In New York, in order to obtain compensation in a lawsuit filed under the Scaffold Law, your injury must have been gravity-related. Fortunately for injured workers, New York courts over the years have established a relatively broad definition of gravity-related. An object does not necessarily have to have fallen down or have swung upward in order for an accident to be gravity-related. The Court of Appeals has made it clear that, just because a worker and the object that injured him were on the same level, that does not automatically mean that the accident was not gravity-related. There are many different ways to succeed in a Scaffold Law case. To learn more about your options, talk to a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney.
An example of a viable case that lacked a substantial elevation differential was the injury suffered by a worker named Jeff. Jeff was part of a crew hoisting a 1,000-pound steel beam. Specifically, Jeff was responsible for supervising the crew that was doing the actual hoisting, which was controlled by a mechanical switch. Jeff was reviewing blueprints when a crew member hit the hoist button prematurely, which sent the beam swinging toward Jeff. It hit him and resulted in Jeff suffering a torn biceps tendon.
The injured worker sued to recover compensation for the harm he suffered in the accident. His case asserted that he was entitled to compensation because the defendants violated Section 240(1) of the Labor Law. That statute, sometimes known as the “Scaffold Law,” aims to protect construction workers from harm resulting from elevation-related risks of harm.
The defendants tried to advance the argument that, since the beam was moving laterally, rather than up and down, the accident could not qualify as gravity-related. The court rejected this argument, stating that the statute does not require that a height differential exist between the worker and the object injuring him in order for a Section 240(1) claim to exist.
When you seek to obtain compensation for your construction injuries, your opponent will likely point the court to previous cases in which the worker was denied recovery in circumstances that were (according to your opponent) identical or very similar to your facts. When that happens, it is important to be in a position to debunk these arguments. The defendants in Jeff’s case offered two cases in which the worker lost, but, contrary to the defense arguments, the scenarios were not the same as Jeff’s. One of those workers got hurt unloading beams off a truck. The other suffered injuries when he stepped off a truck and caught his foot in his safety harness. Those types of harms were not the sort of thing that Section 240(1) was designed to prevent. A 1,000-pound beam swinging and hitting a worker, injuring him, however, was exactly within the scope of the law, so Jeff was entitled to summary judgment in his favor.
If you have suffered an injury working at a construction job, reach out to the experienced Queens construction accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our team has been aiding injured construction workers in pursuing a fair and full recovery for the damages they suffered. To put our experience to work for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. Contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
New York Masonry Worker Wins His Construction Injury Case After a Tire Rim Falls on His Head, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 30, 2018
New York Construction Worker Wins Summary Judgment for Injuries Suffered as a Result of Falling Transformer, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 18, 2017