Almost all construction projects may need scaffolding to perform different tasks to finish the building they are working on. The duties may include painting and plastering, although they may also be used in plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work.
Working at height is extremely dangerous. Therefore, workers must always follow safety guidelines to avoid fatal accidents. Multiple things can go wrong while working over a scaffold.
Workers not using a proper harness and securing it every time they are over the scaffold or climbing them may be the leading cause of construction workers falling. Defective materials on parts of the platform may lead to the collapse of the temporary structure, leading to injuries or the potential death of users.
If you or a loved one have suffered severe injuries in a scaffolding accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. However, there might be multiple parties involved, and they most likely will present resistance to paying for the accident consequences.
A scaffolding accident lawyer can battle any argument that potentially liable people will state to give you the least amount of money possible.
Keep reading to discover how to battle against tough arguments and learn about what specific laws in New York exist to support if you were injured or if a loved one died in a scaffolding accident.
Scaffolding Laws In New York
Fortunately, workers in New York are protected by a specific labor law section. Section 240. talks about how property owners or general contractors are responsible for ensuring that every worker performing tasks over a scaffold has all necessary and appropriate safety equipment and that the scaffolding used in the construction site is built correctly.
The law recognizes the extreme dangers of working on a scaffold, so this labor law section 240 was enacted in 1885. Back then, they were concerned about unsafe conditions for employees who worked at heights.
All construction that attempts to perform duties on heights must follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines concerning scaffolds. They are the General Requirements for Scaffolds.
It contains information about the scaffold’s capacity, the construction of the platform, and the criteria for supported and suspended platforms. Moreover, it states the requirements for access, use, fall protection, and falling object protection.
It is essential to follow this document since it will help prevent workplace accidents.
In contrast to other types of accidents in a construction site where employees can’t file a lawsuit directly against their employers because of the worker compensation insurance program, New York’s scaffolding law allows them to, and this law makes it strictly liable to property owners or general contractors of the building project.
New York’s scaffolding law applies to injuries involving:
- Hoists and
These tools are often used when working in demolition, erection, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning, or pointing at a building or structure. The law protects you if you get injured in any of these activities.
Types of Scaffolding Used in New York’s construction sites
There are two types of materials are used to build these temporary constructions.
Wood scaffolding is a type of supported scaffold in which every structural component, from uprights to braces to platforms, is made of wood; there are two standards for wood scaffolding, the single-pole and the double-pole, where the main difference is where they are built, in the inside of a building structure, or they are external to the main building.
Wood scaffolding is considered old-fashioned because it needs to be built from scratch and can’t be easily reused; therefore, it is rarely used nowadays.
Steel scaffolding is the most common type that is used in construction sites. They are easy to install and can be used in different construction sites. Construction workers must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to build them correctly.
These scaffoldings are made of steel tubes, the primary building blocks; they are interconnected using couplers and fittings to form the scaffolding frame.
Diagonal steel tubes are also used to create cross-bracing between the vertical members of the scaffolding. This helps improve the stability and rigidity of the structure.
They have a metal platform, also known as a scaffold board, to create a working surface for the workers. One of the strict requirements is about the foundation. Each scaffolding building needs a base plate or adjustable base jacks that provide a stable foundation and distribute the weight evenly to the ground.
These scaffolds are engineered to bear up to 4 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted. Some of them are designed with wheels to allow easy movement of the scaffolding when required.
When using mobile scaffolds, all the workers must be out of the platform to move it.
Liable Parties of a Scaffold Injury Claim
Workers’ compensation insurance programs are set up for every employee by law. In a construction project, this program is vital due to the high probability of accidents involving this activity. This program shields employers from being sued by workers who get injured. Still, it provides quick compensation to any worker injured at a workplace without having the requirement of demonstrating there was a negligent party.
However, other parties who are not the injured worker’s direct employer might be involved in the accident. In those cases, the injured worker can get compensation from the workers’ comp and by filing a lawsuit against the liable third party, although they need proof of that third party’s negligence.
When it comes to scaffold-related injuries, there is a whole different story. Section 240 of labor law sets strict liability to the property owner and general contractor of a building project if one of the workers is injured or dies in a scaffolding accident.
In scaffolding-related accidents, the victim is entitled to receive compensation by filing a lawsuit against the direct employer. This condition allows the victim also to receive compensation for noneconomic damages for the severe injuries that are more likely to be suffered in these types of accidents.
That represents a better compensation value to the victim because the regular workers’ comp insurance program may not be sufficient to cover all the expenses. When these types of accidents happen, the defendant will use all the available measures to decrease the compensation given to the victim.
A scaffolding injury lawyer is your best backup when filing a lawsuit of this type. If you are a survivor of a scaffolding accident, you can obtain full coverage for your damages and future expenses, or if a loved one died, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
These cases can be complicated and can last several months; defendants may use different tactics to stop you or at least to give you less compensation. Therefore, you need an experienced scaffolding accident attorney to fight against those tactics and bring justice to you and your family.
As compensation, you are entitled to receive economic and noneconomic damages. Those damages include:
- Medical bill
- Prescription medication
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Future earning loss
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of a bodily function
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Contact Your Scaffolding Injury Lawyer
The Ward Law Firm is a scaffolding accident law firm that counts on experts with vast knowledge in these cases. With over a decade of representing injured people from construction accidents and also representing families who have lost a family member due to the dangerous activities and unsafe environments provided by the victim’s employers, our scaffolding injury attorneys have won multi-million dollar claims and have gained the respect of New York citizens as great advocates.
If you or a loved one has suffered severe injuries in a scaffolding accident, do not hesitate to contact our legal team, which has been providing human service to an injured victim. We commit to the Spanish-speaking community and will be there during challenging times.
Receive a free consultation of your case by calling 855-DOLOR-55 or writing a message to our online chat.