New York City is perhaps the most iconic image of high-rise construction. You would be hard-pressed to walk around any of the boroughs and not see some scaffolding or a crane at work. Every day thousands of construction workers brave the heights to work on different projects, and one misstep or failed harness could lead to tragedy. Fortunately, injured workers and their family members have options after falls from height. A New York construction accident attorney can help recover compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Call Buttafuoco & Associates today: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
How Fall Accidents Occur
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals the majority of fall accidents at work occur due to:
- Slippery, cluttered, or unstable surfaces
- Unsafely positioned ladders
- Holes in floors and walls
- Misused fall protection safety equipment
While workers’ compensation should cover any fall from a height suffered at your construction site, an additional legal claim might be applicable if the fall was preventable and due to another’s negligence.
When Negligence Causes a Fall from a Height
A 2013 study by Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) revealed a fall from a height was the cause of 291 of the 828 total construction deaths that year. OSHA has a three-step plan for preventing falls:
Your employer should plan ahead to complete the job safely. Planning includes budgeting for safety equipment and allocating time for training and safe set-up. Your employer should provide you with safety equipment compliant with OSHA and New York state safety standards. Finally, your employer should provide proper training on safety equipment use and safety standards on the construction site.
Potential Injuries from a Fall
Skeletal injuries are one of the most common results of a fall from a height. Skull or head injuries can cause brain damage and lead to the end of your career due to cognitive impairment.
Spinal injuries can make returning to work impossible as they often cause paralysis or long-term disability.
Arms, legs, and ribs are also commonly at risk during a fall. Recovering from an injury to your arms, legs, or ribs can keep you out of work for weeks or even months.
Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Claims
When a fall from a height occurs at a construction site, you will be able to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage works as long as you are on the clock and performing work-related duties.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation only covers your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have another option. If your fall was the result of a third-party’s negligence, you may be able to file a third-party claim. Some examples of third-party negligence include:
- The scaffolding company failed to anchor the base of the scaffolding, which collapsed under you.
- A ladder company manufactured a faulty ladder whose locking hinge became loose while in use.
- An architect who designed a platform without adequate braces for weight.
In most cases you are unable to file suit against your employer if he has workers’ compensation insurance (i.e., he guarantees to pay your medical bills and a portion of your wages, you agree to not sue him); however, New York has an exception. The Scaffold Law allows you to sue your employer (or the property owner) if you are injured in a “gravity-related” accident. For more information about whether this law applies to your case, call the construction accident attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates.
How do I get help filing my claim?
Seeking damages for injuries after a fall from a great height can be difficult, especially because those injuries are often catastrophic. Fortunately, you are not alone. A New York construction accident attorney can help you file a claim against a third party or simply ensure your employer gives you the compensation you need and deserve in a workers’ compensation claim.
Buttafuoco & Associates is here to help injured construction workers and their families recover after a serious or fatal fall from a height. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule your free case review.