Construction work is dangerous, but that doesn’t excuse construction companies, property owners, and others from taking reasonable steps to keep their workers safe. When they fail to do so, and a worker gets injured, that individual can recover damages caused by that failure. Construction falls at work sites is one of the most common types of accidents and can result in serious injury or death.
Although construction workers may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim, New York’s labor laws provide another avenue for recovery. Have you or a loved one been injured in a construction site fall? It’s time to call Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C.
How Do Construction Falls Happen?
Slips, trips, and falls all present a similar threat of injury to a construction worker. They can happen high off the ground or at surface level, resulting in vastly different injuries. After suffering a fall, it will be the victim’s duty to show that the responsible party (e.g. a general contractor) was negligent. That requires an understanding of the various ways that fall accidents happen, such as:
- Falls from damaged, inadequate, unguarded or defective scaffolding
- Falls off of ladders that are inadequate for the job being performed, defective or improperly placed
- Falls off of roofs
- Slips and falls caused by greasy, wet, icy, or otherwise slick surfaces
- Trips over extension cords, exposed wiring, and equipment
- Falls through unguarded or unmarked openings in floors, trenches, manholes, and other ground hazards.
- Uneven or broken steps and stairs
- Lack of fall protection, rails, or other safety features
- Defective safety harnesses
New York State Laws Concerning Construction Falls
If you’ve suffered a construction site fall, you may be able to recover significant money damages from the construction company, general contractor or subcontractors, property owners, and/or other parties that were responsible for your injuries. This is a separate claim from workers’ compensation and is directly impacted by the following three sections of the Labor Law of the State of New York:
Section 200. Owners and contractors have a general duty to keep their construction sites safe for construction workers and others at the worksite. This means providing a worksite that is constructed, equipped, arranged, operated, maintained and conducted in a manner that affords reasonable and adequate protection of workers’ safety, health, and lives. Machinery, equipment, and devices, as well as walkways, entrances and exits, must be set up, operated, lighted, and guarded in a way that meets this standard.
Section 240. This is the Scaffolding Law that requires contractors and owners to provide safety devices such as scaffolds, belts, ladders, blocks, helmets and the like, so that construction workers are properly protected. Failure to do so results in the contractor and owner being held responsible for the construction worker’s injuries caused by the failure.This section is applicable to falls from heights, like a fall from scaffolds, ladders, temporary or makeshift devices and roofs, or other falls from heights. This law gives significant rights to workers to obtain monetary awards from property owners, contractors, and others who violate its provisions and cause injury.
Section 241. Finally, Section 241 contains several safety rules designed to protect workers who are hurt while doing construction, demolition, or excavation work. Subsection 6 of this law requires that such work is to be carried out in a manner that provides reasonable and adequate protection to construction workers.The New York State Industrial Code, together with this section, provides certain standards that must be met.
The Danger Of Construction Falls
Falls are by far the leading cause of construction worker deaths in New York City. They accounted for 60% of fatal construction injuries from 2007 to 2016. Falls from scaffolding were the most common, followed by falls from ladders and then roofs. Injuries can be serious or even fatal, and include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Tears to the meniscus, tendons or ligaments
- Spinal cord injuries
- Herniated discs
- Bone fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
And those are just the physical consequences of a fall. These and related injuries can lead to severe mental and emotional complications such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional distress, problems related to substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and more.
Potential Damages In A Construction Fall Case
Together, the physical, mental, and emotional injuries resulting from a construction fall can cause the victim to amass significant medical bills. These include present and future expenses related to:
- Lab work
- Physical therapy
- Prescription drug medications
- Follow-up medical appointments
- Adaptive medical equipment (e.g. wheelchairs)
- Mental health counseling and therapy
- Home care
While you are recovering from your injuries or attending medical appointments, you will miss time from work. However, depending on the nature of your accident, you could be missing substantial work for the indefinite future. You may not even be able to return to your job as a construction worker–if you are able to work at all. The law allows injury victims to seek not only past and present lost wages but also lost future earnings. In other words, if the fall affects your ability to earn a living down the road, or has cut short a promising career, you may be able to recover from these losses.
Other damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, the permanent limitations you endure, and the changes in your life caused by your injuries and limitations If the victim dies from his or her injuries, there are certain wrongful death damages that eligible survivors may claim.
Contact Our New York Construction Fall Accident Attorney
Injured construction workers know they have a trusted legal ally in Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. When a client retains us, we immediately get to work investigating the cause of the accident and identifying all responsible parties. After a lawsuit has been filed, several discovery tools become available that help us obtain the evidence needed to prove your case.
We handle all aspects of the litigation process, as well as negotiations with the insurance companies. If a settlement cannot be reached that fairly compensates you for your losses, we are prepared to take your case before a jury. You deserve a law firm that has your back from start to finish and will treat you as we would want to be treated. Count on Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. to fight for you. Contact us today.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their construction fall claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.