The Platta Law Firm, PLLC is a full-service personal injury law firm and is one of the leading construction accident law firms in New York. In 2011, our firm litigated a case called Wilinski v. 334 E. 92nd Hous. Dev. Fund. Corp., which resulted in a change in the state law which further protects workers who are struck and injured by a falling object.
In addition to construction accident litigation, The Platta Law Firm, PLLC, also provides expert legal services to help those who suffer serious injury in motor vehicle accidents and premises accidents (slip/trip and fall). Our attorneys will help you navigate your personal injury litigation.
Construction workers who are injured need attorneys who are dedicated to the law and are willing to fight for their case. The Platta Law Firm, PLLC will fight for your case. We will not stop until we ensure you receive the compensation you need to support your family and pay for your medical bills. If you are injured in a construction site accident, you need to contact an experience construction accident attorney who can help you navigate the law. The Platta Law Firm, PLLC has a proven track record of getting its clients who were injured in construction site accidents the money they need.
Labor Law §240(1)
In 1885, the New York State Legislature passed Labor Law §240, which has since come to be known as the “Scaffold Law.” This law, which is unique to New York, ensures that construction workers in New York have a greater protection under the law than any other construction workers in the United States.
The law states that construction site owners and their agents (general contractors and other contractors) must protect workers from height-related injuries by providing proper safety equipment.
This law governs accidents involving heights, including falls from ladders, scaffolds, sidewalk bridges, or some other raised platform and injuries caused by objects falling onto workers. The law states that construction site owners and their agents (in essence, general contractors and other contractors) must protect workers from height-related injuries by providing proper safety equipment. These owners and contractors should provide appropriate safety measures and guards to all workers, such as safety harnesses, lanyards, barricades, fencing, netting, and safety railings.
The sad truth is that even with the strong protections that this law puts in place, owners, general contractors, and contractors, will often fail to provide construction workers with proper safety devices to prevent these height-related injuries.
There is absolute liability under Labor Law § 240 in the sense that owners or contractors not actually involved in construction can be held liable regardless of whether they exercise supervision or control over the work. This is unique to New York. In all other states, a worker must prove the owners and general contractors were actively negligent, and that the negligence directly caused the worker’s accident. In essence, the owner or the general contractor needs to be actively involved in the construction work and exercise supervision over the work a worker was doing when he or she was injured.
This does not mean that simply because a worker was involved in a construction site accident, that they will be entitled to an award. Liability on the part of the owners and their agents is contingent on proving a violation of Labor Law §240 and proving that said violation was a proximate cause of the worker’s accident.
While the protections of Labor Law §240 are powerful, the statute and the legal system are difficult to navigate. For these reasons, it is important for workers involved in construction site accidents to contact experienced construction accident attorneys as soon as possible. The attorneys at The Platta Law Firm, PLLC, have years of experience litigating Labor Law §240 claims throughout the state of New York.
In 2011, our firm litigated a case called Wilinski v. 334 E. 92nd Hous. Dev. Fund. Corp., which resulted in a significant change in the law which further protects workers who are struck and injured by a falling object. For decades, the Courts have decided that for a worker to have a case when injured by a falling object, that object had to have fallen a significant distance before striking the worker. With the Wilinski case, our firm got the Courts to change the law so that an object does not need to fall from significant object for that worker to be able to sue under Labor Law §240. Instead, an object can be on the same level as the worker when it falls or tips, as long as the injuries are caused by the force of gravity.
This decision marked a major victory for construction workers all over the state. Construction workers who in the past would have been denied the compensation for their injuries are now able to get the money they need to pay their medical bills and support their families. It also shows how committed The Platta Law Firm, PLLC is to fighting for its clients. In the Wilinski case, our firm would not give up the fight, and took the case to the state’s highest court. Our perseverance and legal expertise ended up winning the day for both our client and for construction workers all across the state.
Labor Law §241(6)
Labor Law §241(6) generally applies to work that can be characterized as a part of a construction, demolition, or excavation project. The law requires that all areas where construction, excavation or demolition work is be performed shall be “so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.”
Though the statute does not specifically state this, the Courts have interpreted Labor Law §241 to requires that a specific safety rule be violated for liability to attach. Thus, Labor Law §241(6) imposes liability on an owner or general contractor, where there is a violation of a specific safety rule of the Industrial Code.
In addition to general safety rules, the Industrial Code has rules protecting workers performing a wide breadth of work, including construction operations, demolition operations, excavation operations, scaffolding, material hoisting, personnel hoists, cranes and derricks, power-operated equipment, exhaust gases, and use of explosives. What this means is to prove a case based on Labor Law 241(6), a worker needs to first prove that a specific Industrial Code section applies to the circumstances of his or her accident. Once the worker proves the Industrial Code section is applicable, the worker must prove the rule was violated and that the violation was the cause of his or her accident and injuries.
