How a NYC Construction Worker Injured in a Fall on an Icy Surface Won His Construction Accident Case

There are two statutes commonly used to provide compensation to injured construction workers in New York. One helps workers who have been hurt as a result of elevation-related risks of harm, which includes workers falling from heights and objects falling from heights onto workers. The other helps workers who are hurt because someone on their job site who was responsible for ensuring safety did not do so in the manner required by New York’s safety regulations. (New York law imposes a legal obligation on site owners and general contractors to comply with these safety regulations, and that obligation cannot be “handed off” to others.) These laws potentially cover a wide array of situations so, if you’ve been hurt in a construction accident, you should definitely reach out to an experienced New York construction injury attorney.

A recent case from here in New York City that serves as an example. J.R. was an ornamental steelworker serving as a foreman on a project in Manhattan when he was hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on a Q-deck. A Q-deck, for those not familiar with the term, “refers to the corrugated metal deck which served as a floor during the construction process.” As with any other part of the construction process, a Q-deck can become dangerous if it is not inspected and maintained for proper safety.

The foreman’s accident occurred as he stepped off an Alimak elevator and onto a Q-deck. The foreman allegedly stepped on a patch of nearly invisible ice. He slipped and fell, suffering serious injuries as a result.

J.R.’s situation was one that definitely did not involve him falling from a height or experiencing an object falling on him, so his was definitely not a case under that law (Section 240(1)). Instead, he pursued his case under another statute, Section 241(6). Specifically, the worker’s case accused the defendants of violating a regulation covering slipping hazards. That regulation, 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(d), says that employers cannot “permit any employee to use a floor, passageway, walkway, scaffold, platform or other elevated working surface which is in a slippery condition.” That includes ice, snow, water, grease or any other slick foreign substance.

The trial court sided with J.R., granting him what’s known in the law as “summary judgment.” That means that the foreman’s case was strong enough that the court could hold the defense liable without even needing to hold a trial on the issue of liability.

This worker’s success is important for several reasons. First, the court made a ruling that an injured worker does not need to have fallen in a passageway or walkway in order to pursue a Section 241(6) case that relies on 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(d). Even open areas can potentially count, as the Q-deck did for this worker. Second, the success demonstrates that you can win your case even without proof of actual knowledge of the hazard (in this case, ice). The court, in ruling for the injured worker, concluded that the foreman had ample evidence of “constructive notice …within the chain of command” of the defendant to warrant a judgment in the worker’s favor.

If you have been hurt at your construction job, there may be multiple different avenues that can lead you to the financial compensation you need. To find out more, consult the New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates for the representation you need. Our team has many years of experience helping injured workers seek the recovery they deserve.

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

More Blog Posts:

What New York State Safety Regulations Can I Use as the Basis for Pursuing a Construction Injury Lawsuit?, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 1 de Octubre de 2018

Construction Debris Leads to a Successful Outcome For a New York Carpenter Pursuing a Construction Injury Case, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 15 de Agosto de 2018