Scaffolding accidents are common causes of injuries and death in the construction industry. When a worker falls from a scaffold and is injured in Queens, they may have multiple legal options for receiving compensation for their scaffolding injury.
A Queens construction accident lawyer can explain what to do next after falling from a scaffold to protect your right to fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Until then, read on for insight into what your legal options are after this type of accident.
Injuries From Scaffold Falls in New York
Safety measures can prevent many falls from scaffolds, including guardrails and fall arrest systems. However, even with the best safety measures, falls from scaffolds are always a potential risk for construction workers.
Unfortunately, falls from scaffolds can cause catastrophic injuries. The height of the scaffold affects the severity of the injuries. However, falls from lower heights can still result in traumatic injuries.
Injuries caused by falls from scaffolds include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ injury
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Soft tissue injuries
Immediate medical treatment is required to prevent additional complications after falling from a scaffold on a construction site in New York. Prompt medical care also helps the worker be successful in a claim for damages.
New York’s Scaffold Law Protects Construction Workers
In addition to OSHA regulations, New York has several laws that apply directly to construction workers. New York’s labor laws afford construction workers in the state better protection in the event of an accident compared to other states. An example is New York Labor Law §240, also known as the Scaffolding Law.
The law imposes strict liability on the property owner, construction company, contractor, or other party controlling or directing the work on the job site. It requires the responsible party to provide safety equipment for employees working above the ground.
The law also includes specific requirements for scaffolds. Scaffolding more than 20 feet off the ground must have a safety rail. Also, scaffolding must be able to support four times the intended weight of the load without failing.
Because the law imposes strict liability for damages, in most cases, it does not consider whether the construction worker contributed to the cause of their fall from a scaffold. Even if a worker fails to use the safety equipment provided by the contractor, the contractor could still be liable for damages.
What To Do Next After Falling From a Scaffold in Queens
Construction workers injured in a scaffold fall can file a workers’ compensation claim. They should be entitled to receive medical benefits and wage benefits.
Workers’ compensation is intended to provide immediate access to medical treatment. It also provides economic assistance for a construction worker who cannot return to work because of a fall from a scaffold.
However, filing a workers’ compensation claim does not prevent a worker from filing a personal injury claim. The personal injury claim and workers’ comp claim are separate. Filing one type of claim does not affect eligibility for the other claim.
Therefore, a worker should report their scaffolding fall immediately to their employer. Their employer should direct the worker to seek medical treatment or provide emergency medical care onsite until emergency medical services arrive.
While receiving treatment and workers’ comp benefits, it is in the worker’s best interest to consult a Queens scaffolding injury lawyer about filing a personal injury claim.
Why Should I File a Personal Injury Claim After Falling From a Scaffold in New York?
Workers’ comp benefits are limited. You can only receive a portion of your lost wages. Workers’ compensation laws also dictate the amount you receive for a permanent impairment or disability. Other damages are not included in a worker’s comp claim.
A scaffolding injury claim can provide additional compensation. Generally, a construction worker falling from scaffolding can receive compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Damages could include:
- All past and future lost wages
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Long-term personal and/or nursing care
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reduction in earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Even though the Scaffolding Law imposes strict liability for damages, there could be defenses to your claim. Furthermore, you must provide evidence proving your case.
The responsible party and their insurance provider will aggressively fight your claim. They will do everything possible to avoid liability for your damages.
Hiring an experienced construction accident attorney in Queens evens the playing field. You benefit from experienced legal counsel with the skills and resources to fight these parties to protect your rights after a fall from scaffolding.
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