A Transit Authority ("TA") employee who is injured on the job while working on a construction project will collect workers compensation, which disqualifies that employee from suing his/her employer. However, where there is a Labor Law violation, the TA employee has a claim against the landowner, which is the City, even though the City was not controlling the work. The City owns train stations as well as railroad tracks. Such a claim will include damages for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, economic loss, and the spouse will have a claim for loss of services.
Labor Law § 240(1) and § 241(6) protect workers who are injured working on construction projects as a result of a gravity related injury, or where there is an Industrial Code violation. Labor Law § 240(1) applies a worker who falls from a height or is hit by a falling object. If the TA worker is not given adequate safety devices and falls from a height or hit by a falling object, there may be a Labor Law § 240(1) claim for money against the City.
The Industrial Code imposes many requirements to prevent hazards on construction sites. These include regulating air contaminants, providing safe pathways to enter and exit the worksite, and ensuring proper maintenance and operation of equipment. If there was a violation of the Industrial Code, which causes injury, the TA worker may also have a claim for money against the City under Labor Law § 241(6).
We are currently representing a TA worker in a legal malpractice case against his former lawyer who did not serve a notice of claim against the City and his claim was barred. That worker was injured when he was untangling cable on a crane used to replace track. The operator jerked the cable causing him to be raised in the air and fall down. The Industrial Code prohibits a crane operator from suddenly jerking up the cable while someone is attached to it. The Industrial Code further provides that cranes that are not inspected or have tangled cables should not be used at worksites.
When suing the City, a notice of claim suit must be served within 90 days from date of the accident. A lawsuit must then be filed within one year and 90 days from the date of the accident. If the 90 day time limitation lapses, it may bar the claim. The court may grant leave to file a late claim where there was a reasonable excuse for the delay, such as the claimant was in a coma or otherwise seriously incapacitated, or the delay was short and the City was not prejudiced. Ignorance of the time limitation is not an excuse. A motion to file a late claim must be made before the Statute of Limitations expires.
Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP represents TA workers who are injured at construction sites. For any inquiries call us at (212) 983-3000 or visit our website at /.