Lawyers have filed legal claims in an Oct. 1 collision on Main Street in Williamsville that seriously injured two Amherst Highway Department workers when they were flung from an elevated platform truck.
The accident is under investigation by the state Department of Labor.
Lawyers for town employees Paul A. Mordaunt and Scott J. Charleson recently filed notices of claim stating that the Town of Amherst and Village of Williamsville failed to provide a safe work environment for their clients while the two men were changing a street banner.
Though parties on both sides say the injured employees are more likely to sue for damages from the trucking company involved in the accident, the town still will likely feel the financial pinch in workers’ compensation claims and any potential penalties levied by the Labor Department.
Charleson, 46, and Mordaunt, 52, were 30 feet off the ground in the basket of a traffic-signal tower truck near Town Hall when the accident occurred, according to police and town officials.
Both the town truck and another truck pulling a 53-foot trailer were in the eastbound lanes on Main Street. The tractor-trailer, driven by Jason Kelly, 35, of Syracuse, clipped the raised portion of the town truck as it passed on the right, damaging the vehicle and sending Charleson and Mordaunt tumbling.
Both men were taken to Erie County Medical Center with broken bones and other injuries.
Amherst Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones said he doesn’t believe the town can be successfully sued for damages because both men are covered by workers’ compensation, which precludes them from suing the town.
James Scime, the lawyer representing Mordaunt, said the trucking company involved in the accident, C.R. England Inc., is more likely to face a personal injury lawsuit, but a notice of claim also was filed with the village and town to protect his client’s rights.
Town taxpayers will suffer some financial fallout regardless. The town is self-insured for workers’ compensation claims of up to $400,000 for each employee. In addition, the town is still awaiting findings by the Department of Labor, which launched its own investigation the day of the accident.