Our New York City construction accident lawyers have handled a lot of different types of construction accidents New York’s Labor Laws, which protect construction workers protect a wide variety of circumstances. While Labor Law 240, which is commonly referred to as the ladder law or the scaffold law protects against broken or collapsing ladders, planks and scaffolds, a lot of people do not know that it also covers falling object cases, when the objects are being hoisted or lifted. In other words, Labor Law § 240 protects against two categories of elevation related risks. such as where the elevation at which materials or loads are positioned or secured. The law also protects workers against the dangers associated with the difference between the level where a construction worker is stationed and a higher level of the materials or loads being hoisted or secured. A landowner or general contractor is responsible for falling objects because the law applies to any materials or loads positioned at an elevation and being lowered from an elevation that requires securing to prevent them from falling.

Some of the results from cases where the New York Courts have analyzed the application of Labor Law 240 to object cases are as follows. In one case, the Court held that Unloading material from a flatbed truck does not pose an elevation related hazard because the flatbed’s height above the ground. Therefore, where an injured worker fell from a truck, the case was not covered by Labor Law 240 because the injury did not result from an elevation related risk. However where a New York construction worker was injured by a falling bundle of materials, such as wood or concrete, the law requires that the fall have been prevented by a hoist, sling or other device to prevent the load from falling and injuring the worker. In these cases, the Courts have held that the lack of a forklift or other hoisting device, or adequate securing devices, such as stays, blocks, braces, irons, or ropes for the unloading of the load was a violation of law. However the Court has also recognized that where the bundles of wood were strapped into the truck bed for transport shows that they presented a foreseeable risk of tumbling over the edge of the truck bed when unstrapped and then disturbed during unloading. Therefore, where a bundles of wood above him on the flatbed required securing to prevent them from falling onto the workers as they were unloading the wood, the Labor Law applies. Although the Courts have held that a load which swings sideways is not covered under Labor Law 240, a fall of even a foot is sufficient to bring the injury within the coverage of Labor Law 240. However, a side or lateral swing is protected under the provisions of New York’s Labor Law 241(6) and the Code of Industrial Regulations, including regulations which apply to the necessity of using taglines to move loads. From our Manhattan office, our New York construction accident attorneys have extensive experience in representing victims of construction accidents in New York City.

Our personal injury attorneys have handled construction accident cases in Westchester County, as well as New York City and Rockland.

 
Elevator accidents in New York are more frequent than people think. One minute you are riding in an elevator and the next, the elevator makes a sudden and unexpected motion that causes you to stumble and fall.

Elevators are complex machines with thousands of interdependent parts and proper preventative maintenance is essential to the proper operation of an elevator. Our experienced New York personal injury lawyers who handle elevator accident cases know all too well how serious an elevator accident can be. Our firm is one of the few Westchester lawyers who handle elevator accident cases.

In recognition of the fact that most elevator accidents occur because of inadequate maintenance, the law in New York has recognized that the theory of res ipsa loquitur applies to these cases, in addition to negligence theories of recovery. Res Ipsa is an old latin term, which means the thing speaks for itself. So since an elevator malfunctioned, it means that there was inadequate maintenance.  In addition to the theory of Res Ipsa, a case of negligence is often asserted and to establish negligence often it must be proven that the building owner or elevator company caused a dangerous condition in the elevator or had notice of a dangerous condition which it failed to repair, including a defective or misaligned component.

Severe injuries can result when a person trips over a trap door, or falls into open cellar doors which are left open. Often people are walking on the street or exiting a restaurant and without any warning find themselves falling down a cellar. The experience is horrific and can often lead to serious personal injuries. Too often, these accidents are the results of design defects where the configuration is the equivalent of a structural defect which causes a trap for the unweary. Our Manhattan personal injury lawyers have handled thousands of premises liability cases and sustained substantial settlements and verdicts in these types of cases.

Frequently people are unaware of all the parties or entities that can be held liable for an accident involving a trap door or open cellar doors. Obviously the business who left the doors open can be held liable, but often they have inadequate insurance or go out of business. Therefore, the owners of the property, except for one to three family residential building owners, can also be held liable. Under New York City’s Administrative Code 7-210, the law imposes liability on property owners for failing to maintain sidewalks immediately outside of their premises in a reasonably safe condition. The law imposes a duty upon the owner of real property abutting any sidewalk to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. The New York Courts have recognized that this duty extends to dangerous configurations of property, which causes innocent passerbys or patrons of a restaurant or bar to fall into a cellar, where the doors were left open and the configuration is such that it obscures the open cellar doors. The New York Courts have recognized that it is a matter of simple logic that a door swinging over steps near an open cellar door may create a “hazardous and unsafe” condition and that determination should be for the finder of fact. In some cases, the door swing is insufficient which also violates New York City Administrative Code § 27-371 (h), which requires that the floor on both sides of all exit and corridor doors shall be at least equal to the width of the door leaf swing of the door. Many of these out of possession landlord cases also turn on the contents of the lease between the owner and tenant, which we obtain during discovery. A landlord who retained right to re-enter property in the lease and make repairs at tenants expense, is obligated to make repairs, and can be held liable for his failure to do so, when he has notice, constructive or actual, of said defect.

