Scaffolding Accidents

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Queens Scaffolding Accident Lawyers

Millions Recovered For Work Accident Victims Across NYC

Scaffolds are common on New York City jobsites, from the biggest buildings in Manhattan to the brownstones and bodegas in Brooklyn. But while these structures are vital to projects that require workers to perform jobs from heights, they’re also a leading cause of workplace accidents.

If you or someone you love were injured in a scaffold accident, our Queens scaffolding accident attorneys at the Harris Firm, LLC can help explore your options for recovering compensation.

As a firm devoted exclusively to fighting on behalf of injured workers across New York City, we have extensive experience helping clients injured in scaffolding accidents fight for fair recoveries in both workers’ compensation claims and civil personal injury lawsuits. Whatever your case involves, we have what it takes to help.

Our award-winning legal team serves workers and families in all five NYC boroughs and beyond. Call (718) 487-8669 or contact us online to request a FREE consultation.

Scaffold Accidents Statistics

Scaffolds are used by many trades for jobs ranging from small repairs, renovations, and façade work to big projects on skyscrapers and mega structures. OSHA estimates scaffolds are used by over 2.3 million workers, including painters, window washers, carpenters, masons, electricians, riggers, and maintenance workers.

Unfortunately, OSHA also estimates that nearly 5,000 workers are injured each year in accidents involving scaffolds. This includes serious and fatal injuries resulting from:

  • Falls from heights
  • Scaffolding collapse
  • Falling objects
  • Unsecured or improperly assembled scaffolding
  • Inadequately trained workers / lack of safety equipment
  • Defective products

With a thriving construction industry and plenty of tall structures, New York City sees numerous scaffolding accidents every year. According to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), these accidents commonly involve injuries or deaths caused by collapsing scaffolding or falls from suspended and supported scaffolds. Many also occur during the performance of façade repairs.

New York Labor Law § 240: The NY Scaffold Law

Construction workers and other tradespeople who use scaffolding in New York enjoy some of the nation’s strongest workplace protections. Not only do these laws set standards for creating safe worksites, but they also provide for absolute liability against property owners and contractors when workers are harmed in accidents involving ladders, cranes, and other gravity-related hazards.

Notably, this includes scaffolds, which are covered by New York Labor Law § 240.

NY Labor Law § 240, which is also known as the New York Scaffold Law, is an important law for workers who perform job duties using scaffolding and other equipment that pose height-related hazards (such as ladders, hoists, hangers, blocks, and pulleys). Some notable features of the law include:

  • Safety Requirements. Labor Law § 240 places the burden of creating a safe worksite squarely on property owners and contractors. Under the law, these parties must:
    • Construct, place, and operate scaffolding in a manner that properly protects workers who use them.
    • Keep scaffolds upright and prevent scaffolding from collapsing.
    • Equip scaffolding with appropriate safeguards, such as guardrails.
    • Provide workers with proper PPE, such as lifelines or harnesses, when necessary.
    • Comply with requirements applicable to scaffolds used for projects more than 20 feet above ground, including requirements for safety rail placement and proper fastening.
  • Strict Liability. Labor Law § 240 is significant in that is allows for property owners and contractors to be held strictly liable for damages suffered by workers injured in scaffold accidents.
    • Strict liability is a legal theory that allows victims to recover damages without having to prove that the other party was negligent in causing harm.
    • For workers injured on the job, Labor Law § 240’s strict liability component provides a viable means to recovering full and fair compensation, including damages that are otherwise unavailable through a workers’ compensation claim.

Can I File a Labor Law § 240 Claim For My Scaffold Accident?

If you were injured in a scaffolding accident in New York City, you may have grounds to pursue a claim under Labor Law § 240 and recover compensation from the responsible property owner or contractor. You may have a potential claim if:

  1. You were working with or around scaffolding on a worksite at the time of your injury.
  2. The property owner and contractor are subject to New York Labor Law. While most premises owners and contractors are subject to Labor Law § 240, some – including owners of one and two-family dwellings who don’t direct or control the work being performed – are not.
  3. The owner, contractor, or their agents violated Labor Law, resulting in your injury.

