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Scaffolding Injury Lawyer in Brooklyn

Category: Construction Accidents

Falls and Construction Accidents in New York: Our Scaffolding Injury Lawyer in Brooklyn Explains Damages and Liability

Construction is one of the most important jobs in the United States, especially right here in New York and more specifically in the five boroughs.  It is also one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States.  According to statistics from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), of the 2.7 million workplace accidents each year in the United States, the construction industry accounts for roughly 175,000 of those injuries – one of the largest single industries responsible for injuries.  What is most shocking is that, of the roughly 5,300 workers that die each year in workplace accidents in the United States, construction accounts for 20% of all fatalities – almost 1,100 deaths.  The most common causes of these worker deaths in construction, according to OSHA, are known as the “fatal four.”  The most common of these fatal four are falls, which accounts for roughly 34% of all construction accident fatalities.  Although falls can be prevented, unfortunately they continue to happen far too often.  If you or a loved one suffered any of the fatal four, especially a fall in New York, call our scaffolding injury lawyer in Brooklyn for help.

Here at the O’Connor Law Firm, our personal injury law firm is dedicated to helping victims and their families recover the compensation that they need and deserve after a serious or devastating accident.  This is particularly true after falls from scaffolding or falls from an elevated height at a construction site, where injuries are often permanent, disabling, and often fatal.  These injuries affect not only the injured worker, but also his or her entire family.  That is why our construction accident lawyers offer a FREE consultation to all personal injury victims – especially those who have suffered any injury at a construction site in New York City.  If you or a loved one were injured, or if a loved one was wrongfully killed, in a fall off a scaffold, ladder, or from an elevated position, please call our experienced scaffolding injury lawyer in Brooklyn for help.

What We Can Fight to Recover for You in a Scaffolding Fall

Injured construction workers in a scaffolding collapse, ladder fall, or another type of construction accident may be entitled to damages in a personal injury lawsuit.  These “damages” are typically monetary compensation for the injuries and other expenses caused by a defendant’s negligence or statutory liability under the Labor Law. 

We can help you and your family recover compensation for these types of damages in a scaffolding accident or another type of fall:

  • Past pain and suffering
  • Future pain and suffering
  • Medical bill reimbursement
  • Future medical bill payments (including for future surgeries)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earnings if you are unable to work in the same job and must take a lower-paying job
  • Loss of consortium and relations or society with a spouse
  • Loss of society, love and affection with other family members, including parents, children, siblings, and other dependents
  • Compensation for modifications to a home or vehicle
  • Punitive damages in rare and particularly egregious instances of negligence or misconduct
  • Wrongful death, including burial costs, funeral expenses, and loss of future income
  • Preimpact terror for certain types of falls, and
  • Other damages caused by the defendant or defendants that is related to your accident which our scaffolding injury lawyer in Brooklyn could recover for you.

Liability in a Scaffolding Fall in New York

In order to recover these damages in a construction accident such as a fall, victims and their families must establish liability.  New York law has enacted very strict statutes to protect workers on construction sites from avoidable harm under the Labor Law.  This is particularly true for scaffolding accidents and falls from a height – the most common “fatal four” as noted above.

Specifically, Labor Law section 240 is a “strict liability” statute and is also known as the “scaffolding law.”  Strict liability means that, when the violation of this statute results in the harm that the statute sought to protect, the law automatically establishes liability on a defendant.  Under Labor Law section 240 (1), owners and contractors must protect workers from gravity-related injuries such as falls from a ladder, scaffolding, or any other elevated platform or location.  This means that owners and contractors must provide proper safety protections such as harnesses, ropes, and scaffolding.

There are two other sections of the Labor Law that also apply.  These are Labor Law section 200, which is a general negligence statute and requires owners and contractors to exercise reasonable care in preventing others from harm at a job site.  The other is Labor Law section 241, which contains specific provisions setting forth how certain types of construction apparatus (like scaffolding) must be constructed, how certain work must be performed, and certain methods which must be utilized by owners and contractors to keep workers safe.

If you have fallen from a scaffolding or any other height, our scaffolding injury lawyer in Brooklyn will usually assert all three types of Labor Law sections to help prove your case.  Because, oftentimes, all three will apply in one form or another.

Exceptions to the Labor Law that the Defense Often Improperly Use

There are very few exceptions to liability in the Labor Law, although defense lawyers will try to use all of them – even exceptions that do not apply – in order to not pay injured workers who are truly harmed by a defendant’s negligence or wrongful conduct.  The most common exception is liability on an owner in a one or two-family dwelling that do not control or direct the work.  However, there is a growing body of caselaw that says, where an owner is trying to use a residence for primarily other purposes such as business (like app/online rentals), an owner may still be liable.  This is particularly true of second houses, or houses that have an office attached to them.  It is not, however, usually enough for a remote home office.

Another common, and often misapplied, exception is when a worker is the sole proximate cause of his or her injuries.  This applies when the defendant has done nothing wrong and the worker is 100% at fault.  An example would be when a worker goes to a job site with his own defective ladder, puts the ladder on unstable ground before the workday starts and is allowed to start working, and climbs the ladder barefoot and without any other safety equipment – causing the ladder to fall.  As you can see from this example, the worker was likely the sole proximate cause – which you can also see takes a lot of miscues from a worker to apply (something that just does not normally happen at a worksite).

Lastly, there is also the recalcitrant worker defense, which means that a worker was given safety equipment and told to use it, but refused and was injured because of his or her own recklessness in not using available and working equipment.  This exception is also used and often misapplied because owners and construction workers will almost always blame every worker as recalcitrant.

Injured in a Construction Fall?  Call Our Scaffolding Injury Lawyer in Brooklyn for Help

After suffering serious personal injuries in a construction accident in New York, particularly right here in Staten Island, Brooklyn, New York City, The Bronx, Queens, Long Island, and in surrounding areas, please call our scaffolding injury lawyer in Brooklyn to learn more about how we can help you and your family.  We offer FREE consultations and offer personalized and dedicated service to each one of our clients; you are not just a file number here like at other law firms.  To schedule your FREE consultation with the O’Connor Law Firm, call (718) 948-3500 or send us an email through our “Contact Us” box available here