Once you have been injured in a construction accident and have made the helpful and important decision to pursue your case in court, you’ll likely face a stiff defense by the other side. One way that defendants can avoid liability in construction accident cases is if they persuade the trial judge that you made mistakes and that your errors were the “sole proximate cause” of the injuries you suffered. Countering this type of defense is just one of many areas in which you need knowledgeable New York construction injury attorneys working for you.
An case from the Appellate Division, First Department originating in the Bronx offers an example of how this defense, and overcoming it, can happen. The plaintiff in the case, Franklin, was a construction worker injured by a plank that fell off a scaffold and struck him. In general, when you are a construction worker and you are hurt by a falling object, this may present a viable claim under Section 240(1) of the New York Labor Law. That subsection creates potential recovery for injured workers through liability for project owners and general contractors when workers are harmed by gravity-related risks from which the owner or contractor did not provide adequate protection. Clearly, a plank falling off a scaffold and striking a worker would be something within the realm of a “gravity-related risk.”
There are situations, though, in which you can still lose your case and get no compensation in a gravity-related injury case. One of these circumstances is when you, as the worker, did something to cause your own injury. Generally, there are two of these situations. One is the “recalcitrant worker,” which is a scenario in which a worker knowingly refused to use the safety protections that were made available to him. There was no allegation in Franklin’s case that he refused to use proper safety equipment.