It can be difficult to determine when Labor Law § 240’s strict liability applies to a scaffold accident and how to best proceed with a claim, which is why it’s best to consult with attorneys who have experience in this niche practice area.

While speaking to an attorney is the best way to evaluate whether you have a case, there are examples of common scenarios that give rise to these types of claims that can help you better assess whether you’re covered. For example, § 240 claims may involve:

  • Falling workers: Labor Law § 240 requires contractors to provide appropriate safety gear, such as harnesses and guardrails, to construction workers who perform jobs on scaffolds. Violations that lead to falls can be grounds for a claim.
  • Falling objects: Contractors that fail to ensure, properly mount, and hoist materials used on scaffolds could be held liable for resulting injuries under the § 240 statute.
  • Unstable material: Unsecured floorboards and railings on suspended or supported scaffolds are violations of Labor Law § 240. Owners and contractors must take measures to ensure the stability of scaffolds, stairways, and decks.
  • Collapsing structures: Much like providing stable materials, owners and contractors must also ensure that scaffolds are properly erected and stabilized to keep workers from falling. Scaffolding collapses are a common basis for pursuing these claims.

Other Options For Compensation After a Scaffolding Accident in NYC

In addition to pursuing claims under Labor Law § 240, injured workers may have other viable courses of legal action to recover compensation. Some examples include:

  • Workers’ Compensation Claims, which can be filed in addition to a civil claim. Workers’ compensation can provide immediate support in the form of medical and wage supplementation benefits while a civil claim is pending, and don’t require injured workers to prove that someone was at fault in causing their accident.
  • Other Labor Law claims. Victims injured in scaffolding accidents may be able to hold property owners and contractors liable under other sections of New York Labor Law, including Labor Law § 200, which applies to the general obligations of owners and contractors when it comes to providing a safe worksite, and Labor Law § 241(6), which applies to obligations for providing safe equipment to workers involved in construction, demolition, and excavation work.
  • Third-Party Claims. Some workers may have the ability to file third-party liability claims against individuals or entities that negligently caused their accidents or, in the case of product makers, who also bear strict liability for injuries. These parties may be subcontractors, private motorists, manufacturers of defective products, or others (provided they are not the employer) who caused a scaffolding accident

The Harris Firm, LLC has extensive experience handling all types of claims and legal actions following workplace accidents, including those involving scaffolding. Our attorneys can review the specifics of your accident to help you understand what options may be available to you.

Compensation For Workers Injured in Scaffold Accidents

Successful civil claims allow injured workers to recover compensation that isn’t available through the workers’ comp system, such as damages for emotional injuries and certain types of financial losses. Examples of recoverable damages include:

  • Past and future medical bills and expenses
  • Lost earnings and benefits and lost future income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium (suffered by a spouse)
  • Wrongful death
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

Pursuing civil lawsuits after a workplace accident doesn’t prevent an injured worker from collecting benefits through an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, workers who receive benefits throughout workers’ comp and recover compensation from a personal injury suit arising from the same accident may be subject to reimbursement of certain expenses that were covered by workers’ compensation.

As a firm that handles both workers’ compensation and civil workplace injury claims, the Harris Firm, LLC can help you understand how these two processes work and how we can fight to maximize your compensation.

Trust Proven Queens Scaffolding Accident Attorneys

The Harris Firm, LLC is an award-winning practice with a passion for fighting on behalf of injured workers and their families. Backed by decades of experience, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and have amassed incredible insight into the complexities of New York’s Labor Law, workers’ compensation, and personal injury claim process. If you were injured in a work accident involving scaffolding anywhere in Queens or New York City, we’re available to help.

To discuss a case and how we can help, give us a call at (718) 487-8669 or contact us online. We offer FREE consultations and don’t collect a fee unless we win.

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