Falls Cause Catastrophic Injuries or Death
Falls from scaffolds, ladders, windows, ledges, girders, ropes, hoists or other structures can cause sprains, strains or a broken limb at best; or traumatic head injuries, spinal cord fractures, facial fractures and other internal injuries at worst, if the worker does survive. If a worker is fortunate enough to go back to work, he or she may continue to feel the effects of the injury for many years or a lifetime and that may ultimately shorten a career. In many instances, injured construction workers from falls do not return to work and may be forced to receive total disability payments and an uncertain future filled with endless therapy, multiple surgeries and constant pain. Addiction to pain medication and extreme depression are sometimes byproducts of these injuries.
Additional Protections for Workers
Recognizing that workers who perform their jobs at elevations need more protection, New York lawmakers passed the “Scaffold Law” or N.Y. Labor Law §240(1). The “Scaffold Law” imposes absolute liability on owners and contractors involved in construction work for elevation-related injuries. This means that the duty of these parties toward workers who work on ladders, scaffolds, roofs, hoists, ropes or other structures above ground is substantial. Comparative negligence by the worker will not typically bar or limit recovery. If injured from a fall, claimants may sue the contractor or owner in Court for substantial damages, far exceeding whatever compensation the worker could receive from workers’ compensation insurance. There are certain exceptions.
Because of the law, contractors and owners are encouraged to be proactive in making sure the scaffolding, ladders, hoists or other devices are secure and operating safely. Untrained workers are susceptible, and the law punishes those who neglect to ensure that railings are in place or that scaffolding, ladders, hoists, pulleys and other devices used by workers are safe.
Another sad fact of falls in construction accidents is that many of the injured or killed workers are immigrants who face language barriers and other difficulties. Because some workers are undocumented or are not proficient in English, they are not trained as thoroughly, if at all. Owners and contractors are required to provide adequate safety devices to all of their workers and to protect all of their workers from falling from a height and sustaining injury, however, regardless of their immigration status or language barrier.
Consult an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney
The lawyers at Jacob Oresky & Associates, PLLC have been handling claims under the “Scaffold Law” for decades. We have represented numerous construction workers who have suffered debilitating and traumatic injuries or fatalities and recovered millions in compensation for them and their families. Contact our office today for a free, in-depth analysis of your injury claim.