Construction Accident Results in Both a Personal Injury Lawsuit and a Workers’ Compensation Claim
A Manhattan maintenance worker was employed by a large local church. A construction contractor was doing a massive interior renovation in the church and asked the church officials if the construction company could use the church’s maintenance worker to help them with some lifting and climbing tasks. The church consented and my client, the church maintenance worker, was asked to set up an A-frame ladder between pews, climb the ladder and hang a projector on a hook in the balcony area while he was at the top of the ladder. The contractor handed the projector to my client in an unstable manner and as my client was balancing it the ladder collapsed thrusting him approximately 10 feet below onto the wooden pews and floor. He sustained serious back injuries. A fall from a height by a worker at a construction/ renovation site often triggers special protections under the New York State Labor Law.
During the lawsuit, the church and the contractor both claimed that my client was an employee of the other at the time of the construction accident. My client was initially told by the contractor that he was only entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and not eligible to bring a negligence lawsuit. That was bad advice and fortunately the maintenance worker contacted me. I brought a personal injury lawsuit against the contractor claiming the workers’ compensation case applied to the church only, but the negligence lawsuit was proper against the contractor. That issue was hotly disputed by the contractor and the church, but during the pendency of the lawsuit I was able to obtain a significant settlement from the contractor for my client before trial. Of course, he also received his workers’ compensation benefits from the church’s insurance company.
The lesson here for workers is that in many cases you are entitled to both bring a negligence lawsuit against responsible parties who are not your employer and maintain a workers’ compensation case against your employer. Never let anyone who is not an experienced lawyer in the field of personal injury advise you on whether you can bring both a negligence lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim. Consult a knowledgeable attorney early in the process to protect your rights.
For further information about construction site accident cases, please call me toll free at (877) CALL-LAW® (225-5529) or (212) 714-0988 for a free consultation.
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