Causes and Liability Explained by Our New York City Scaffolding Accident Lawyer
Construction is one of those jobs that are inherently dangerous. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OHSA), about 20% or roughly 1,100 worker fatalities are in construction. The four most common causes of construction injuries and deaths are known as the “focus four” or the “fatal four” by OSHA, which include falls (34% of all cases), struck by an object (11%), electrocutions (9%), and caught-in/between (6%). Coincidentally, the most cited OSHA violations are fall protection in construction (first and highest), scaffolding in construction (third highest), ladders in construction (sixth highest), and training for fall prevention (eighth highest). The obvious theme is falling from a height. Despite the shocking statistics and numerous violations, there are still far too victims injured in a New York City scaffolding accident.
Unfortunately, when hardworking individuals are injured in a ladder fall or scaffolding accident, they are often instantly replaced with another worker. Insurance carriers usually blame the worker for the accident, even if the job site owner or another contractor failed to provide the proper safety equipment or gear. This is not fair.
This is why the experienced New York City scaffolding accident lawyers at Keith D. Silverstein & Associates, P.C. represent injured workers and their families against some of the largest corporations and insurance companies in New York and the rest of the United States. We will not let others treat you as expendable, and we can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, current and future disability, loss of consortium, and of course for your pain and suffering. Learn how we can help you during a FREE consultation by dialing (866) 492-7487.
How the New York Labor Law Protects You
Construction workers are protected by the New York Labor Law, which has afforded workers some of the strongest protections out of any state in the entire United States. Specifically for a New York City scaffolding accident, Labor Law section 240 creates “strict liability” on property owners and contractors to protect workers from falls with proper safety protections, including scaffolding. Strict liability means if the accident and injuries happen, liability is automatic. There are a few defenses to a Labor Law section 240 accident, but strict liability is the presumption that a defendant would need to overcome.
Section 240 applies to any fall from a height or gravity-related injury, including ladders, scaffolding, step ladders, or any time where a worker needs to be elevated to perform work. The failure to provide the proper safety equipment and gear will allow an injured worker to recover compensation against an owner or contractor for failing to follow the law.
Types of New York City Scaffolding Accidents and Ladder Falls that are Governed by Labor Law Section 240
Generally, any type of fall from a height is going to fall within the realm of Labor Law section 240. This means if you are injured from a ladder fall or scaffolding accident, you should contact an experienced construction accident lawyer for help. The most common types of New York City scaffolding accidents that could result in strict liability against an owner or contractor include the following:
- Scaffolding collapse – although scaffolding is a temporary structure, scaffolding is still intended to be a stable and safe structure that workers can reliably work on. Any time a scaffolding collapses it is usually due to negligence or failure to comply with the Labor Law and applicable regulations regarding its construction.
- Scaffolding fall overs/tip overs – even if scaffolding is well-built, it also must be well supported and braced on the ground. Any time a scaffolding blows over falls over, or tips over, it is likely that the scaffolding was improperly grounded and there was an inadequate foundation. This can result in liability.
- Falls off of a scaffold – even though a scaffold is considered a safety device by itself, that does not mean it is the only safety device that should be used. Workers need to also be protected from falling off of the structure and sustaining injury. This means high enough guardrails, harnesses, ropes, and other safety equipment must be used. The failure to do so could result in serious injury.
- Electrocutions – while the flooring of most scaffolds is wood, most scaffolding is framed out of metal pipes. This is a huge electrocution hazard and owners or contractors must ensure that there are no electrocution hazards present that could harm a worker on a scaffolding.
Common Injuries from a Fall
A worker who suffers a fall from a scaffolding or off of a ladder is likely to sustain very serious and grave injuries—even if that fall was just a few feet high. But when that fall is from a story or higher, the injuries are usually catastrophic and can be fatal. Some of the most common types of injuries that an injured worker could sustain include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries, including herniated discs, ruptures, compression fractures, and other damage
- Organ injuries
- Significant lacerations
- Dislocations or separations, particularly of the shoulder or knee
- Joint injuries, including a partial or total joint replacement in the knee, hip, or shoulder
- Nerve injuries
- Wrongful death, and
- Many other injuries are related to falling from a height.
Ask our Experienced New York City Scaffolding Accident Lawyer for Help
Do not let an overaggressive owner, contractor, or insurance adjuster tell you that your fall from a height was your own fault. In passing the strict liability provisions of the New York Labor Law, the Legislature rejected those arguments and placed the responsibility on the owner and contractors to protect workers like you. If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York City scaffolding accident or ladder fall, ask our experienced NYC construction accident lawyers at Keith D. Silverstein & Associates, P.C. for a FREE consultation to learn what your rights are under the law by dialing (646) 813-3922. You could also send us a private and confidential message on our “contact us” page available here.