RECOVERING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR INJURED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
Martin Druyan Esq.
Martin Druyan Esq. and Associates Attorneys
450 7th Ave
NY NY 10123 #3700 Long Island, Florida.
Millions recovered in Construction Accidents
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Injured construction worker New York State Labor Law claims require a thorough knowledge of the statutes, the Industrial Code Rules, and the precedent caselaw interpreting these statutes.
Defendants will defend and litigate these claims vigorously and aggressively, as money damages for a union construction worker who cannot work any longer as the result of a construction accident can easily be in the millions of dollars; with the Plaintiff’s lost earnings alone totaling $100,000. yearly, multiplied over 10-30 years, plus medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
This are excellent cases for Plaintiff Injury Attorneys to recover significant money damages and lucrative attorney fees.
My office has recovered millions of dollars in attorney fees in these cases.
An injured Plaintiffs success often depends on how claims are presented consistent with the statutory and precedential framework.
Simply citing cases that favor the Plaintiff, while discussing case facts does not ensure Plaintiff a successful recovery in his action. This is illustrated by reading court decisions reaching different results on the same fact pattern.
Injured Plaintiffs pursuing Labor Law sect 240 (1) , 240 (6) 200 claims do best in litigation when Plaintiffs educate the Court on the underlying purpose of Labor Law statutes and present facts that demonstrating that the case is consistent with the core purpose of the Labor Law statutes: holding owners, contractors, for gravity and safety related violations that injure construction and other workers.
These section of the NYS Labor Law are all part of a statutory program to ensure that workers who are employed in the building construction field are provided a safe place to work.
These Labor Laws have been amended and expanded in their scope many times over the years: with the same purpose: TO PLACE WORKER SAFE ABOVE ALL OTHER CONCERNS.
Section 200 of the Labor Law is a codification of common law standards of care as they apply to safe workplace practices.
Three other statutes 240, 2401 and 241 a alter the common law by creating a non delegable duty upon all contractors, owners and their agents, requiring them to provide various safety devices, and to follow specific standards for the benefit of workers.
Gravity is the occupational danger and hazard that the legislature intended Sect. 240 to protect against:
the ultra hazardous conditions created by exposure to AN ELEVATION DIFFERENTIAL THAT EXISTS AT A CONSTRUCTION SITE.
The injury must be the direct result of GRAVITY, A GARAVITY RELATED INJURY: SPECIAL HAZARDS ..such as falling from a height, or being struck by a fallen object, that was improperly hoisted, inadequately secured.
The dangerous effects of gravity is not confined to workers falling from one level to another, off ladders, but also include
Objects which are risk of falling from an elevated position striking a worker located at some distance below; the case law has found liability for both falling workers and falling objects..
These Labor Law statutes are to be liberally construed;
but the extraordinary protections of Labor Law 240 (1) is contingent upon a hazard contemplated by Sect. 240 (1) and the failure to use or the inadequacy of a safety device of the kind enumerated in the statute; it will apply only where the plaintiff can show that the object which fell causing the injury, was an object which was being hoisted, or secured, and fell because of the absence or inadequacy of a safety device of the kind enumerated in the statute.
THE TYPE OF WORK COVERED: all forms of work for hire, Article 10 of the Labor Law in which 240, 241, and 241-a are contained, is LIMITED TO WORK IN THE NATURE OF BUILDING CONTRUCTION, DEMOLITION AND REPAIR WORK,
Who is liable to the Injured Plaintiff ?
OWNERS ARE LIABLE, they will pay the substantial money damages.
INCLUDING ALL THOSE WHO HAVE ANY IDICIA OF OSNERSHIP IN THE PROPERTY, BY LEASE, FEE TITLE, OR OTHER INSTRUMENT, THAT CONVEYS THE RIGHT TO CONTROL THE PROPERTY, OR CONTROL THOSE WORK ACTIVITIES THAT ARE COVRED BY THE STATUTE.
EXCLUDED ARE FACTORY WORKERS, HOSPITAL EMPLOYEESOR THOSE EMPLOYED INSERVICE INDUSTRIES.
The statute applies when activities are performed on buildings, , but also when activities are performed on structures other than buildings.
THE PARTIES OBLIGATED TO COMPLY WITH THE DUTY IMPOSED BY SECT 240 (1)
All contractors and owners and their agents shall furnish or erect or cause to be erected for the performance of such labor scaffolding hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, ropes....other devices which shall so be constructed ... placed and operated to give proper protection to a person so employed. Liberally construed other devices includes safety harnesses, lanyards, man lift , all other devices, as well as elevated work surfaces, temporary or permanent, such as roof bridge decking, decking, water tower, cat walking, doors, elevators and the like.
Note that liability is imposed upon the contractors, owners, agents, whether they controlled, directed or supervised the worksite of the workers activities.
