Liability is usually divided among parties involved in a construction accident based on their court-determined degree of fault. Oftentimes, this is the only way for the injured worker to recover his loss from treatments, but what happens when intoxication factors in the picture?
The AlcoholRehab.com lists construction workers as the second highest users of illegal drugs and other substances. Many companies have recognized the risk associated with workplace intoxication so they implement alcohol and drug-free workplace policies. Should an accident arise, intoxication is often one of the best defenses to reduce, if not completely avoid, liability.
Take for instance the case of Braun vs. Target Corporation:
Braun worked for a subcontractor in a steel erection work. His job was to connect steel joists using a scissor lift, which was equipped with tie-offs and guard rails. On the day of the accident, Braun missed his step while crossing a beam after leaving the elevated scissor lift which he failed to tie-off, leaving him permanently paralyzed.
According to a testimony, Braun and his co-workers took a 25-minute lunch at a bar and had a few drinks. Additional evidence showed that he had a 0.27 BAC after the accident. Braun’s party attacked the evidence based on gaps in the chain of custody and the time lapse before the hospital produced the report. He also argued that the testimony was not sufficient to prove that he was indeed intoxicated during the accident. Nevertheless, the superior court ruled that drinking before the accident,failing to use the fall protection, and unnecessarily leaving his work area all suggested intoxication. Furthermore, a toxicologist confirmed that based on Braun’s BAC level, he was impaired when the accident occurred.
A Bronx personal injury attorney states: it’s important to note that proving impairment during work is given more weight than intoxication findings. The general standard for evidence admissibility is that it must reasonably establish a degree of intoxication, which made the worker unfit to perform the act. And in order to prove that the plaintiff was unfit, there must be enough evidence than just “mere hint of intoxication”. This makes intoxication not at all a losing case than it appears to be.
The complainant does not have to submit himself to urine and blood testing right away as demanded by the opposing party. It is highly advisable to secure the help of a Bronx personal injury lawyer from firms like The Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein to ensure that evidence such as BAC, urine, or blood testing are not tampered with. A lawyer who has handled multiple construction accident cases can help find witnesses and medical experts who can disprove intoxication as a contributory factor to the accident.
(Source: Professions with Drug Addiction Problems, AlcoholRehab.com)