A union electrician hired a lawyer after he sustained bodily injuries as a result of the boom lift accident. His accident occurred by the side of the Belt Parkway, while he was in the process of removing telephone poles. His apprentice was operating a boom lift truck for the first time on the day of the accident. The apprentice worked with similar trucks previously. The apprentice drove this vehicle to the site and set the brake and the “power take-off”. This transferred power from the operation of the truck to the boom apparatus. The electrician and his apprentice then positioned the outriggers and downriggers. The workers determined that the vehicle was level, and then entered the basket lift. They were both in the basket lift approximately 50 feet in the air for about two minutes when the truck tipped over, causing them to fall approximately 50 feet to the ground.
The Workers’ Compensation Claim
As a result of this boom lift accident, the electrician’s lawyer filed a workers compensation claim. The electrician injured his lower back, which required extended treatment. This included injections and surgery. He was unable to return to work and filed a Workers’ Compensation claim with his employer’s insurance. Workers’ compensation provides lost wage and medical benefits to workers injured on the job. Immigration status does not preclude anyone from obtaining benefits related to this insurance. Employers pay for this insurance and cannot require the employee to contribute to the cost of compensation. Fault is not considered in a workers’ compensation case. A worker’s carelessness does not decrease the amount that he or she receives. Similarly, an employer’s fault does not increase benefits. However, a worker loses their right to workers’ compensation if the injury results solely from intoxication or from the intent to injure themselves or someone else.
The Boom Lift Accident Lawsuit
This injured worker also filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, asserting it violated the scaffold law. The scaffold law protects construction workers from gravity-related risks including falling from a height. Liability under this section is nondelegable. Construction site owners and general contractors are strictly liable for violations of the scaffold law. The court cannot consider an injured worker’s fault. This makes the scaffold law very plaintiff-friendly.
The plaintiff claimed that the defendants allowed him to work in an unsecured area and failed to provide him with safety nets, safety lines and spotters. The City denied fault for the boom lift accident. It argued that it provided plaintiff with proper equipment. The City also argued that the equipment did not fail. Rather, it tipped over because it was improperly set up and operated by the plaintiff. The City noted that both workers wore their harnesses while working.
The electrician asked the court to decide liability in his favor. The court granted the plaintiff’s request. The judge found that the City violated the scaffold law by failing to protect the electrician from height-related risks. Accordingly, the judge found the defendants liable for the plaintiff’s accident and injuries. The judge remanded the case to trial on damages.
The electrician rejected the low settlement offers extended by the City at a pre-trial mediation, which meant that the case had to go to trial. It was worth the risk. At trial, the plaintiff argued that the injuries he sustained in the accident, rendered him permanently unemployable. He complained that everyday activities with his family are painful and difficult. The electrician also testified that he has problems with sitting and walking for extended periods of time. He stated that, even though the surgery improved the condition of his lumbar spine, he still suffers from pain and has residual limitations. After lengthy deliberations, the jury awarded the plaintiff almost $4,000,000.00 in damages. If you are involved in a boom lift accident, you need an experienced lawyer to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you know has sustained an injury in an accident, whether in a boom lift accident or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact us for immediate legal assistance.