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Slip and Fall at Construction Site

A school district was constructing a new school building. It hired a construction manager and it also hired a general contractor for the school building project. The school district and the construction manager procured an insurance to indemnify them from any claim of damages for injuries sustained in the construction project.

The general contractor hired a sub-contractor to do structural steelwork on the project. A New York Injury Lawyer said the general contractor required the steel subcontractor to obtain a general commercial liability insurance that had a $1 million occurrence limit. The steel subcontractor, the general contractor and the school district (as project owner) were named as additional injured.

On January 19, 2006, an employee of the steel subcontractor slipped and fell from a wet deck on the second floor of the building project. He landed on the first floor and was seriously injured.
When the employee of the steel subcontractor sued for damages for the slip and fallhe suffered, the insurer of the school district and construction manager indemnified them. This insurer of the school district then claimed reimbursement from the insurer of the steel subcontractor because the steel subcontractor’s negligence was the ultimate cause of the personal injury suffered by its employee.

The insurer of the steel subcontractor refused to indemnify and defend the steel subcontractor because bodily injury caused by the negligence of the school district and construction manager is not covered under the insurance. A Suffolk Personal Injury Lawyer said that since the school district and the construction manager are being sued on the basis of their negligence, the insurer for the steel subcontractor cannot be made liable to pay for personal injury sustained by their negligence but only by the negligence of the steel subcontractor.

The insurer of the steel subcontractor then filed a motion for summary judgment asking that the claim against it for indemnity be dismissed because it has not yet been established if the injury sustained by the employee of the steel subcontractor was caused by the steel subcontractor, the school district, the construction manager or the general contractor. It argued that since the personal injury case is still pending, there is, as yet no finding of fault.

Because of the refusal of the insurer of the steel subcontractor to indemnify the school district and the construction manager, they were forced to sue the steel subcontractor seeking contractual and common-law indemnification and contribution. They claimed that the steel subcontractor’s employee was injured because of the steel subcontractor’s negligence.
He testified that he was working at a height and he was laying out an aluminum sheet with a new employee. The new employee froze in fear so the injured employee walked on the deck to assist the new employee. It was while he was walking over to help him that he slipped and fell. He testified that the steel subcontractor did not provide him with a safety harness while he was assigned to work at such a height.

A Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer said in this suit filed by the school district and the construction manager against the steel subcontractor, they also included the insurer of the steel subcontractor. They argue that the insurer of the steel subcontractor is obligated to indemnify them if the personal injury to the employee was caused in part by the steel subcontractor.

The trial court found the steel subcontractor liable for its employee’s personal injury. It declared that the insurer was liable to indemnify the school district and the construction manager.

The Supreme Court ruled that the terms of the insurance were clear and since there is evidence that the steel subcontractor was in part to blame for the personal injury sustained by its employee, the insurer of the steel subcontractor can no longer deny liability.

An employee injured in the workplace can sue its employer for its failure to provide a safe work environment. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their legal team is ready to assist injured employees to obtain compensation due to them. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today, to receive valuable advice and a free consultation.

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