A review of construction accident statistics will show a lot of fall accidents. New York has a law to protect workers involved fall accidents. Labor Law §240 is commonly known as the “Scaffold Law.” This law gives greater protection under the law to construction workers in New York than construction workers in other 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.
Construction statistics can tell you the number of fall accident. They do not necessarily inform you of the severity of some of these accidents. The nature of construction work often means that construction site accidents can cause severe personal injuries. Because of this, personal injury lawsuits arising from construction site accidents can be result in large verdicts or settlements. What follows are some recent Labor Law §240(1) cases that have settled to great results.
A Plumber’s Construction Fall
The first construction fall statistics case involved a plumber’s assistant who was working on a low-income housing renovation project when he was caused to fall through temporary flooring approximately 15 feet and sustained injuries. The plaintiff contended that the floor was inadequately installed and secured and that caused it to collapse. He suffered knee injuries that required five surgeries and an anal abscess that required a fistulectomy.
Following litigation, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability. The court granted his motion in his construction fall case. The plaintiff contended that he sustained severe knee injuries, including internal derangement and an ACL rupture. The plaintiff claimed the knee surgery required a total of five surgeries. This included two open knee surgeries. He continues to suffer significant pain and a moderate limp. The plaintiff also maintained that he suffered an anal abscess and required a fistulectomy, which resolved the condition. The defendants argued that the plaintiff was an undocumented alien. Thus he could not provide proof of his income history nor substantiate a future lost wages claim. These are factors that also do not appear in construction fall statistics. The case settled before trial for $1,500,000.
A Shelving Construction Fall
In another case involving a construction fall, the plaintiff was participating in the renovation of a warehouse in Queens. The plaintiff was on a scissor lift with instructions to remove pipes that ran along the warehouse ceiling. The scissor lift would not reach the height required to perform the work. The plaintiff had to scale shelving and walk across the top of the shelving to walk across the top level to access the pipes. While walking across the shelving, the plaintiff fell through an area where unbeknownst to him the shelving was missing and covered with cardboard.
The plaintiff fell 10 to 15 feet, and sustained severe injuries including rib fractures, herniated and bulging discs, a torn shoulder tendon and a torn hop tendon. These injuries will not be seen in the construction fall statistics. He underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery to fix his spine, and surgeries to both his shoulder and hip.
The plaintiff alleged the defendants violated Labor Law §240(1), 241(6) and 200 by failing to provide proper fall protection. The defendants claimed the medical records presented conflicting versions of the events surrounding plaintiff’s accident, creating a question of as to plaintiff’s credibility. The plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Labor Law §240(1). The court granted his motion. The case settled prior to trial for $4,650,000.
Construction work is dangerous work and a construction site accident often involves catastrophic injuries. For that reason, it is important that those injured in construction site accidents retain experienced construction accident attorneys. You need a personal injury attorney that does not just know the construction fall statistics, but who will help them navigate the law and secure them the compensation they need. Contact us directly if you or someone you know has suffered a construction fall accident.