Construction Workers Hit by Falling Object
One of the most dangerous aspects of construction work is that workers are working at different levels. Objects can fall from one level to another, striking workers. Because falling objects are so dangerous, New York State has a special law, Labor Law section 240, which gives construction workers who are victims of falling objects an easy-to-prove lawsuit claim against the owner of the worksite, the general contractor, other contractors and subcontractors, and others as well.
The object that falls on the construction worker might be a hammer or other tool, or a piece of work material such as falling planks, falling bricks, falling mortar, a falling hoist, falling steel, a falling bucket, falling lumber, falling bolts, falling equipment, falling debris, or anything that falls at all.
Let’s be clear; not all falling object cases are “slam dunks”. For example, if the object is not very heavy or does not fall much distance before it strikes the worker, the Court may decide that this is not the kind of “falling object” case that Labor Law 240 was designed to protect against. Another example of a case that probably won’t succeed is where an object that was already part of the site, such as a brick that was part of a pre-existing wall, falls on the worker. Our courts have held that this also is not the kind of “falling object” that Labor Law 240 was designed to protect against. Another example of a falling object case that is not covered by Labor Law 240 is where a worker intentionally drops an object, for example a beam, as part of the construction job, and it happens to fall on a worker.
There are so many factual nuances to consider in determining whether a worker hit by a falling tool, work material, equipment or other object has a valid Labor Law 240 claim that only a lawyer experienced in construction accident litigation, and who has good legal research skills, can effectively represent the injured worker.
Objects fall at construction sites for many reasons, but usually some carelessness, negligence or rule-breaking is involved. Gravity does not work alone --- someone has to help it do its job. Perhaps an overworked co-worker made a careless error, lacked proper training, or lacked proper supervision, and thus caused something to fall. Perhaps another contractor’s worker performed an improper setup, or a subcontractor committed some other error, or a subcontractor made other mistakes, or another company failed to take into account that wind, rain, or slippery surfaces could cause objects to fall from scaffolds, platforms or other places. Perhaps another worker was distracted, failed to follow safety rules, or there was a failure to follow OSHA regulations or the New York State Industrial Code, or other worksite rules were violated. There are millions of possibilities, but they almost all contain an element of carelessness, negligence or rule-violating.
Workers who are struck by falling objects often suffer serious concussions, brain injuries, debilitating neck or back injuries, paralysis, broken bones, and even death.
The Syracuse, NY construction site accident attorneys of Michaels & Smolak have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in construction accidents and for other injuries to cover their medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a construction accident, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and maximize your compensation.