However, the Courts have also recognized that out of possession landlords can not be held liable for injuries to plaintiff who falls in open trap door where there was no evidence that the door was negligently constructed but rather was only unsafe due to being left in the open position. In such cases, liability can only be imposed upon those who negligently leave the door open and fail to provide adequate warnings in the form of cones to alert people that the doors are open.

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This summer has seen a sharp increase in construction accident in New York City. Even a building near our Manhattan office was not immune from danger. In June, while using a crane to lift a 12-ton heating and air-conditioning unit the lines broke lifting the unit, which resulted in two injuries when the unit fell 30 stories to Madison Avenue right outside of our office. Clearly this accident was due to the negligent securing of the unit to the crane because if a load is property secured to a crane, this type of accident simply does not happen.

So far in 2015, there have been ten construction accident fatalities, which is higher than in 2014. Additionally construction accidents have increased by 24% compared to last year. At least two of these construction fatalities in Manhattan occurred because of falls from unprotected heights. In both of these cases, had the worker been provided with proper fall protection, the accident would not have occurred and they would still be alive today. New York’s legislature sought to make sure that New York construction workers have fall protection by enacting Labor Law 240, which requires that workers who work on an elevated worksite have harnesses, life lines and other protection. Our Manhattan construction accident lawyers have successfully litigated and won many Labor Law 240 violation cases.

In another accident an immigrant construction worker was killed in a crane accident, when the boom swung and crushed him between the crane and a truck. Even though regulations prohibit workers from being in the zone of danger these types of accidents are continuing to happen. In Westchester, we have seen a number of these types of accidents with heavy equipment and excavation equipment and our White Plains construction accident lawyers have successfully represented many immigrant construction workers.

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Our New York City construction accident lawyers applaud a recent decision from the New York Supreme Court’s First Appellate Department which restricted a line of cases which has allowed the defendants to blame the injured construction worker.

Our experienced White Plains construction accident attorneys have fought these arguments and the insurance companies’ attempts to blame the injured worker. We believe that the laws that protect construction workers were intended to place responsibility for safe conditions and equipments on the contractors and building owners, not the employees. Even though Labor Law 240 requires construction site owners and general contractors who conduct construction or demolition projects to furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, ladders, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed, a number of Courts have prohibited the injured construction worker from recovering if the equipment was available on the construction site. This recent case involved a demolition worker who needed a Baker scaffold which is a scaffold that has locking wheels and a platform with an adjustable height, up to six feet. In this recent case, the injured construction worker went to get the Baker scaffold, but was told by his employer that the building owner did not want the scaffold inside because it would damage the floors. The injured workers was then directed to get his work done immediately, so he improvised and used a ladder which moved while he was on it, as a result he became injured.

The defendants sought to dismiss the case by arguing that since the Baker scaffold was technically on site, and the construction worker didn’t use it, the case should be dismissed. The Court in this recent decision brought some rationality back into the law and restored the original intent of the law, which is to protect construction workers and prevent construction injuries in the first place.

One of the most frequent questions asked is whether a building owner is responsible for a person who falls because of a dangerous staircase. Our New York City personal injury lawyers who handle defective stairs are thoroughly familiar with the applicable New York Building Code and Multiple Residence and Dwelling Laws.

Where a staircase fails to conform to the minimum standards that the law requires, a building owner can be held responsible.

One of the first building codes to address public safety was the 1938 Building Code of the City of New York which set safety specifications for exit stairs. So all stairs in buildings that are constructed after 1938 are required to conform to the minimum requirements of this Code, or later Codes, depending on when the building was constructed. Even under the 1938 Code, the New York City Building Code required that exit stairs, have handrails and the lack of a handrail constitutes a violation of the 1938 Building Code. Since stairs that lead to a landing from which a person must exit the premises qualifies as a required exit stairs under the 1938 Building Code, the Code applies.

A car accident fatality occurred this morning when a Bronx man was killed in a multi-vehicle accident. The decedent attempted to drive between a vehicles which was stopped for a red light, and another=, which was parked at the corner. All too often careless driving can have tragic results. In this case, the accident was the decedent’s fault, but our New York City wrongful death lawyers know all too well the price an innocent victim can pay because of another’s carelessness.

In another tragic accident, a retired New York City police officer died in a fiery crash yesterday in Long Island. The accident happened perhaps due to negligent repair and maintenance of the vehicle. The cause of the accident was the rear driver’s side wheel came off and the driver lost control of his jeep, which overturned and caught.The decedent’s family should look into whether any recent tire work was done, and it seems probable that the wheel was not properly secured, which lead to the accident.

