When you’re injured at your construction job, you may know exactly why it happened. You may have seen that piece of plywood break in half before you fell in that hole, or you may have seen that your scaffold had no guardrail before an accident caused you to fall to the ground. Other times, though, you may not be exactly sure why your accident happened. You may be working on a ladder and it simply collapses, throwing you to the ground, without your ever knowing why it failed.
If you aren’t sure why you suffered your injury, does that mean that, because of that lack of knowledge, you cannot win a lawsuit for compensation for your construction injury? Many times the answer is, “No! It does not mean that!” The truth is that many laws in New York can create a pathway for much needed compensation even if you don’t have knowledge of every detail of your accident. Be sure to consult an experienced New York City construction injury to find out how best to proceed.
As an example, look at the case of J.D., a signalman for a Long Island construction company. The signalman was reportedly hurt when he climbed an extension ladder and the ladder “slipped out from under him,” causing the signalman to fall 20 feet to the ground below.
One thing that is important to understand about ladder accidents like J.D.’s is that, just because you have proof that you suffered your construction injury as a result of a fall from a ladder, that alone isn’t necessarily enough to win you your case. However, it also important to recognize that you don’t need proof regarding every single detail related to the ladder accident, either. If you can show that you suffered your injury as a result of a fall from a ladder, that the ladder wasn’t secured properly and that the failure to secure your ladder substantially contributed to your accident, then that’s all you need for a ruling in your favor.
In J.D.’s case, he had each of those things, which was why the Appellate Division court ruled that he was entitled to summary judgment in his favor. At his deposition, the worker testified that a foreman told him which ladder to use and that he went up that ladder without a spotter. As he climbed, the ladder “shifted and shook before the bottom ‘kicked out,’ causing him to fall,” according to J.D.’s testimony.
That was all J.D. needed. The laws says this proof covered the bases of showing a failure to secure the ladder and that the failure contributed to the worker’s fall and injuries. This is what the law calls a plaintiff’s “prima facie” entitlement to summary judgment. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, you get a summary judgment in your favor unless the defense gives the court “some evidence that the device furnished was adequate and properly placed” and that the worker may have been the sole cause of the accident.
The defense in J.D.’s case didn’t have any of that, so that meant that the signalman was entitled to a summary judgment in his case finding the defendants liable for his injuries.
If you’re hurt (or a loved one is killed) in a construction accident, you may not have all of the answers to important questions like “how did this accident happen?” Just because you don’t have all the blanks filled in, don’t let that stop you from seeking the compensation you deserve. The experienced New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates are here to help. Our team has many years of handling a wide variety of construction injury cases and helping clients through the process to achieve positive results.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.