The chances are, if you pursue a construction injury lawsuit, the opposition in your case will be well-represented by legal counsel. That’s why it is so important that you have an experienced New York construction injury attorney on your side. Your opposition may have many techniques for trying to defeat your claim, such as claiming that your injury was actually your fault. With the help of skilled counsel, you can present the necessary proof to overcome these types of assertions.
One example of this dynamic in action was the construction injury case of Deboraj, who was hurt while working in Howard Beach. The property owner hired Jose to do some work filling cracks in the walls of some garages with cement. Jose hired Deboraj to assist with the work. In doing his cement work, Deboraj stood on a straight aluminum ladder that was propped against the side of a garage. The ladder had no rubber feet on it. After climbing up and down the ladder several times without incident, Deboraj fell while ascending the ladder one additional time. The fall caused the worker to suffer serious injuries to his jaw and shoulder.
The injured worker sued the property owner for his injuries, asserting that the property owner was liable under Section 240(1) of the New York Labor Law. That law, sometimes called the Scaffold Law, protects workers injured as a result of “gravity-related” harm that results from the worker not receiving proper safety protection.
In your construction injury case, you have to show that you were insufficiently protected as a result of some item provided to you that was inadequate or was not provided to you at all. In Deboraj’s case, the improper safety protection was the owner’s failure to provide a sufficiently safe and reliable ladder. Specifically, the worker had proof that the ladder suffered from two shortcomings: one, no one secured it to the wall of the garage, and, two, it lacked rubber feet on the bottom.
Once you have proven that you received inadequate protection, your case is not entirely over, though. In many cases, the defendant will seek to defeat you and avoid liability by attempting to prove that something you did (or didn’t do) was the true cause for your accident. If the defendant can successfully persuade the court that your errors caused your injuries, it can win (or can at least defeat your efforts to end the case via summary judgment). That’s what the defense argued in Deboraj’s case, contending that he did a “jump turn” on the ladder step, and that ill-advised maneuver caused the fall, rather than problems with the ladder itself.
When a defendant attempts such a strategy, it is important to confront it in terms of the facts and the law. The court in Deboraj’s case concluded that the property owner, who was the person who testified to seeing the jump turn, could not actually see Deboraj’s body below the waist, so his testimony was merely speculation. When a piece of proposed evidence is speculative, it is too unreliable to qualify as credible proof.
Additionally, even if the worker had performed the alleged jump turn, he was still entitled to a victory on summary judgment. This act, by itself, was not sufficient to take away the worker’s “statutory protection and did not constitute an unforeseeable or extraordinary act” of the kind that would make the worker legally to blame for his own fall.
The diligent Queens ladder accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have many years of experience helping workers who’ve been hurt in construction work. 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:
Succeeding in Your New York Construction Accident Case Even After the Defense Tries to Blame You for Your Accident, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 19, 2017
Appellate Division Allows New York Construction Worker to Proceed with Case Arising from an Improperly Adjusted Scaffold, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 27, 2017