In an attempt to reduce police shooting victims, the Governor of New York has appointed the Attorney General to conduct a probe of police shootings. Our police shooting lawyers applaud this probe as too many victims have lost their lives because of over zealous trigger happy cops during encounters for petty offenses or for actions which really aren’t criminal in the first place.

A significant amount of property damage was caused to a local Mount Vernon business yesterday. – The driver of a van, who was speeding on West Lincoln Avenue, lost control and slammed into a Mount Vernon laundromat yesterday. New York’s vehicle traffic law requires that drivers maintain a reasonable speed under the circumstances. A failure to abide by this law is negligence. Certainly the driver is liable and their insurance company will have to compensate the property owner. In another twist of fate, a driver of a motor vehicle suffered a fatality after he lost control of his vehicle in Rye on interstate 95.

Our Westchester car accident lawyers have handled many cases where cars crash into other vehicles which are disabled on a highway or parkway. In the Rockland County village of Nyack, a major truck accident occurred this week. A tractor-trailer burst into flames after smashing into a disabled truck on I-87 this morning. New York law requires that car and truck drivers maintain a proper look out and make adjustments for unexpected circumstances. Our New York truck accident lawyers have handled many truck accidents including fatalities.

A terrible tragedy occurred in the Bronx this week when a Mercedes SUV lost control and hit an eatery, which resulted in the wrongful death of a six year old boy. No words can express the sorrow of a grieving parent and our New York wrongful death attorneys have seen too many parents cry over the loss of a child because someone was careless. Still the law in New York continues to provide inadequate remedies for the loss of a child. In New York, the law is that for wrongful death, the decedents can only recover the financial or pecuniary loss that the decedent provided, which in the case of a child or an elderly person is not much. The decedents can also recover for the pre-death pain and suffering of the decedent. The law however does not recognize a parent’s grief or sorrow as an element for which damages can be awarded. Hopefully, this will change.

old-crane-1379109-m.jpgOn Sunday May 31st around 11:00 a.m., a massive air conditioning unit being lifted into a high-rise office building in midtown Manhattan plummeted 30 stories severely damaging the building, and injuring ten people including two construction workers on the way down. Construction crews were using a crane to try and lift the unit into the mechanical floor which is the top floor of the building when the accident occurred. When the unit fell off the crane it sent a mix of concrete and metal debris raining onto the street below.

Shortly after the accident New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a statement. He mentioned the severity of the accident, and said we should thank god it occurred on the weekend when there weren’t too many people around. He assured New Yorkers there would be a thorough investigation to find out exactly what caused the accident, and make sure an accident of this nature never happens again.

Unfortunately crane accidents are becoming a common occurrence in New York City. There have been six crane accidents in the city over the past seven years and 11 people have been killed. City officials must take action to insure pedestrians are safe when walking the streets of New York City. Although development is an important part of creating a thriving city, public safety must be a higher priority.

A recent New York City law which was enacted last year makes it a crime for a motorist to hit a pedestrian or cyclist, who is in the cross walk, with the right of way. As part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative, the City of New York enacted the right of way law. The law was intended to reduce the amount of fatalities caused by pedestrians and cyclists who were hit by vehicles.

This new law came under controversy which the MTA’s bus driver’s union protesting it after a bus driver was arrested after a fifteen year old pedestrian was run over by a bus, and sustained serious injuries. The teenager was pinned under the bus and sustained serious leg injuries, even though she had the right of way to cross the street and the right to expect that the bus would yield to her. The bus driver’s union is fighting to amend the law to exempt bus drivers. Our New York City bus accident lawyers think that this attempt to make bus drivers above the law is shameful. In 2014, alone, nine pedestrians were killed by buses in New York City, which underscores the need for bus drivers who are on the road all day to be more careful. The safety of New York pedestrians, especially children is at stake. Our bus accident lawyers also feel that an amendment to the law is unnecessary because the law already provides a defense that makes the incident not criminal if the contact was not the result of a failure to exercise due care. As such, this law is not an unfair strict liability law. The latest incident is the third instance of a bus driver being arrested for hitting a pedestrian who was crossing the street since August, when the law became effective.

One argument that the bus drivers union is putting forward is that the design of the bus creates a blind spot, which makes it difficult for drivers to see certain areas, with the way that the mirrors are presently positioned. Interestingly, the bus drivers never seemed concerned with this supposed safety issue prior to facing the possibility of being arrested. MTA spokespersons have since commented that bus drivers are trained to compensate for the blind spots, presumably by looking, like every other driver has to do while changing lanes. Moreover, the claim that the MTA buses have a condition, which predisposes bus drivers to hitting pedestrians, who have the right of way, opens the possibility of negligent maintenance and design cases against the MTA. In any event, if true, the law has already had a positive effect by exposing a problem which apparently has gone undisclosed and uncorrected for years.