A wife, on behalf of the estate of her late husband, commenced an action against the owners of the Westchester company employing the husband, a truck company and a steel company, to recover money damages for the wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of her husband.
According to sources, the husband was severely injured in the course of his employment during tree cutting and removal operations when he was struck by a tree trunk which was suspended from a crane and wire rope, which were designed, manufactured and sold and distributed to his employee by the defendant companies. He died as a result of those injuries. The husband’s employer, a business involved in the storage and transportation of bleachers, was clearing property leased by it from the couple to create storage space for bleachers.
The New York Labor Law imposes a non-delegable duty on owners and contractors to provide reasonable and adequate protection to workers making them “responsible for a breach of the requirements of the statute irrespective of their control or supervision of the work site.” While the duty imposed by the law may not be delegated, the burden may be shifted to the party actually responsible for the accident either by way of claim of apportionment of damages under certain rules or by contractual language requiring indemnification by the injured worker’s employer.
In this case, the owner of the equipment, which caused the truck accident, claimed no defect in the premises themselves, but focused on the existence of a defect in the crane’s wire rope or negligence in the supervision and execution of tree cutting and removal operations. The oral lease agreement to the property owner’s family-held corporation is silent as to the details of safety rules and even as to decisions on property alterations. The Staten Island court found that there is some evidence that the couple took no part in the supervision of the operation, but that she observed the operation of the crane shortly before the accident occurred and her actual or constructive knowledge of the unsafe manner in which the operations were performed is a triable issue of fact.
The court further noted that the couple supervised the employer’s operations and appears to have been responsible for establishing equipment inspection procedures and supervising the details of tree cutting operations. Any actual or constructive knowledge the couple had in their capacity as supervisor existed, and is inseparable from his knowledge as property owner. Because exercise by the property owner of control over the details of the manner of work, or actual or constructive knowledge on the part of the property owner of an equipment defect gives rise to liability under the Labor Law, they constitute triable issues of fact.
Losing a loved one and being involved in a lawsuit as a result of the negligent acts of someone else is difficult for all. To preserve and protect your rights, there are Attorneys who will stand by you and help see you through your case. These Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are compensated.
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