Oresky & Associates, PLLC is proud to announce that we have recently won a major construction accident case on behalf of an injured client.
The case, which made its way to the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court, states that the owner of a construction site is absolutely liable for a trench collapse.
The Facts of the Case
Our client was working for an excavation company that was hired to discover the source of a leak on the defendant’s property. Our client and a team of other laborers dug a trench by hand using shovels.
They placed the excavated dirt in a pile at the top of one of the earthen walls.
On the third day of the excavation, our client and the team of laborers reached the water pipes. The trench was approximately 12 feet deep, according to our client.
The excavation company ordered our client to dig around the pipes to expose them. Leaking water from the pipes ran into the trench. Shortly thereafter, a wall of the trench caved in and buried our client.
Our client’s coworkers dug out his head, which allowed him to breathe. Emergency services personnel extricated our client from the trench and provided medical attention.
The Negligence of the Defendant
The excavation company did not employ adequate shoring to secure the trench walls. The trench had plywood panel shoring on each side wall of the trench. However, there were no panels on the front or back portions of the trench.
Oresky and Associates, PLLC sued the excavation company and property owner over our client’s injuries, pain, and suffering. Our attorneys claimed that the defendants were liable for our client’s injuries under Labor Law § 240 (1).
This workplace safety law requires property owners and contractors to erect proper safety devices during construction, demolition, or renovation of the property. It requires the safety devices to be constructed, placed, and maintained to give all workers protection from hazards and injuries.
The Court’s Holding
The Supreme Court of New York granted summary judgment to the defendants, who claimed that Labor Law § 240 (1) did not apply to a trench cave-in and that our client was the sole proximate cause of the accident. Our client appealed.
The Appellate Division reversed the Supreme Court’s decision, finding the defendants failed to provide adequate protection against trench collapse.
It explained that “the statute “imposes absolute liability where the failure to provide [proper] protection is a proximate cause of a worker’s injury.” It found that the trench collapse that injured our client was the type of gravity-related accident to which the statute applied.
The Appellate Court ruled that the defendants were liable for our client’s injuries under Labor Law § 240 (1).
Oresky & Associates, PLLC Can Fight for You After a Construction Accident
Oresky & Associates, PLLC is thrilled to have secured a judgment for our injured client. Additionally, we are proud to have secured a victory for construction workers in New York — property owners and contractors are now on notice that they will be liable for a trench collapse that results due to the parties’ failures to provide proper shoring and safety devices.
If you were injured in a construction accident in Queens, the Bronx, or any other area of New York, contact our law firm for help. Our construction accident lawyers are ready to stand up for your rights and seek the money you deserve for your injuries.
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