The Importance of Understanding Your Rights if You’ve Been Hurt as a Construction Day Laborer in New York

Many working in construction and construction-related jobs in New York City are day laborers and many of those day laborers are also undocumented workers. For these individuals, the possibility of an injury on the job can be especially frightening and perilous. If you’ve been hurt on the job, those responsible may attempt to use your undocumented status as a weapon against you. They may try to use the threat of reporting your immigration status to keep you from seeking compensation in court for your injuries, or they may try to convince you that because you are undocumented, you cannot win and receive compensation under the law.

The truth is that, whether you are documented or undocumented, you can pursue and obtain the compensation for the injuries you suffered working your construction job. If you’ve experienced such an injury, then you should not fear and should not hold back from pursuing your rights. You should call a skilled New York City construction injury attorney to find out more about your rights and your options.

In one recent case, D. B.-R. was a day laborer hurt on the job. He worked for a kitchen supply company and his job included many duties related to the renovation of the employer’s warehouse, including assembling shelving units. One of these assembly tasks required him to access those shelving units with a raised platform attached to a forklift. On the day of the laborer’s accident, he fell while the platform was 20 feet off the ground, suffering substantial injuries as a result. He subsequently sued for compensation under New York statutory law (Section 240(1) of the Labor Law).

In this case, the defendants whom the laborer sued did not attack his immigration status; instead, they focused their arguments on the work the laborer was doing. Those duties, they argued, were not among the kind of work that was covered by the Section 240(1) statute. This is another common area of attack by defendants in construction injury cases.

The statute that the laborer used in his lawsuit gives a wide variety of workers the option to seek compensation. The law “protects workers from elevation-related hazards while they are involved in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure.”

Once you as an injured worker have sued, the defense may seek to avoid having to go to trial by asking for a summary judgment in their favor. To win, they have to demonstrate that regardless of the facts you prove, you cannot recover under the law. In a case like this, they have to prove that the work could not possibly qualify as being related to the “the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure.”

While it was true that D. B.-R. had been simply stocking shelves, the court concluded that the defense failed to prove that this task of stocking shelves was wholly unrelated to “the larger renovation project that he had been hired to complete on the premises, including assembly of the shelving structures and other tasks attendant to preparing the warehouse to receive” new merchandise. As a result, the injured laborer was legally entitled to go forward and seek his day in court.

Whenever you’ve been hurt at your construction job, you need to know where to turn for answers upon which you can rely. The knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates are here to help. 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:

The Many Options that May Exist If You’ve Been Hurt at Work in New York, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 23 de Enero de 2019

Proof of a Lack of Fall Protection Allows an Injured Demolition Man to Win His New York Construction Injury Case, Blog de Abogado en la Ciudad de Nueva York, 9 de Julio de 2018