In Robinson v East Medical Center 6 NY 3rd 550 (2006) summary judgment on liability was granted to Plaintiff who was injured while performing plumbing work at a height of 12 feet above the floor, as the foreman failed to deliver the 8 foot ladder and therefore the Plaintiff was required to use a 6 foot stepladder, which was in adequate in height to provide proper protection.
Section 240 (2) imposes the duty that all scaffolding or staging more than 20 feet above the ground should have suitable safety rails at least 34 inches above the floor of the scaffolding.
Since 200 merely codifies common law standards of negligence, this article will focus on 240, 241 and 241-a of the Labor Law.
These statutes contain identical phrases, and are read and construed together as forming part of the same statute Knela v Neiger 85 NY2 333, ( 1995).
The applicable topics of the Labor Law apply to all 3 of these statutes: the topics are looked at in a collective fashion in this article.
Worker safety is the priority above all other concerns.
The worker cannot sue his employer, workers compensation still is the statutory remedy against the employer.
1 b Coverage is found in N.Y. Workers Compensation Policies providing generous liability insurance to the employer
THE EMPLOYER AS A THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT; IMPORTANT DEEP POCKET FOR PLAINTIFF
Sect. 11 of the Workers Compensation Law provides that the employer may be brought into the Plaintiff’s action for money damages as a third party defendant, if the employee has sustained a grave injury: defined in part as : “death, permanent and total loss of use or amputation of the arm, leg, hand or foot, loss of multiple fingers, loss of multiple toes, etc...severe facial disfigurement...or an acquired injury to the brain resulting in total disability.........et al “
PROPERTY OWNERS LIABILITY INCLUDE ALL THOSE WHO ANY INDICIA OF OWNERSHIP IN THE PROPERTY: WITH LIABILITY FOR ANY BREACH OF THE STATUTE.
There are exemptions from liability for single/double family homes, and professionals as professional engineers, architects, landscape architects, see 240 (9).
241 (6) SAFE PLACE TO WORK STATUTE, THE CATCH ALL PROVISION OF THE LABOR LAW.
It refers to the Commissioner of Labor to make rules that govern the activities of construction, excavation and demolition work.
Most are found in 12 N.Y.C.R.R. sect 23;
Sect 23-1.4 (a) states materials, devices etc. that a reasonable prudent man experienced in construction would require.
Sect. 23-1.5 ( c ) (1) in substance that all machinery shall be in safe working condition
Sect 23- -4.2(k) persons shall not...be permitted to work where they shall not be permitted to work where they may be struck...by excavation equipment, or any material
Labor Law Sect. 241 A reads: any men or women working in elevator shaft ways, stairwells of buildings, shall be protected by sound planking, two inches thick, across the opening not more than two stories, above and not more than one story below such men....
You can read the statutes are complex, and must be consulted when representing a plaintiff and drawing a complaint.
KNOW YOUR FACTS, KNOW THE LAW, REGS, AND CASES!
PRESENT YOUR PLAINTIFFS CASE KNOWING THE DAMAGES ARE SIGNIFICANT (USUALLY BIG MONEY!
The particular facts will determine if Section 240 of the Labor Law and related Labor Law statutes will apply to assist Plaintiffs recovery.
Here are some illustrative cases.
Falling Objects: Objects being raised or lowered:
Touray v HRZ 11 Beach 180 AD3 507 1st Dept. 2020
Plaintiff is moving an A frame cart loaded with cement boards.
The Court holds Labor Law 240 1 applies : “The cart did not have itself a mechanism to secure the self stacked materials it transported. Given the weight and height of the cement boards on the A frame cart , the elevation differential was within the purview of the statute, entitling Plaintiff to summary judgment on Labor Law sect. 240 1. The Boards had tipped off the cart falling on Plaintiff leg.
Although the accident happened at the same level at which the Plaintiffs work as performed, nonetheless it posed a substantial gravity -related risk which would have generated a significant amount of force thereby falling within the scope of 240 1 as per another case Wilinski 18 NY 3rd 1, Julie Encarnacion v 3661 3rd Ave 2019 Slip Op 07746 Plaintiff was injured when his foreman using an excavator lifted a section of formwork out of an excavation pit to be disassembled at ground level.
COOMBES V SHAWMUT 175 AD3 1140 (1st Dept. 2019)
Plaintiff an electrician was injured when he fell from an elevated concrete platform n his work site that did not have safety rails or stairs, and which he was repeatedly required to access an electrical panel to do his work.
Held: this accident was within the protections of Labor Law 240 1 as Plaintiff injuries were the direct consequence of a failure to provide adequate protection, such as a guardrail or stairs to prevent the risk posed by the physically significant elevation differential .
