If you’ve been hurt at your New York City construction job due to inadequate safety protections, you are probably wondering what you should do. Should I file a lawsuit? If so, who is liable and how do I go about proving that they owe me compensation? For answers to these and other essential questions, be sure you talk to an experienced New York City construction injury attorney and get the answers you need.
Regarding the “should I sue” question, the answer is very possibly “yes.” New York has strong laws designed to protect construction workers (and workers doing additional jobs that are construction-related) from injuries caused by insufficient worker safeguards. Regarding the entities whom you should sue, it varies. New York law imposes strong obligations on site owners and general contractors when it comes to making sure workers are safe. However, they aren’t the only ones who may owe you compensation. If you can prove that another entity was an “agent” of either the site owner or the general contractor, then they may be, along with the owner and/or general contractor, liable for your damages.
E.L.’s case is a good illustration of how to go about proving that an entity is an “agent” of an owner or general contractor. E.L. was working as an articulating lift operator in Manhattan when the lift sped up, then skidded and crashed into a curb, which cause the worker “to be ‘ricocheted’” inside the lift basket like a pinball in an arcade game.
One of the entities that E.L. sued was T.C.C. That company was neither the owner of the job site (which actually belonged to the Port Authority) nor the designated general contractor on the job. That meant that, if E.L. was to win a judgment and compensation against that company, he had to prove that the company was an agent of the owner or the job’s general contractor.
Performing the right pre-trial steps to generate the evidence you need
Doing that requires engaging in the right steps during what civil trial law calls “pre-trial discovery.” During this process, you can ask the other side to answer written questions, disclose certain documents or make a representative available for a deposition (among other things.) In E.L.’s case, he obtained several documents, including the contracts that T.C.C. had before starting the job.
Those documents said that T.C.C. was to serve as the construction manager and agreed “to coordinate the work” at the site and also to assume “a broad responsibility for ‘overall job site safety,’ including the implementation of the Port Authority’s Safety Health and Environmental Program, as well as measures to ensure worker safety.”
That list of responsibilities was enough to demonstrate that the construction manager “controlled” the activity of workers like E.L., which is enough under New York law to show that it was an agent. As an agent, it had the same legal obligations as owners and general contractors when it came to protecting workers from elevation-related risks of harm.
After that, the rest of his case seamlessly fell into place. As the trial court found (and the Appellate Division upheld,) “the articulating lift was a safety device and … its failure to protect him from the elevation-related risk that he faced was the proximate cause of his injury.” That was all the worker needed to be entitled to a judgment in his favor.
When you are hurt at your construction job, pursuing a lawsuit in court may be necessary. When it comes to succeeding in your construction injury lawsuit, that journey consists of countless essential steps, many of which occur before your trial ever starts. For the thorough and effective legal advocacy you need, talk to the knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our attorneys have been helping workers injured in construction accidents to get the compensation they deserve for many years, and are ready to get to work for you.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 today.