Because Labor Law §241(6) applies where there is a violation of a specific section of the Industrial Code, and because the Industrial Code is broad, lawsuits under Labor Law §241(6) can be brought in a wide range of construction accidents. These are just a few of the types of construction accidents in which lawsuit pursuant to Labor Law §241(6) can be brought:
- Trips and falls over debris or construction materials
- Trips and falls on ramps/runways
- Injuries from power tools
- Injuries resulting from hand or mechanical demolition
- Injuries related to trenches
- Injuries from ladders or scaffolds
- Injuries from hoists
- Injuries from backhoes, lift/fork trucks, and other power equipment
- Injuries from electrical shocks
- Burn related injuries
- Injuries related to vehicular traffic on jobsites
- Injuries related to hand-propelled vehicles
- Injuries related to concrete work
- Injuries related to shafts
- Injuries related to explosives
While the protections of Labor Law §241(6) are powerful, the statute and the legal system are difficult to navigate. For these reasons, it is important for workers involved in construction site accidents to contact experienced construction accident attorneys as soon as possible. The attorneys at The Platta Law Firm, PLLC, have years of experience litigating Labor Law §241(6) claims throughout the state of New York.
Labor Law §200
Labor Law §200 as we now know it, is a codification of common law negligence, so it applies when a property owner or contractor is actively negligent and their negligence is the cause of a worker’s accident and injuries. While, unlike Labor Law §240(1) and 241(6), Labor Law §200 is not limited to “construction sites” or “construction work” and applies to all New York workplaces, almost all Labor Law §200 cases arise from construction site accidents.
Labor Law §200 cases can be separated into two categories:
- Where the accident is caused by the means or manner in which the owner or contractor chooses to perform the work, or
- Where the accident is caused by a dangerous condition
For accidents in the first category, workers must prove the accident was caused by the means or manner in which the owner or contractor performs the work, by proving that the owner or contractor exercised supervisory control over the work that caused the injury. Essentially, the owner or contractor must be directing the method or manner of how the work is performed or controlling the means of the work (the tools or instruments used in performing the work).
For accidents in the second category, workers must show that the accident was the caused by a dangerous condition, and that the owner or contractor had notice of the condition. There are two types of notice: actual notice and constructive notice. For an owner or contractor to have actual notice of a dangerous condition, they must have created the condition. For an owner or contractor to have constructive notice, a worker must show that the owner or contractor knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed.
A requirement for imposing liability upon an owner or general contractor is that they must exercise control over the construction site. Essentially, the owner or the general contractor must be controlling the activity that caused plaintiff’s injury.
In addition, an owner and a general contractor may be in violation its duty under Labor Law §200 if it exercises control over a subcontractor’s plans, materials, or tools. However, for the most part, an owner and general contractor’s duty to provide a safe place to work is not violated when a worker’s injury is caused from a defect in the a subcontractor’s work.
Unlike Labor Law §§240 and 241(6), claims under Labor §200 are based on ordinary negligence. Because of that, the defenses of comparative fault and assumption of risk are applicable. That means the liability of owners and general contractors can be reduced if a jury determines that a worker is partially at fault for his or her accident and injuries.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
While motor vehicle accidents may seem routine, they often involve complex legal issues. In addition, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to claim compensation under New York’s no fault insurance law. You can be entitled to No-Fault benefits even if your vehicle was the cause of the accident.
In New York, every insured automobile carries at least $50,000 in No-Fault coverage for each occupant of the vehicle. Generally, if you are injured in an automobile accident, you can receive payments for lost wages at a rate of 80% of your gross wages, up to $2,000 a month. You can also receive payment for medical treatment received.
If you sustain serious injuries in an automobile accident, and the other vehicle was at fault, you can file a lawsuit to collect damages in excess of the No-Fault insurance. When filing a lawsuit for a motor vehicle accident in New York, plaintiffs are required to show they sustained a “serious injury” as defined by Insurance Law §5102. If a court rules that a plaintiff did not sustain a “serious injury,” his or her case will be dismissed. Unfortunately, sometimes No-Fault Insurance cuts off coverage and that can have an effect on a plaintiff’s personal injury claim, so it is important to understand what to do if you lose your No-Fault benefits.
New York’s No-Fault Insurance laws have been a great help to people involved in automobile accidents, but they have also complicated the legal issues around bringing a personal injury case for that accident. It is important to have an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney on your side to help you navigate these difficult legal issues so you can recover the money you deserve.