You may know that if you suffer an injury as a result of fall while working your construction job, New York law has statutes that could allow you to obtain compensation for the harm you suffered. Cases like ones where the worker was in mid-task and fell from a scaffold are fairly clear-cut. However, what you may not know is that the law extends beyond just those “clear-cut” situations. For example, a New York appeals court recently ruled in favor of a worker who fell from a loading dock while waiting in line to sign in and start his work. All this shows that you should never assume that you have no case; instead, contact a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney to discuss your options.
The worker, W., was a painter who was working on a project at a Manhattan skyscraper when he was injured. His job required him to sign into a security log and get a pass in order to enter the building and do his job. There was just one guard and one security desk, and the sign-in line stretched across a loading dock. The day W. was hurt, the dock was overcrowded and, when he stepped back to make room for another person, he slipped and fell off the dock, falling 4-5 feet to the ground below.
You can imagine finding yourself in a position like W.’s. You’ve suffered a substantial injury, but you had not actually started your daily work yet. You had not even changed into your work uniform yet. You were simply waiting in line to sign in and you fell off a dock while standing in the sign-in line. Chances are that you, as a layperson, are fearful about what recourse you have. Surely you cannot seek compensation based upon the laws governing construction injuries, right?
Wrong! A New York trial court awarded W. summary judgment in his favor and the Appellate Division issued a ruling several months ago that also sided with the painter, declaring that the lower court was correct in deciding that this exact scenario was enough to permit the worker to pursue a claim for damages under Section 240(1) of the Labor Law. (That is the statute that governs construction injuries occurring as a result of “elevation-related” risks of harm.)
The fact that this painter was still in his “street clothes” and still waiting in line to start his work did not mean that he could not seek compensation under the law. W. was “following the rules and regulations” of the property owner. He had no choice but to observe this policy and to wait in line on a crowded loading dock that was 4-5 feet off the ground and had no railings or other safety protections.
Even though W. was not on the floor of the building where his painting duties were located when he was hurt, that did not mean that he was not on the “construction site,” as required by the law. New York courts have made it clear that terms within Section 240(1), like “construction site,” should be defined using a “commonsense approach to the realities of the workplace.” Given the rules mandated by this employer regarding how workers were obligated to enter the building and access the floors where they worked, the “commonsense reality” of this project was that workers waiting on a dock to sign in were situated on the “construction site.” That meant that a fall like W.’s was sufficient to allow a worker to obtain compensation for his injuries.
If you have been hurt at work at your construction job, reach out to the skilled New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates right away. Our team has many years of experience providing our clients with the effective and thoughtful representation their cases need.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.
More Blog Posts:
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
What is a ‘De Facto General Contractor’ and What Can It Mean in Your New York Construction Injury Case?, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 9 de Abril de 2018