With a construction accident case, as with many types of injury cases, it is important to understand the laws and all of the ways that you can pursue a successful outcome. By retaining a knowledgeable New York construction accident attorney, identifying what’s available to you, and utilizing all of your options, you can give yourself a better chance of recovery. For one electrician, although he was not successful in advancing his “falling worker” argument, he nevertheless succeeded because he also had made a separate argument based upon a falling object that struck him.
The injured worker in this case was a journeyman electrician whose employer was doing the electrical renovation of the 32nd floor of a building. The electrician’s specific job was to finish the installation of a transformer that had been partially installed on the previous day. The transformer was inside a closet and was suspended from the ceiling. As the electrician completed his work, the transformer shifted and struck the man, knocking him from the ladder upon which he was standing. The electrician also claimed that he fell and that the fall caused him to hit his head on the ground, leaving him unconscious.
The electrician sued for his injuries, alleging that he was entitled to recover damages under Section 240(1) of the Labor Law. He also asked the judge for summary judgment in his favor on the issue of liability. The judge concluded that he was entitled to the summary judgment he sought. The construction worker protections that are contained in Section 240(1) of the Labor Law apply both to falling worker cases and to falling object cases. The courts have made it clear that a valid falling object case involves a situation in which the object’s fall “is related to ‘a significant risk inherent in … the relative elevation … at which materials or loads must be positioned or secured.” In other words, your falling object action under Section 240(1) must lay out a case, not only that the object fell and hit you, but also that it “fell, while being hoisted or secured, because of the absence or inadequacy of a safety device” required by the law.
A falling worker case involves a situation in which the worker fell from a height due to the absence of proper fall protection safety measures. In this electrician’s case, his arguments asserted that he incurred both a falling object injury and a falling worker injury. The electrician claimed that his injuries resulted from both a transformer that was inadequately secured to the ceiling and the insufficient fall protection he was given while working up the ladder.
This approach is often a strategically wise one. It is normally in your best interest to advance as many viable, good-faith arguments as you can. The outcome in this electrician’s case was a good example. The trial judge concluded that the electrician was not entitled to summary judgment on his Section 240(1) claim as a falling worker. The defense had proof that raised an arguable factual dispute about whether the electrician fell from the ladder and whether he hit his head on the ground.
Despite making that determination, the trial judge still granted the electrician’s summary judgment motion regarding liability. The electrician had proof that the transformer came free and hit him in the face. The electrician’s proof established that the accident occurred because the transformer wasn’t properly secured. This was enough to qualify for summary judgment as a falling object case.
There can be many different approaches to seeking damages in your construction accident case. A skilled construction injury attorney can help you identify a strategic way forward. For reliable advice and representation, contact the Queens ladder accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our team has been helping injured workers for many years. 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:
Advancing a New York Construction Injury Case Even if the Worker Potentially Made Some Mistakes, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 3, 2017
New York Appellate Division Upholds Ruling for Construction Worker in Madison Square Garden Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 19, 2017