Published on:

Injured Laborer Allowed to Proceed With New York Labor Law Case Arising from Fall in Area with Dust and Debris

In your New York construction accident lawsuit, details matter. In fact, sometimes it is seemingly minute details that can make all of the difference. In the case of one construction laborer hurt when he fell in an area containing dust and broken tiles, the specific details related to the work he was doing at the time of the accident were the key to his case going forward. Although the laborer’s job sometimes included cleaning, he was only responsible for laying a protective cover on a floor when he fell. That meant that dust and broken tiles were not the “means and methods” of his work at the time of the injury, and he could proceed with his case.

The injured worker was employed as a laborer for a general contractor firm. The worker was working on a “gut renovation project” when he was hurt. He had several different duties at the site, including placing protective coverings on surfaces and cleaning. The laborer was attempting to place protective covering over a floor when he slipped or tripped and fell, suffering injuries.

The laborer launched a construction injury lawsuit, alleging that he was hurt as a result of a violation of Section 241(6) of the Labor Law. In his lawsuit, the laborer pointed to the dust and the broken tiles at the job site to explain his fall.

The defense attempted to argue that the substances identified by the laborer could not be the basis of a valid Section 241(6) claim, given the nature of the laborer’s job duties. The law says that a worker cannot pursue a successful Section 241(6) claim if his construction accident arose from the “means and methods” of the work that the plaintiff was doing. If the thing (or things) that cause a worker to fall were integral to the work that worker was doing, the worker cannot win on a Section 241(6) claim. On this job, one of the laborer’s job duties was cleaning and debris removal. This, the defense argued, meant that broken tiles and dust were the means and methods of the laborer’s cleaning-related tasks and integral to his work.

The courts were not persuaded. Both the trial and the appeals courts sided with the injured worker, due to the specific nature of his job duties. The laborer’s work may have entailed cleaning and debris removal, but he was not cleaning up dust or removing broken tiles when he fell and suffered his injuries. At the relevant time, he was responsible only for laying a protective covering over a floor, and dust and broken tiles bore no relation to the completion of that task.

If you’re injured working on a construction site, you need to act promptly and get experienced injury counsel on your side from the beginning. The skilled Queens construction accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have represented many injured construction workers over the years and have the skills and resources to take on your injury case. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Surviving Your Opponent’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Your New York Construction Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 6, 2017

Carpenter Injured Working on New York School Project Secures Favorable Ruling from Appellate Division, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 19, 2017

Contact Information