Hurt in a Scaffolding Accident? Your Rights as an Injured Worker in NY

scaffolding injury

Working construction in New York City comes with enough risks on its own. But when scaffolding is involved, the danger factor gets exponentially higher. Scaffolds may be essential for many job sites, but they’re also prone to collapses, falls, falling objects, and other incidents that can injure workers.

In 2019 alone, the New York City Department of Buildings reported 595 construction-related accidents, with falls from scaffolding being a significant contributor.

If you or someone you know took a nasty spill, were struck by debris, or suffered any scaffolding-related injury, it’s critical to understand your rights in New York. The personal injury team at Held, Held & Held in Brooklyn has seen firsthand how devastating these accidents can be for construction workers and their families. That’s why we fight to ensure scaffolding victims receive the full compensation they deserve – not just for medical bills but for all the physical, emotional, and financial hardships.

New York Scaffold Law Guards Against Gravity

Officially known as New York Labor Law § 240, the city’s Scaffold Law is designed to shield workers from accidents on construction sites.

This statute places injury responsibility squarely on the shoulders of property owners and contractors, holding them strictly liable for harm resulting from falls from scaffolding or other elevations.

Strict liability means that even if the landowner or contractor did not directly cause the accident, the law could still hold them accountable for the resulting injuries.

NY’s Scaffold Law encompasses a broad spectrum of accidents, including but not limited to:

  • Falls from scaffolding due to improper construction, maintenance, or lack of safety equipment.
  • Injuries caused by falling objects from scaffolds, such as tools or building materials.
  • Accidents related to the collapse or failure of scaffolding components.

It is important to note that the statute applies to union and non-union employees, protecting workers under one umbrella.

Common Scaffolding Injuries in New York

The consequences are nothing short of devastating when scaffolding accidents happen.

Construction workers may face a wide range of damages, each with its challenges and long-term implications.

Some common types of scaffolding injuries include:

  • Fractures and Broken Bones: The force of impact from a fall or falling object can easily shatter bones, requiring extensive medical treatment and prolonged recovery periods.
  • Head Trauma and Traumatic Brain Injuries: Head injuries, mild concussions, or severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs can induce cognitive impairments, personality changes, and long-term disability.
  • Spinal Cord Damage and Paralysis: Damage to the spinal cord, potentially resulting in partial or complete paralysis. These life-altering injuries require ongoing medical care and adaptations to daily living.
  • Soft Tissue Damage and Lacerations: Deep cuts, bruises, and torn ligaments or tendons that provoke chronic pain and limited mobility.

Beyond the physical harm, scaffolding injuries also carry a profound emotional and psychological impact on workers and their families. The trauma of the accident, combined with the stress of mounting medical bills and lost income, can lead to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pursuing Compensation: Your Path to Recovery

If you were injured in a construction accident, you are entitled to several forms of compensation to help you rebuild your life.

Damage awards and settlements can remedy your:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for all medical costs related to your injury, including hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
  • Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity: Recovery of the income you lost due to your inability to work and compensation for any reduction in your future earning potential.
  • Pain and Suffering Damages: Compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by your injuries.
  • Other Damages: Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be eligible for additional forms of compensation, such as punitive damages or loss of consortium.

You should work with an experienced New York construction accident attorney who can guide you through the legal claims process and fight for your legal rights. Retaining legal counsel can also increase your chances of securing the full award you deserve.

What to Do After a Scaffolding Accident in NY

A successful New York scaffolding accident claim involves several key steps:

Seek Medical Attention

Your health and well-being should always be the top priority. Seek medical care immediately after the accident and follow your doctor’s treatment plan.

Report the Accident

Notify your employer and the property owner or contractor about the accident immediately. This reporting establishes a record of the incident and initiates the claims process.

Gather Evidence

Collect any evidence related to the accident, such as photographs of the scene, witness statements, and medical records. This proof is necessary for building a solid case.

Consult With an Injury Attorney

Partner with a personal injury lawyer who can assess your case, explain your legal options and develop a tailored strategy to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Remember, time is of the essence when filing a scaffolding accident claim. The New York Statute of Limitations for personal injury lawsuits is generally three years from the accident date. However, you should act quickly to ensure that evidence is preserved and your rights are fully protected.

Standing Up for Your Rights After a Scaffolding Accident

You do not have to face the construction accident challenges alone. The New York Scaffold Law gives you decisive protections to hold landowners and contractors accountable for your injuries.

By understanding the law and partnering with a skilled scaffolding accident attorney, you can take control of your situation and receive the payment needed to rebuild your life.

Don’t hesitate to seek help from the reputable New York construction accident law firm of Held, Held & Held. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case, learn about your options, and take the first step toward securing the legal support you need.

Remember, you have the right to a safe workplace, and when someone violates that right, you hold the power to stand up and fight.

Author Bio

Edward Held is the founding member of Held, Held & Held, a family-owned multi-practice law firm in Brooklyn, NY. With more than 40 years of experience, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including personal injury, real estate, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and estate law.

Edward received his Juris Doctor from New York Law School and is a former President of the New York Law School Alumni Association Board of Directors. He has received numerous accolades for his work and has been admitted into the Supreme Court of the United States and the New York State Courts.

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