New York’s labor laws require all aspects of a construction, demolition or excavation site to be safe for workers, including the use of construction vehicles such as trucks, bulldozers, forklifts and cranes. If a worker is injured or killed in an accident involving one of these vehicles, the worker and his or her family may be eligible to hold the construction site owner, contractor or one of its agents responsible for the harm caused.
If you have been impacted by a construction vehicle accident in Albany, Syracuse or elsewhere in New York State, the construction accident lawyers of Powers & Santola, LLP, can help you to understand your legal rights and options. Our law firm focuses specifically on these cases. We can use our skills, experience and resources to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.
Why Do Construction Vehicle Accidents Happen?
Many construction vehicle accidents occur due to unsafe site conditions, operator error and faulty equipment. For instance, accidents may be caused by:
- Lifting beyond capacity – A crane or forklift can tip over due to carrying a load that exceeds the vehicle’s listed weight capacity.
- Improperly trained operators – Drivers that are allowed to operate trucks, cranes or forklifts without proper training – or any training at all – put others at risk. These are difficult vehicles to operate. They have a high center of gravity, and they are driven on uneven surfaces. This is why lack of training can be so dangerous.
- Failing to inspect and maintain all vehicles – Whether it is leased or owned, any vehicle used at a construction site must be properly inspected and maintained. Too often, accidents are caused by vehicle flaws (brakes, hydraulics, gears or tires) that could have been avoided if a reasonable inspection had been conducted.
- Striking or coming close to power lines – Electrocution accidents can occur when vehicles strike or come too close to active power lines. High voltage wires have the capacity to “arc,” with electrical power surging throughout metal structures, tools or other areas in which construction workers are located.
- Backing up trucks and other equipment – Traffic control becomes extremely important on construction sites. Large vehicles moving items into and out of the site are required to be carefully and correctly managed, with sufficient warnings to both workers and passing traffic in adjacent streets.
- Construction site traffic control – New York’s Industrial Code provides specific traffic control guidelines for traffic moving through or near a construction site. The failure to adhere to these guidelines often results in crashes.
- Struck by moving equipment – Forcible contact with moving equipment is one of the leading causes of death at construction sites.
How New York Labor Laws Protect You
A worker injured in a construction vehicle accident can bring a claim against a construction site owner, contractor or one of its agents for a failure to follow the duties imposed on them by New York’s labor laws.
For instance, a claim could be brought under New York State Labor Law § 200, which imposes a general duty to ensure that the work site is safe for workers. A worker would need to show that the owner or contractor had control of the vehicle involved and notice that a hazard existed. An example would be a contractor who knew an untrained employee was operating one of its bulldozers.
A claim could also be pursued through Labor Law § 241(6) based on the violation of state regulations governing the operation of construction vehicles as found in Industrial Code Rule 23.
Additionally, if an accident was caused by a defective construction vehicle part, a claim could be brought against the manufacturer of the part.
Contact a New York Construction Vehicle Accident Attorney
The legal team of Powers & Santola, LLP, is committed to seeking justice for workers who have been injured in construction vehicle accidents in Albany, Syracuse and throughout New York State. Our firm features highly respected authorities in this area of the law such as Daniel R. Santola, the author of Litigating Construction Accident Cases in New York. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.