When you’re injured whole on the job working construction, and you sue for much-needed compensation, you may have to take on a motion for summary judgment made by the defense. That is a very important point in the lawsuit process and winning this battle is extremely important, because if the judge grants summary judgment to the defense, then that is the end of your case and you get nothing. But, if you defeat the defense’s motion, that may open many doors. Often, for example, the defense will not even begin making serious settlement offers until they’ve lost a request for summary judgment.
So, what does it take to overcome the defense’s motion for summary judgment? What you need is enough evidence, and strong enough legal arguments, to persuade the court that you have a viable case to take to trial. As long as you have enough to demonstrate that your case is at least plausible, then you get to go forward. For the exact advice you need about what it will take to succeed in your specific case, talk to a knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorney.
Here’s an example of how the process works. F.S. was working as a bricklayer in the Bronx when he was hurt. He sued to collect compensation for his injuries. At one hearing, the bricklayer testified that, as he attempted to move from his motorized scaffold to the roof of the 20-floor building, his leg allegedly became entangled in safety wire, causing him to trip and fall. At his deposition, though, F.S. testified that, in attempting to get from the scaffold to the roof, he put his right leg on a railing and grabbed onto a parapet with his hands. In engaging in that maneuver, he claimed that his right leg became entangled in the wire and caused the accident. At another point in the deposition, the bricklayer seemed to indicate that he fell while trying to get from the scaffold to the top of the parapet wall.
The bricklayer’s many descriptions of the details of the accident were not always consistent. The defense asked the judge to award summary judgment and throw out the bricklayer’s case. The court refused because, it determined that, even with the inconsistencies, the bricklayer had enough evidence and strong enough arguments that, if accepted at trial, could amount to a winning case.
Of course, in any case, there are degrees of success. Defeating a defense motion for summary judgment and proceeding to trial is one type of success. An even greater degree of success is convincing the court to grant summary judgment in your favor. That means that you get to proceed directly to proving the extent of your damages and how much compensation you should receive.
This bricklayer’s case is an example of just how important it is to be sure everything you provide in your case is consistent. F.S. gave testimony that was not always factually consistent. In some versions, the bricklayer was standing on a parapet. In others, he was gripping the parapet with his hands. In others, he had his leg on a railing. In another place, he testified he was standing on the scaffold. These variations in the bricklayer’s story led the court to deny the bricklayer’s motion for summary judgment. If he had been able to give consistent testimony throughout the process, he might have been able to secure the higher degree of success that comes with obtaining summary judgment.
If you are injured at your construction job, be sure you have the legal resources on your side that you need. Reach out to the skilled New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates. Our team has many years of experience handling a wide array of construction injury cases and helping our clients to achieve the results they need.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.