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Bay Area Workers Ask The Expert – May 2015

The Veen Firm proudly partners with the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council to provide legal help for Bay Area workers in the trades.Many complicated legal issues affect workers in our community. The Veen Firm is passionate about providing the education and resources needed to protect Bay Area workers.Real people submit questions, and the attorneys at The Veen Firm respond directly. This month’s expertise is provided by Anthony Label:

I was painting above an interior glass elevator at an office building. My coworker put signs at each elevator stop warning people not to use the elevator. While I was painting the beams over the elevator, an employee of the client threw away the sign at the top floor. Another employee then called the elevator to the top floor and it crushed me against the ceiling. I am permanently disabled from crush injuries and have PTSD. What are my rights?

You have a worker’s compensation case as well as a civil tort case against your client’s company. The worker who removed the sign was negligent, and also broke the law. Labor Code § 6406(a) forbids any person from removing warnings or notices from any place of employment. So your client’s company will be liable for your injuries. However, your employer may also bear some fault, for failing to make sure the elevator was “locked out” or de-energized before you painted above it. If that was your responsibility, or if you knew the elevator was not locked out, you may bear some fault as well. Any fault of your employer and your own fault will reduce your recovery. It is important to speak with a lawyer immediately to fully assess your rights and protect yourself.Anthony Label, The Veen Firm, PC, San Francisco, CA (Reposted from the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council.)

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