The Loud Crack

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Q: At a five-story apartment building, I was doing demolition work as part of a renovation project.  Except for the floors, made of wood, the interior was being gutted and rebuilt.

On the second floor, I was dragging a piece of a demolished wall, to place it with some other debris – wearing the only safety devices that I had been given: a hard hat, a pair of gloves and a cloth facemask.

Suddenly, I heard a loud crack and fell right through the floor: it came out from under me.  The next thing I knew, I was screaming, and some coworkers had come down to the first floor, where I lay.

A: It is clear that you will be suing both under various sections of the Labor Law and in common-law negligence.  With regard to section 240(1) of the Labor Law, you will argue that, although you were exposed to an elevation-related risk, the defendants had failed to provide proper safety devices – in this case, a harness and safety line attached to an exterior wall.

Even under section 240(1), you will need proof that the collapse of the floor was a risk such as might reasonably be anticipated: for example, that portions were old, rotted and decayed.  Although your own recollection and the testimony of coworkers will be helpful, they are most useful when supplemented by photographs, if available.  In addition, in cases like this, your attorney is likely to engage an engineer who will testify as an expert witness.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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