A New York construction worker secured a victory in his construction accident case after the Appellate Division upheld a lower court’s decision in his favor. The defense in the case attempted to portray the accident as one in which the injured worker was to blame, but the courts did not accept these arguments because of the strength of the plaintiff’s case. The proof in this case showed that the plaintiff had not choice but to use a make shift ramp, and that the options argued by the defense were not usable.
The construction worker worked at and near the top of a building. His job called for him to move from the top of the building to a scaffold that was five feet below the top of the building. To facilitate this transition, the worker fashioned a ramp from some planks available to him. The worker slipped and fell when his foot hit grease on a plank.
The injury that resulted from the fall led the worker to sue, alleging a claim under the “Scaffold Law” (Section 240(1) of the Labor Law). In cases like these, there are several ways that defendants might attempt to win and avoid liability. One scenario when the law says there is no liability is when the worker’s injuries were totally the result of his own negligence. In legal terminology, these are cases that the injured worker loses because he “was the sole proximate cause of his accident.”
That was the approach this defendant used. The defendant tried to second-guess the worker’s method for getting from the roof to the scaffold, saying that he caused his own accident by not using an alternative, better method for getting down to the scaffold. The courts were not persuaded. The worker prevailed because he had given the court evidence that these allegedly superior options were not truly options at all for him. The defense argued that the worker should have used a ramp already available, but the worker’s proof showed that the ramp in question was too short to reach the scaffold. As for the defendant’s other theory, which was that the worker should have built a proper ramp, the evidence showed that the worker did not have time to do so because his job required him to meet a “crane that was approaching to assist in dismantling the scaffold,” and that time limitation precluded building a new ramp.
If you’re injured while working in construction, there will be those who seek to deny you compensation for your injuries. They will seek to second-guess you, blame you, and say that you caused your own harm. You need skilled counsel to work on your behalf, fight back, and get your side of the case on the record in court. Our team of New York City scaffolding accident attorneys at the law offices of Jacob Oresky has represented a wide array of construction workers in cases throughout the New York City metro area, including in Westchester County and on Long Island. Our services involve giving our clients the diligent and skillful representation they need along with the personalized service they deserve.
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