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What Defines a “Structure?” Wordiness in Construction Claims

October 14, 2015 Construction Accidents,Workers' Compensation

The law is often a wordy business and construction law is no exception. One interesting provision of New York labor Law illustrates this well. It’s the part of the statute that addresses special workplace protections for those who are erecting or maintaining a structure under New York Labor Law 240. The protections given by this statute are considerable and it’s a major part of how public officials view the delicate balance between the need for capital projects and a safe workplace.

As lawyers utilize the statute, which is relevant to many construction injury cases, they find that the interpretation of what constitutes a “structure” is very much in play. Over time, New York courts have ruled, for example, that many different types of buildings, as well as things like ceremonial kiosks or booths, qualify as structures.

Billboards and other raised advertisements also often qualify as structures. On the other hand, some other items did not qualify as structures. For example, New York courts have ruled against using the statute to apply to work that was done in or around certain household appliances, such as a dishwasher or washing machine.

Another ruling shows that a tree is not a structure and that work done in and around a tree is not subject to the statute, as in cases such as Cicchetti vs. Tower Windsor Tunnel. While this seems like a frivolous detail, it actually has a lot to do with how statutes like these are interpreted and how some construction accident cases are determined.

In general, construction accident lawyers look to protect their clients’ interests by identifying risk factors. Was the person operating at a certain height without proper personal protective equipment? Was there a lack of training or other safety protocol? Was there some intrusion into the site because of insufficient site protection or installation of resources? Qualified lawyers are trained to address every angle and build a case in a detailed way to really seek out relevant information that benefits the injury victim.

A qualified personal injury lawyer has to look at a construction accident injury in its full context. He or she has to evaluate aspects of the relationship between the worker and the company, using detailed interpretation of federal, state and local law and case precedent, to really make sure that the client accesses his or her legal rights and that his or her best interests are served in New York courts.

Injury victims rely on workers’ comp injury lawyers and other types of injury attorneys to really examine what happened in a workplace, draw the right conclusions and present them to courts.

Call a New York City Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

If you or a family member has been harmed in a workplace accident in or around the five boroughs, call the professional attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff. Our experienced injury attorneys will evaluate a work injury case, keep you informed about your case and be by your side as you bring a claim forward. Let us help you pursue compensation for the costs of an injury and its treatment and ongoing care.