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How Small Distinctions Can Make Big (and Beneficial) Differences in Your New York Construction Injury Case

In your construction accident case, sometimes it may be the seemingly smallest or most insignificant things that can make big differences in the outcome of your case. That can be especially true when it comes to the analysis of your injury. Sometimes, the difference between being involved in an activity covered by the Scaffold Law and performing an act that is not covered can be very slight distinctions. To make sure that you have the information and evidence you need to obtain compensation for your construction accident injury, retain an experienced New York construction injury attorney to represent you.

One example of the importance of “sweating the small stuff” was the case of Miguel, a welding assistant. Miguel’s job was to create and install a waste disposal container and install it on a property in Brooklyn. He and his co-workers had already moved the container from a flatbed truck to a dolly and were preparing to roll it when the container fell off the dolly and landed on Miguel’s ankle, causing him significant injuries.

The worker launched a lawsuit to recover compensation for his damages under New York’s Labor Law. Specifically, Miguel argued that the accident demonstrated a violation of Section 240(1). The property owner sought to have the judge throw out the worker’s case, asserting that the activities that Miguel was completing were not covered under the Section 240(1) statute, The owner argued that Miguel was just engaged in the work of delivery and installation and that these tasks are not among those listed in the law. The owner’s argument compared Miguel’s work to that of someone doing “cosmetic maintenance or decorative modification.”

Miguel’s was a case in which a small thing was extremely important. In this worker’s case, he wasn’t just involved in the delivery and installation of the container. There were four holes drilled into a concrete pad and bolts welded onto the container, which were then inserted into those four holes.

In previous cases, the courts have ruled against workers because the worker’s job “did not constitute alteration,” meaning that those workers were not engaged in activities covered by the statute, while acknowledging that workers involved in alteration were potentially covered by Section 240(1). In Miguel’s case, the welding of those four bolts amounted to an addition onto the container, and the completion of that addition constituted an alteration. That meant that the work Miguel was doing was one of the tasks for which an injured worker can pursue damages under Section 240(1) of the Labor Law.

Also, contrary to the owner’s arguments, the fact that Miguel was in the process of delivery precisely when the accident happened does not mean he could not succeed. The law requires that courts analyze what was the “general context of the work,” rather than just the exact thing the worker was doing when he was injured.

What does all of this mean for you? It means that your potential for pursuing a successful construction injury case may be greater than you might think. Whether you were welding a column, moving a beam, hanging drywall, or just installing a waste container, you may be entitled to the protection of construction accident laws, depending on the “general context” of your work. Talk to the skilled Queens work injury attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our attorneys have been effectively representing injured workers throughout the New York City area for many years and are here to discuss your case and your options with you. Contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

‘Flexible’ Definition of a Construction Site Allows a New York Worker to Pursue His Construction Injury Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 4, 2018

How Evidence of a Defective Device Can Help You Win Your New York Construction Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Dec. 13, 2017

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