On August 1, 2005, a manual laborer was working on a construction site that was being operated on a military base. The objective of the construction was to renovate some military housing buildings that were run down. In order to renovate the buildings, the construction crew had to first remove all of the kitchen and bathroom appliances that were inside each of the units in the multi-unit buildings. The construction crew had a dumpster located outside of the buildings on the street that was available for them to put the debris from the renovation into. The construction team had been working in one of the buildings for several days and the manual laborer was tasked with the job of transporting the debris from inside the building out to the dumpster on the curb.
On that morning, the crew had filled one of the dumpsters and needed an additional empty one moved from farther down the street up to where the work was being done. The site supervisor instructed the laborer to get the dumpster and move it up. The dumpster was about to be moved when another construction contractor pulled a truck up in front of it. The site supervisor instructed the manual laborer to tell the driver of the truck to move the truck so that they could get to the dumpster. The laborer followed the instructions that he was given and then stepped backward away from the truck so that he could signal to the truck driver where to park. As he walked backward, he stepped on the top of a manhole cover. The cover was not properly in place and tilted up causing the man to fallinto the manhole. He sustained several severe injuries as a result of this workplace accident. He contends that he suffered from severe spinal injury as well as leg impairment.
He had to have several surgical procedures on his spine over the following year including bone grafts and fusions of his spine. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against both companies and the property owner because he contends that they were negligent in allowing the manhole cover to not be securely in place. In this case, there was no argument that the man sustained serious injury as defined by the Insurance Laws of New York. The problem for the court in this case was determining who was responsible for the spinal injury that the man had suffered that left him disabled and unable to work.
In order to determine who was at fault for the accident, the court must determine who left the manhole cover unsecured and who was responsible to ensure the safety of the construction site. The problem was that no one seemed to know who had left the top ajar on the manhole. The manhole housed the water main cut off for the building, so it seemed logical that whoever had been told to turn off the water to the building prior to the removal of the water fixtures would have been responsible. The problem is that two different companies had been charged with that action. One of the companies, the one that the construction worker was employed by had discovered that this building, unlike all of the other buildings, had a water main cut off in the basement of the building. However, the other company had explored all of the manholes in an effort to locate all of the water main cutoffs. There was another employee who was charged with the safety on the site and he stated that he had checked the manhole covers and had not noticed that any of them were ajar. The court determined that the questions in this case were such that a jury would have to determine the degree of liability associated with each company.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its personal injury Lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Do not lose monetary compensation. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a spinal injury attorney, you could lose precious compensation to help your family.