Source: http://weitzlux.blogspot.com, March 6, 2007
Construction is a high-hazard occupation, accounting for the third-highest rate of death by injury, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. By law, employers are bound to mitigate the dangers inherent to the job wherever possible. This includes ensuring that the surrounding areas to the work site are safe for the construction team.
Unfortunately, this was not the case for a 47-year-old construction worker who fell off elevated train tracks on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in New York City. Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. filed a case (index no. 1752/03) in the County of Queens and in the Court of Claims against various defendants that were responsible for the construction project. This yielded a $1.5 million settlement the worker will now use to recover from the tragic and physically debilitating experience.
Nicholas Wise, a senior trial attorney with Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., who negotiated the settlement and handled the case from its inception said, “While I am very pleased with the result in this particular case, I am at the same time very concerned that there is and has been a tremendous effort underway to repeal or amend the New York State Labor Law.” That law, Wise explained, affords construction workers special protections so as to ensure them a “reasonably safe” place to work.
Following his fall, the Woodside, Queens resident was bedridden for many months and is still recovering from his injuries. These include cervical and spinal cord damage, which necessitated two surgeries.
Fortunately, workers on construction sites in New York are given special legal rights under the New York Labor Law. Various sections of this law provide construction workers with the protections they deserve—to work at a safe construction site.