Labor Law 200 applied as it was premised upon defendant Shawmut alleged notice and failure to remedy the dangerous condition of materials stored haphazardly on the platform where plaintiff fell.
The dismissal of Labor Law 241 6 Claim was proper was each of the Industrial Code provisions relied upon by Plaintiff were either inapplicable, or too general to provide liability under that statute.
Objects That Need To Be Secured
Plaintiff was inured when dismantling part of a sidewalk shed part of a repair to the façade of the building.
The Court allowed the Plaintiff to proceed on the 241 6 claim premised upon 12 NYCRR 23-3.3 c even though raised late. No new factual allegations were alleged and there was not prejudice: there were issues of fact whether the defendants violated this provision, and if the violation was a proximate cause to plaintiffs injuries.
The plaintiff could not raise of the first time on appeal section 3.3 b 3 which requires walls chimneys and other parts of the building/structure to be left unguarded in such condition that the parts fall, collapse or be weakened by wind or vibration.
DE MINIMUS HEIGHT REQUIRED
Plaintiff unloading windows that weighed 175 pounds each, when a stack of 9 windows that were stored vertically at an angle against the truck trailer tipped over and fell on him.
Plaintiff was entitled to maintain his 240 1 Labor Law Claim because the injury occurred from an elevated related risk and the elevation was not de minimus as the combined weight of the windows would generate a significant force during the short descent. Defendant was denied dismissal.
Plaintiff was not entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law 240 1 claim because a triable issue of fact existed as to whether the stack of windows was qreuired to be secured.
Plaintiff was not entitled to summary judgment given the parties dispute as to whether a protective device was prescribed by Labor Law section 240 1 could have provided adequate protection from the falling windows : 8 or 9 stacked, 175 pounds each.
ISSUE PLAINTIFF INJURIES CAUSED BY EXTRAORDINARY ELEVATION RELATED HAZARDS VS USUSAL HAZARDS OF CONSTRUCTION SITES
Plaintiff granted summary judgment on the 240 1 Labor Law Claim holding that an articulating lift was a safety device which failed to protect plaintiff from an elevation related risk which was the proximate cause of his injury. At the World Trade Center in NYC Plaintiff was in an articulating lift moving down a ramp towards the underground garage. The lift suddenly picked up speed, he braked, when the lift skidded on slippery sludge crashing into a curb causing his injuries as he was “ricocheted “ around the lift. The Court determined that the defendant was more than a construction manager, its contact was that it was responsible to coordinate all the work on the site and ensure worker safety, it had the ability to control the activity that brought about the injury.
INADEQUATE LADDERS, FALLS FROM LADDERS, UNSECURED, IMPROPER PLACEMENT OF LADDERS
Injury occurred to the Plaintiff while painting, when the extension ladder he was on slid causing him to fall.
Lacking rubber feet, the Court held this was a prima facie case under 240 1 of the Labor Law.
Chapa v Bayle Properties 2020 NY Slip 00397 (2nd Dept. 1/22/20)
Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on his 240 1 claim
Defendants opposed on the basis that Plaintiff: one. was doing routine maintenance work,
Two: Plaintiff was the sole cause of the accident for failing to use a bucket truck instead of the ladder,
Three: Plaintiff failed to have another worker hold the ladder
The Court held:
Plaintiff’s work involved more than changing light bulbs, switches, and routine maintenance. Plaintiff showed he was attempting to repair an overhead lighting system due to loss of power to a light fixture and junction box. Sect. 240 1 did apply was the activity involved repairs
Since the evidence established he was attempting to repair an overhead lighting system, repairs, Plaintiff did establish a prima facie case.
Defendant failed to present evidence that the ladder was inadequate, or improperly placed, or that Plaintiff’s actions was the sole proximate cause of his injuries and accident.
Plaintiff was an electrician and sole owner of Markou and Sons, he was injured when the extension ladder on which he was working slid to the side, forcing him to jump to avert hitting his head on the floor. MARKOU V SANO RUBIN 2020 SLIP OP 02144 3RD DEPT. 4/2/20
The New York State Labor Law protects construction and other workers by holding owners and contractors vicariously liable for occupational injuries..
Significant money damages are waiting for plaintiff construction workers for their on the job injuries involving gravity and a safe place to work required by the NYS Labor Law.
The NYS Labor Law creates laws and rules and presumptions that assist recovery for injured Plaintiffs.
Call our office for experienced attorney representation for construction injuries and Labor Law .
Millions of Dollars Recovered For Our Injured Clients.
MARTIN DRUYAN ESQ.
MARTIN DRUYAN AND ASSOCIATES ATTORNEYS
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No attorney fees unless we recovery money for the injured construction worker clients.
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS RECOVERED FOR OUR INJURED LABOR LAW CONSTRUCTION WORKER CLIENTS.
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