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.
The trenches were allegedly each 10-15 feet deep. As M.D. fell, he grabbed the netting, but the entire system of netting and posts collapsed and fell in the trench along with the worker. In the fall, M.D. suffered an injury to his leg.
The law says helps workers injured in fall-related accidents says that workers must be provided sufficient protection from all “gravity-related” risks of harm and, if they’re not and a worker is injured, then the worker may be entitled to compensation. That law applied to M.D.’s case. While shallower trenches (like, say, 3-4 feet in depth) are not significant enough to qualify as “gravity-related” risks of harm, a trench 10-15 feet in depth is deep enough to trigger potential liability under this law.
In M.D.’s case, the evidence showed that there was protection provided to protect workers from falling into the trenches, but that it was plainly inadequate (as demonstrated by its failure to hold up M.D.) That was enough for the worker to be entitled to a summary judgment in his favor on this claim.
Winning your case when you were hurt due to a safety regulation violation
If you’re pursuing a claim based upon the statute related to safety regulation violations, note that you can use more than one regulation as the basis for this claim. If any one of the regulations you listed is proven to be a valid basis, then you can win your claim under this statute.
New York has a safety regulation that requires employers to protect workers from slipping hazards. There is also a regulation that requires employers to protect workers from falling hazards “that arise from hazardous openings,” which requires that the opening be covered by a “substantial covering” or by safety railing. A third regulation requires that all open trenches be “effectively guarded” by “a substantial fence or barricade.”
In M.D.’s case, all three of these regulations were violated. M.D. was required, as part of his job, to use a muddy pathway that was slippery, and that slippery condition directly led to his fall. The opening into which M.D. fell was not guarded by safety railing and the cover over it was clearly not substantial, as proven by it freely collapsing when M.D. fell into it. For similar reasons, the lack of a substantial fence or barricade meant that the third regulation was violated, as well.
Any of these three regulations could be a valid basis for a winning claim under the law protecting workers from injuries caused by regulatory violations.
There may be a multitude of different paths for getting you to the endpoint of a successful construction accident lawsuit. For advice about which path makes the most sense for you, talk to the knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our team has many years of handling a full spectrum of construction injury cases and helping clients to achieve positive results. Contact us at 718-424-2222 to find out how we can help you.