Construction Accidents

Scaffold Accidents

Labor Law Actions

In New York, there are special provisions of the Labor Law that provide injured construction workers with protection from unsafe work practices. Broadly speaking, employers owe construction workers a duty to provide safe work environment, include non-defective scaffolds, hoists, ladders and other similar devices. Collectively, these laws are often referred to as the Labor Law.

If you find yourself injured on a construction site, you are likely to have a series of questions:

  •  Who should pay for my damages?
  •  What are my legal options?
  •  Will I lose my right to work in construction if I file a lawsuit?
  •  What is the “Scaffold Law”?

The Scaffold Law

The Scaffold Law requires contractors, owners and agents, with some small exceptions to keep workers safe from on-the-job falls when they are on the job. When construction workers are engaged in the act of in the act of erecting, repairing, demolishing, altering, cleaning, painting, or pointing a structure or building, the employers and contractors are bound to provide the necessary and safe equipment (such as proper scaffolding, ladders, hoists, etc.).

In most states, injured workers will only receive a workers compensation benefit. They will not have the ability to recover from their employer at all. The Scaffold Law, however, has existed in New York for over a century. It has survived the great periods of construction that have made New York City such a magnificent achievement of steel and concrete. Courts have consistently interpreted the statute, and Section 240(1) in particular, as granting injured workers the absolute right to bring civil suits against contractors and property owners responsible for the job site safety. These contractors and owners are held strictly liable for the injuries. This means that the worker (or surviving family) does not need to prove that the contractor or owner was negligent. An employer might be liable to an injured worker or a worker’s family even if there were OSHA or local safety code violations.

Construction is often a dangerous line of work. You’re usually dealing with hefty equipment, equipment that shoots nails, or cutting equipment. You’re moving pieces of lumber, rock, or steel. There’s a good chance you’re working high off the ground, perhaps on a multi-story skyscraper. The risks are obvious, and they’re everywhere. We don’t need to tell you — there are regulations and signs everywhere, and you’ve got the helmets on your heads to prove it. Federal site inspectors from OSHA come around every so often, and construction sites are also subject to state safety rules. But no matter how cautious you may be as an individual, accidents will sometimes happen. Workers will get hurt. Sometimes workers will suffer fatal accidents on the job. It happens more than many New Yorkers realize.

When that’s the case, injured workers should be compensated. A law has been custom-made for those sitting in your very same position. All that’s required is setting up a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys and figuring out whether or not you want to move forward. The rest of your life is in your hands.

The Labor Law protects those who work at high heights and elevation. Falls from heights are frequent causes of workplace and job site accidents. Countless workers are injured or killed in such falls every year. Many of these were entirely preventable. At the very least, those responsible for the errors that resulted in the falls, are made to compensate the victims and their families.


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