Construction accidents are inevitable in an evolving metropolis like New York City, which is home to 8.3 million residents and over 1 million buildings. There is inherent risk working high above the ground on roofs, ladders and scaffolding. Injuries are a constant threat to workers and their families.
Falls are the No. 1 cause of construction worker deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2018 that more than 310 fatalities and 10,350 serious injuries occur every year in falls from heights. Another study by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported 20% of construction fall deaths between 1982-2015 occurred in the victim’s first two months on the job.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation benefits can help pay for medical bills and lost wages if you are hurt on the job. General contractors and companies managing construction sites are responsible for following federal and state safety standards. But if someone else was responsible for your pain and suffering you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The “Scaffold Law”
A third-party lawsuit is separate from a workers’ compensation claim. It charges negligence against another individual or business — not a co-worker or your employer — for causing a workplace accident. And it attempts to recover damages beyond the initial medical expenses and lost pay your employer covers with workers’ compensation insurance.
New York labor laws offer protections for construction workers injured or killed on commercial worksites. One specifically is designed to protect the rights of workers who fall or are struck by falling objects. The so-called “Scaffold Law” covers scaffolding, hoists, ladders, pulleys, braces, irons and ropes used in:
- Building erection
- Pointing a building
Structures besides buildings include garages, subway tunnels, boats and bridges. The Scaffold Law does not hold liable owners of one- and two-family dwellings who do not manage their construction projects.
You deserve justice
Personal injury cases are about your misfortune, what caused it and who was responsible. Insurance companies will push back against claims that their clients created a hazard or unsafe environment. Battling a company and the insurance industry can be challenging. But you have options.
It is important to know your rights if you were injured suffering a fall in the workplace. You deserve justice and should be able to focus on providing for your family while you recover.