York Construction Injury Case

Not all injuries for which you can obtain compensation under the New York laws that protect construction workers are stereotypical ones. Just because you weren’t hurt moving a steel beam while 11 floors off the ground or using heavy equipment to demolish a wall, that doesn’t mean that you cannot still sue and win the compensation you need under these laws.

One challenge you will very likely face, though, if you were hurt in one of those “other” activities, is that the defense will try to convince the court that the laws don’t cover the task that injured you. That would mean that you cannot recover anything on a claim filed under those statutes. Don’t let yourself fall victim to that strategy; be sure you have an experienced New York City construction attorney on your side to fight for your case.

Reportedly, R.W., a worker at the Nassau Coliseum, was standing atop a wooden A-frame ladder to work on a light fixture when he suffered substantial injuries. R.W.’s injuries, and the lawsuit that arose from them, highlight a particular kind of problem some injured construction workers may face. New York’s laws that protect construction workers, especially Sections 240(1) and 241(6) of the Labor Law, cover a wide range of activities, but you may still be confronted with a defense argument that the work you were doing when you were injured was something not protected by the law.

The key thing to know about this, especially in scenarios like the one that injured R.W., is that repair jobs are covered, while tasks related to routine maintenance are not. So, you may reasonably expect that the defense is going to try to persuade the judge that your repair work was actually just a routine maintenance task.

There are many ways to overcome that argument, get to trial and have your day in court. In R.W.’s case, the defense’s own court filings indicated that R.W.’s work extended beyond just maintenance. While some of the lighting poles on which R.W. worked required only tightening or new light bulbs (which would fall under the heading of routine maintenance,) other poles required more intensive work to get them to operate. In other words, R.W. had to repair them, and that repair activity would have been something covered by the Labor Law statutes.

This worker’s case is also a good reminder of the importance of including multiple claims. The Appellate Division decided that, not only could R.W. go to trial on his claim under the Section 240(1) law but could also go ahead on his Section 241(6) claim. Again, it came down whether or not the work R.W. was doing was covered by the statute, and the Appellate Division decided that the defense had not demonstrated sufficiently that it did not.

Assume that the other side in your construction injury case will be very well prepared to take on the case. Be sure you are even more ready than they are. The experienced New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates are here to help, having provided our clients effective representation for many years to get them the useful results and fair compensation they deserve.

Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.