I blogged just the other day about the Syracuse construction workers, employed by Apple Roofing, who were injured when a scaffold collapsed, bringing them down with it, at Binghamton University dormitory under construction. I talked about how New York’s special “Scaffold Law” (Labor Law 240) makes the Owner of the construction site (New York State and perhaps the New York Dormitory Authority) and the general contractor (LeChase Construction)on the job automatically liable for the fall and injuries.
Here I want to talk about how a smart New York construction accident lawyer would handle this case. He or she would get this case to a judge ASAP to rule that the Scaffold Law applies, and that the defendants are therefore automatically liable for the injuries! (You can do this through a procedure known as a “summary judgment motion”). Why the rush? Because once you establish, under New York law, that these guys are liable, 9% annual interest starts running on the money the injured construction workers are owed for their injuries. Now that’s a lot of interest in today’s weak economy. Try getting that on Wall Street today!
After “liability” is established on “summary judgment”, which is a no-brainer in this case, and interest starts running, getting the case to a jury on the remaining issues of medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering compensation, will take some time. In fact, you have to wait to see how well the injured worker heals before you even know how much to ask a jury for. But now at least you have interest running. The money is in the bank, and is cooking up 9% interest a year!
I have seen too many lawyers wait too long before getting a ruling on liability. They thus give up all that interest. They think they have to wait for a lot of “depositions” to be taken before they can get the ruling. But in a case like this one, with such clear liability, there should be no need for that. Get that liability ruling, and get it fast. Get that interest running! Then, when you eventually get your money verdict, the judge will tag onto it all that interest that has been running at 9% annually since the date liability was granted. Believe me; all that interest tagged on can make a huge difference in the ultimate money verdict for the injured construction worker!