Trip and Fall on Construction Debris

WRSH Partner, Kenneth J. Halperin recently obtained a $370,000 settlement with a waiver of a $90,000 workers compensation lien for a 55 year old construction worker who was injured at a construction site.

The accident in question took place inside a New York City High School that was under construction. Prior to his accident plaintiff was coming back from lunch and was walking in a stairwell to get back to the area where he was working. While he was walking up the stairs in a dimly lit staircase he tripped and fell on construction debris and was injured.

We proceeded with a case pursuant to Labor Law -200(1) and -241(6). We argued, and the defendants could not refute, that construction debris was not supposed to be strewn throughout a staircase that workers used to access their work areas. The defendant, however, argued that this staircase was designated to be off limits and was not supposed to be used as by workers to get to their work areas. Further, they argued that plaintiff should have seen where he was going and avoided the accident. They made a motion to dismiss the case on this basis, but we were able to defeat it by arguing that they did not have enough proof to establish that this staircase was off limits. Plaintiff argued that he was never informed that he could not use this staircase.

As a result of the accident, plaintiff sustained multiple injuries including a left knee derangement and herniated discs in his neck and back. He also sustained a contusion to his hip which developed post-traumatic arthritis and which approximately 4 years after the accident caused him to undergo a total left hip replacement. The defendants alleged that the hip replacement and the neck and back injuries were unrelated to the accident and caused by degenerative and preexisting conditions.

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