How a New York Worker Was Allowed to Proceed With His ‘Scaffold Law’ Case Despite His Having Detached His Safety Lanyard

New York’s Labor Law has some specific statutes designed to protect construction workers who are hurt on the job, and to give them an avenue to obtain much-needed compensation from those responsible for those injuries. If you are hurt on the job and you sue, you will very likely face several obstacles. The entities you sue may claim that the statutes don’t cover you or your injury. They may claim that you were the sole cause of your accident, meaning that you should not receive payment. Achieving a successful result means being prepared for these and other defense arguments. Enhance your chances of success by obtaining the service of an experienced New York City construction injury attorney. .

The workplace accident case of E.M. was an example of one of those type of cases. E.M.’s injuries were the result of a scaffolding accident. The worker was taking down a bridge scaffolding sheet that was attached to underlying support cables. The sheet tipped and, when it did, it caused E.M. to fall some 25-30 feet, where he landed on a steel beam. E.M. had a lanyard but it was detached at the time of the fall.

E.M. sued both his employer and the property owner of site where he was hurt. The Appellate Division recently issued a ruling that said that E.M. was entitled to go forward with his Section 240(1) case against the employer and the property owner. Section 240(1) of the New York Labor Law, sometimes called the “Scaffold Law,” says that workers can recover compensation if they are hurt as a result of improper safety protections and harm that resulted from an “elevation-related” risk of injury.

The ruling in E.M.’s case is a reminder that, as the Appellate Division court said in its opinion, Section 240(1) of the Labor Law “is to be construed as liberally as may be for the accomplishment of the purpose for which it was” created, which is “the protection of workers by placing the ultimate responsibility for safety practices at building construction sites on the owner and general contractor.”

This means that your Section 240(1) claims will generally be given the greatest possible opportunity to be seen as valid by the court and allowed to proceed. Preparing and presenting a successful case in the event of an injury suffered during the assembly or dismantling of a scaffold or elevated platform can potentially be fairly straightforward. New York courts have clearly stated that a Section 240(1) violation occurs if a scaffold or elevated platform was, in and of itself, inadequate to protect the worker from the sort of elevation-related risks of harm one might expect to encounter while putting together or taking down the scaffold or platform, or if additional protection devices were provided but were also shown to be inadequate.

In many cases, a contractor or a property owner may try to escape liability, and paying compensation, by arguing that you, as the worker, were the sole cause of your accident. In E.M.’s case, he unhooked his safety lanyard during the removal of the sheet and the lanyard was disconnected when he fell.

That still did not make him the sole cause of his accident, however. E.M. had evidence that his lanyard was too short and that he was forced to unhook it to reach all of the clips that anchored in place the scaffolding sheet he was removing. That meant that the six-foot lanyard E.M. received was inadequate. Putting all that together meant that E.M. received an inadequate scaffold and an inadequate additional safety device (the six-foot lanyard,) which meant that he had a viable Section 240(1) claim.

If you’re hurt at your construction job in New York, you need the right legal counsel to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the skilled New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our team has many years of providing essential advice and advocacy to injured workers.

Contact us at 718-424-2222 to find out how we can help you.

More Blog Posts:

Proof of a Lack of Fall Protection Allows an Injured Demolition Man to Win His New York Construction Injury Case, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 9 de Julio de 2018

New York City Building Employee Wins Injury Case Due to Defective Ladder, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 10 de Abril de 2018


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