New York Labor Law § 240, the Scaffolding Law, holds contractors and property owners strictly liable for a workplace injury involving scaffolding and other elevation related injuries. Injured workers may be able to claim broader damages under the Scaffolding Law than from workers’ compensation benefits, and seek compensation for things such as pain and suffering.
- New York Scaffolding Law Requirements
- How the Scaffolding Law Affects an Injury Claim
- Can a Worker Still File for Workers Compensation?
- What Does Strict Liability Mean?
- What Are Common Scaffolding Hazards?
- Common Scaffolding Accidents
- What Are Common Injuries from a Scaffolding Fall?
- How Can a Long Island Construction Accident Lawyer Help?
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New York Scaffolding Law Requirements
Under New York’s Labor Law § 240, contractors, building owners, and their agents must furnish or erect scaffolding and its accessories to “be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.” New York’s courts have broadly interpreted these provisions as requirements to prevent gravity related injuries to construction workers and will hold the primary contractor, project owner, or property owner strictly liable for any scaffolding accidents on the worksite.
Definition of Construction
The law says that all construction workers are entitled to protection from falls and falling hazards. It covers construction work including the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure. All contractors, owners and their agents are liable except for owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract but do not control the work. Failure to protect workers by not preventing a fall or falling hazard is a breach of the duty of care, meaning no proof of negligence is required.
Other Required Worker Safety Measures
It also requires that scaffolding more than twenty feet above the ground or floor is inherently dangerous and should have a minimum 34 inch high secure safety rail. Scaffolding must also be constructed to bear four times its maximum weight.
How the Scaffolding Law Affects an Injury Claim
Under the New York Scaffold Law, contractors and property owners are strictly liable for any injury that results from scaffolding accidents on construction projects.
Broader Damages for Serious Injuries
In an ordinary negligence case, the worker has to prove duty, a breach of duty, and foreseeability of the incident that caused the injury, but under the New York Scaffold Law, these elements are presumed. This means that injured workers do not need to prove negligence in order for the claim to be successful and can obtain broader damages for their injuries than those available through a worker’s compensation case. An injured worker hurt in an accident involving scaffolding may be able to collect financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of future earning capacity.
Injured workers should contact an experienced Long Island construction accident lawyer at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. to discuss their legal options following a scaffolding accident. An attorney from our law firm can help injured workers understand their rights under the law and determine if they are eligible for additional compensation through the Scaffolding Law.
Can a Worker Still File for Workers Compensation?
Yes, an injured construction worker may still file for New York State workers’ compensation in addition to filing a claim under the Scaffolding Law. Workers’ compensation benefits will typically cover medical bills, a portion of lost wages, and other costs associated with the injury.
However, workers’ compensation benefits are usually limited to those expenses, while a Scaffolding Law claim may enable injured workers to receive additional compensation for pain and suffering or future pain and suffering. It is important to speak with an attorney to discuss the options for an injured construction worker to recover compensation for on the job accidents. Call Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today for a free consultation.
What Does Strict Liability Mean?
Strict liability is a legal doctrine that holds defendants liable for injuries even if they took all reasonable precautions to prevent the injury. Under the New York Scaffold Law, property owners, contractors, and their agents are strictly liable for any injury that results from scaffold accidents on construction sites. This means that the injured worker does not need to provide proof of negligence in order for the claim to be successful. Instead, they must only demonstrate that the injury was caused by a dangerous condition relating to scaffolding on the worksite.
Find Out Your Options After a Construction Site Fall
An experienced Long Island construction accident lawyer can help injured workers understand their rights and determine if they are eligible to pursue a claim under the Scaffolding Law. Contact Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options after being injured in an accident involving scaffolding.
What Are Common Scaffolding Hazards?
Common hazards associated with scaffolding accidents on a job site include: falling objects, improper access ladders, inadequate guardrails, lack of safety gear and fall protection, overloaded scaffolding, poor worker training with safety equipment, and unstable scaffolding. All workers should be aware of these hazards and take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves when working on or near scaffolding. Contractors, owners, and their agents are responsible for providing a safe work environment and must ensure that the appropriate safety protocols are followed.
Common Scaffolding Accidents
Common accidents that may occur on construction sites involving scaffolding include:
- Falls from heights
- Objects falling from scaffolds onto workers below
- A scaffold collapse due to overloading or structural instability
- Injuries from falls due to improper access equipment such as ladders and stairways
- Slip and fall accidents from accumulated rain, ice, or snow
- Power installation incidents from incorrectly installed scaffolding near power lines
What Are Common Injuries from a Scaffolding Fall?
Injuries sustained from a fall off of scaffolding can range in severity, but common injuries include:
- Crush and compression injuries including broken bones, severe contusions, or skull fractures which may require multiple surgeries or even amputations
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) can cause loss of sight or hearing, difficulty with speech, and even loss of the ability to walk
- Spinal cord injuries may lead to paralysis or impaired mobility
- Internal organ damage or a punctured lung can require multiple surgeries and long-term medical care
- Soft tissue damage, such as shoulder or knee sprains and strains, can lead to prolonged recovery times
- Death can occur from a fall off of scaffolding
- Emotional and psychological trauma can cause long-term issues, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident, contact an experienced Long Island construction accident attorney at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. to discuss your legal options.
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How Can a Long Island Construction Accident Lawyer Help?
An experienced Long Island construction accident attorney can help injured workers understand their rights and determine if they are eligible to pursue a claim under the New York Scaffold Law. A lawyer will investigate the cause of the accident and gather evidence, including interviewing witnesses and obtaining photos of the scene. They will also work with medical professionals to assess any injuries and associated damages.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
A lawyer can also help injured workers navigate the legal process, ensuring that all paperwork is filed correctly and on time in order to maximize recovery. They will handle negotiations with insurance companies and work to ensure that their client receives fair compensation for their injuries. Call Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options after a scaffolding accident.