A $230 million court house being built in Staten Island will be environmentally safe and energy efficient when it opens later this year. But is it safe for the workers who are constructing it? A worker who was seriously injured in a fall last summer alleges in a lawsuit that the construction site was not safe for workers. The 58-year-old worker is suing to recover an unspecified amount of money damages for serious arm and leg injuries.
The worker’s lawsuit claims that unsafe working conditions on the $230 million courthouse caused his accident. He was performing heating, ventilation and air conditioning work for one of the contractors at the site when he fell into an elevator shaft.
Accounts of the accident differ. According to one version, the worker fell into the shaft landed on duct work one floor below. A firefighter entered the shaft to secure the man, who was removed from the floor below.
According to the man’s attorney, the worker actually fell two stories through an uncovered duct area. He required surgery for the serious injuries to his arms and legs. The man has not yet been able to return to work.
The lawsuit names 10 defendants, including various contractors, the state Office of Court Administration, the state Dormitory Authority and the city. The contractor that employed the worker is not named in the lawsuit.
Construction workers have the right to a safe work environment. When they are injured or killed on the job, they may be able to hold negligent parties accountable through personal injury lawsuits. Direct employers usually cannot be sued because of workers’ compensation laws, but other parties that contribute to an accident may be held liable.
Source: silive.com, “Construction worker sues after fall at new Staten Island courthouse,” Frank Donnelly, Jan. 6, 2013
- Our law firm represents people who have been injured or lost loved ones in construction accidents in New York City. Visit our page on elevator shaft accidents for more information.