New York has certain laws that protect construction workers. These laws do more, though, than just protect the men and women working with heavy equipment. As long as you are engaged in certain activities, you may be able to use these laws to your advantage in your injury case too, even if you are not a “hard hat” worker. An experienced New York construction accident attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed with your case and pursue the compensation you deserve.
The case of Juan from Manhattan was an example of how this can work for you as an injured worker. Juan was a porter who worked at a co-operative building in the Upper East Side in June 2013. One day, the building supervisor asked Juan to paint the hot water pipes in the building’s basement. The job required a ladder because the pipes were 10-11 feet off the ground. Juan grabbed an aluminum A-frame ladder. The ladder was missing the stabilizer bar on the left side and one of its rubber feet. These flaws caused the ladder to move front to back and side to side.
Juan used the imperfect ladder because, by the time he went to the shop room to start the painting work, all of the other ladders were already in use. Juan told the supervisor that the last remaining ladder was a broken one, but the supervisor told him “it’s fine.” Juan ascended the ladder holding a paint roller. The ladder shifted, and the porter fell to the ground, suffering injuries.
Juan may not necessarily have thought of himself as a construction worker, but the laws New York enacted to protect workers cover a variety of activities, meaning that you might be entitled to bring a lawsuit under these statutes even if yours was not something that you’d view as a “construction accident,” as long as you were engaged in one of the activities listed in the statute. These things include erecting, demolishing, repairing, altering, painting, and cleaning, among other things.
Any worker, including one like Juan, is legally entitled to receive certain safety protections if he’s doing certain jobs like painting. This includes being provided with equipment that is maintained in a reasonably safe condition and being provided with sufficient safety gear to protect the worker from injuries resulting from “gravity-related” risks. Juan had proof that he was forced to use a defective ladder and was given no safety protection to guard against falling off the ladder.
There are certain things that the defense may try to claim in order to defeat your case and avoid paying you compensation. One common strategy is to argue that you were the sole reason for your own accident. The defense made that argument in Juan’s case, asserting that there were other, better ladders available. Once you’ve given the court enough proof to warrant the judge awarding you a summary judgment in your favor, the defense has the task of rebutting one or more parts of your evidence. The building supervisor’s testimony that there were other ladders was not enough because it did not disprove Juan’s claim that all of those other ladders were in use at the time of his accident.
If you’ve been hurt doing painting work, repair work, or alteration work, you may be entitled to compensation through a claim under the New York Labor Law. To find out how to pursue your case, talk to the knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our team has spent many years helping injured workers get the recovery they need and to which the law says they are entitled.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.