Construction sites can be very dangerous places, with countless risks of serious injuries. These can involve trucks or other large vehicles, falls from scaffolds, or falls into trenches. For one construction worker, he was injured after a run-in with two of these dangers – both a truck and a trench. In this worker’s case, the failures of the site owner were sufficiently established by the injured worker to allow him to obtain a summary judgment in his favor that declared the owner liable for violating laws regarding construction site safety.
The injured plaintiff was an employee of a plumbing company, and his employer was contracted to install new plumbing lines in the construction project. A trench was dug out to allow for the installation of the plumbing. The plaintiff’s job was to direct traffic around the unguarded trench. A truck owned by another contractor hit the plaintiff at roughly 25-30 mph, with the impact throwing the plaintiff into the trench.
The injured worker sued the owner of the site, alleging that its conduct amounted to violations of two New York Labor Law statutes, Sections 240(1) and 241(6), which made the defendant liable for the worker’s injuries.
When you are pursuing a construction accident case like this worker, it is helpful to have detailed evidence that supports your position. In this case, the plaintiff had detailed expert witness evidence that supported his position that the defendant should have done more to provide protection. Courts have ruled in the past that a defendant will not be held legally liable for failing to provide protection if the erection of that protective device would defeat the purpose of the work itself. That, however, was not true in this worker’s situation and therefore wasn’t an impediment to his case. The dirt that was being excavated from the trench was being placed on the east side of the trench, while the plaintiff was directing traffic from a position located on the west side of the trench. That meant that the defendant could have erected a barrier on the west side of the trench that would have protected the plaintiff while, at the same time, not interfering with the excavation work.
This evidence was sufficient to do two essential things in the plaintiff’s case. First, the proof established that the plaintiff’s “work exposed him to an extraordinary gravity-related risk,” (risk of falling) and second, “the absence of any safety device such as a barrier or safety railing around the trench was a violation of” Section 240(1). This meant that he was entitled to a summary judgment in his favor on the issue of the defendant’s liability without having to go to trial.
To learn more about your rights and options if you’ve been injured in a construction accident, contact the New York City construction accident attorneys at the law offices of Jacob Oresky. Our team has spent many years representing workers injured in construction accidents throughout the New York metro area, including in Westchester County and on Long Island.
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