If you work construction in New York City or are close to someone who does, you certainly know that this kind of work is often very dangerous. You probably know a worker who has been hurt at a construction job or, maybe, you were that worker.
You may also know that, if you’re hurt while working construction in New York, you may be entitled to sue in court and receive compensation. (And, if you did know that… great!) What you probably don’t know, however, is all the different ways that these laws can protect you and help you get back on your feet after your construction injury. To find out just how much the law can help you, contact a knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorney right away to discuss your situation.
One of these laws is something lawyers know as Section 240(1) of the Labor Law. Many non-lawyers know it as the “Scaffold Law,” but that name can be misleading. Yes, that law does protect workers who were injured while utilizing a scaffold to do their work; however, it goes far beyond just that, as one recent case demonstrated.
In that case, M.C.’s supervisor instructed him to assist in the movement of rebar from one area to another as part of the project’s concrete work. M.C. had to steady loads of rebar with his hands while his foreman drove a bobcat machine that carried the load from place to place. While M.C. was doing that job, a piece of rebar shifted and knocked M.C. to the ground. After M.C.’s fall, the foreman ran over his foot and leg with the bobcat.
M.C. sued and used this “Scaffold Law” as the basis for his lawsuit. The law is very clear that, in addition to allowing workers injured on scaffolds to seek compensation, it also entitles any worker, who was injured due to inadequate protection against an “elevation-related” risk of harm, to pursue a case.
The courts in New York have also made it clear that the elevation required in order to allow an injured worker like M.C. to proceed and succeed doesn’t have to be a large one. The law is also clear that the elevation-related risk doesn’t have to be the direct cause of the worker’s injury. Taking M.C. as an example – he wasn’t injured by falling rebar; he was injured when the bobcat ran over him. Nevertheless, the law applied to M.C.’s situation because “the failure to provide adequate protective devices to secure the load” was an integral part of the accident. If the rebar doesn’t shift, M.C. doesn’t fall, and the bobcat doesn’t run over his leg.
It’s not the distance, it’s the force
Another thing to learn from this case is that the key piece of information about the object that struck you isn’t its elevation off the ground; it’s the force it generated in the distance that it fell. A piece of plywood falling two feet might not be enough, because the force it would generate wouldn’t be that much. A 2,000-pound steel beam, on the other hand, would certainly be able to generate a great deal of force if it fell even just two feet. So, in the latter circumstance, that two-foot fall probably would be enough to give you a viable case.
If you’ve been hurt working at a construction job in New York, you may be entitled to sue and receive compensation. Contact the skilled New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates for the legal knowledge and representation you need. Our team has many years of handling, and winning, construction injury cases.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.