Falling Object Accident

Falling Object Accident

A New York City concrete worker was injured in a falling object accident. The accident occurred at the new 4 World Trade Center.  The concrete worker was working as a form stripper at the construction of the new sixty-four story commercial tower.

The construction worker’s falling object accident occurred when a four-by-four hit him. The four-by-four slid or fell as the worker was attempting to remove it from the ceiling. It struck him in the ribs and injured him.

Construction of the New WTC

The ground lessee of the premises hired a general contractor in 2008 to construct the new tower.  The general contractor then hired a number of subcontractors to perform trade work at this construction site.  This included a concrete subcontractor that employed the concrete worker.  The general contractor hired the concrete subcontractor hired to set and remove forms and pour concrete.  The concrete worker’s job duties include removing the forms off the ceiling and walls after the poured concrete had dried.

The Accident

On the day of his falling object accident, the concrete worker’s supervisor directed his work. He told him to take down four-by-four planks from the ceiling. He was on the 46th floor of the building at the time. The planks were approximately 60- to-70- pound, 20-foot-long wood pieces that served as support for the plywood forms. The four-by-fours were supported by five jacks that stood on the floor. The carpenters who set up the forms would attach the top of each jack to a four-by-four with two nails. To remove the four-by-four, the worker would unlock each jack one at a time. He would lower it approximately one foot. Then he would tilt the five jacks and the four-by-four over. He then leaned the five jacks and four-by-four against something such as a wall. The worker would then proceed to pry out the nails attaching the four-by-four to the jacks with a hammer.

The concrete worker’s accident occurred when he was removing the last of approximately twenty four-by-fours. The worker was able to unlock and lower four of the five jacks supporting this last four-by-four. When he started to lower the fifth jack, the four-by four-detached from the jacks. It fell or slid down the jack and struck him in the rib cage.  The four-by-four fell approximately 13 feet before striking the worker.

The Falling Object Accident Lawsuit

The concrete worker sued the ground lessee of the premises and the general contractor (the defendants).  The general contractor’s site-safety manager testified. He said that ensuring that the four-by-fours are nailed onto the jacks so that when they are being removed the worker could bring it down through a controlled tilting of the jacks would present the safest means of removing the four by fours. He, however, noted that in his many years of experience, he has found that not every four by four ends up being nailed to the jack, and even if they are nailed in, the nails can come loose. Because of this, it common for four by four to fall while workers were stripping the floors.

Who is to Blame for the Falling Object Accident?

Following discovery, the concrete worker asked the judge to decide fault for his falling object accident.  The court found that the concrete worker established the defendants were responsible for his falling object accident. . The concrete worker testified the four-by-four weighed approximately 60 to 70 pounds. The four-by-four was located approximately 13 feet above his head.   The testimony of the concrete worker and the site-safety manager also demonstrates the need for the protective devices because of the obvious risks inherent in concrete worker’s work presented by removing the four by fours from a height.

The concrete worker and the site-safety manager’s testimony also showed that the nails used to attach the four-by-four to the jacks were intended, at least in part, to hold the four-by-four onto the jacks during the set-up and removal of the forms.  As such, the nails served as a securing device and the failure of the nails to support the four-by-four on the jacks proves caused the falling object accident.

The judge disagreed with the defendants. It did not matter that nobody witnessed the concrete worker’s accident. The worker proved the defendants were to blame for his accident. Accordingly, the judge granted the concrete worker’s motion. He sent the case to trial on damages only. If you are involved in a falling object accident or a falling debris accident, call The Platta Law Firm, PLLC today.

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