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New York City Construction Worker Wins Liability Portion of His Case Based Upon an Extension Cord Left on Staircase

There are many ways that construction sites can be unsafe. Many times, when one thinks about construction site safety, one might think about safe scaffolding, proper fall protection, appropriate eyewear and head covering, or machinery and equipment that has been properly kept up and maintained. Sometimes, though, a workplace can be made unsafe simply by a failure to pick up debris and small supplies. When that happens, and you are injured as a result, you may have just as strong a case as if you fell from a defective scaffold. To learn more about your ability to recover compensation, talk to a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney right away.

A case from the Bronx provides an example of how this can work. Derek was working at a job that required him to install sheetrock in a stairwell. While working, Derek tripped over an extension cord and fell down the stairs. He suffered substantial injuries and sued.

The injured worker advanced his case using a particular statute, Section 240(1), which is sometimes called the “Scaffold Law.” This law, however, lets injured workers sue in a variety of situations, beyond just circumstances that involve scaffolds. Generally, if you are a worker required to work on an elevated surface that is your only means of access to your work space, and you suffer injuries in a fall, you have the potential to pursue a lawsuit under this statute.

In Derek’s case, these facts allowed him to pursue his case under this statute. The Appellate Division concluded that the staircase on which he was working was an elevated surface. Derek’s job required that he stand on the staircase, and, furthermore, the staircase was the only way he could reach the area that required sheetrock installed. Since Derek had proof of all of these things, that made the staircase in Derek’s situation a “safety device” under New York law.

This safety device determination was very important. New York law requires construction site owners and general contractors to ensure that all workers are provided with adequate safety devices. The simple fact that Derek tripped and fell was, by itself, proof that he did not receive an adequate safety device. Neither the fact that Derek tripped on an extension cord nor the fact that he fell on a “permanent structure of the building” changed any of the other facts, so, in the appeals court’s opinion, he could still seek compensation under Section 240(1).

In fact, under the proof each side presented, Derek was entitled to a summary judgment on the issue of liability. This meant that he could bypass having to go through a full trial to prove that the defendants were at fault; he merely had to prove at trial the extent of his damages.

Section 240(1) of the Labor Law is a very important one for construction workers in New York. It is wide-ranging and gives very strong protections to construction workers in this state. It can potentially help you if you have been injured, and that’s true for a wide variety of injuries. Whether you had construction debris dropped on you from above, you fell from a decrepit ladder, or you tripped on an extension cord on a staircase, you may have a case and be entitled to compensation.

If you have been hurt working at your construction site, consult the skilled Queens construction accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. New York law has very strong protections for construction workers hurt on the job. Our team has been aiding injured construction workers for four decades as they pursue fair compensation for the damages they have 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:

A New York Scaffold Law Case Can Still Be Successful Even if the Object and the Injured Worker Were on the Same Level, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 6, 2018

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

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