Imagine walking on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens and seeing a huge object fall from the sky during your daily commute. A sort of black cloak coming at full speed. Apparently, it could be some strange solid.
Although, if we look more closely, it is nothing more than a group of scaffolding, which at first glance may be harmless, but falling from high altitudes is a safety hazard for the entire community. You may wonder if this kind of event is frequent in everyday life in New York. Unfortunately, yes. As Queens is an area of constant construction and building renovation, like the rest of New York, the entire area is vulnerable to scaffold accidents in construction.
In July of last year, Queens reported an event like this. Building officials issued a full-stop work order for a construction site in Queens where portions of a scaffold fell onto a sidewalk shed and two parked cars below, causing property damage but no injuries.
The Department of Buildings confirmed it was called to a two-story construction site on Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing. The sidewalk shed was in disarray in a video uploaded to the Citizen app. Building officials said debris covered two parked cars in front of the structure.
Damage was also done to a parapet wall. The site's general contractor received a citation for failing to protect the project and erecting pipe scaffolding against the New York City building code. The investigation is still ongoing.
Cases like the example above have come to our law firm offices in large numbers. We have seen the most unusual scenarios, where even safety measures had been taken into account, although a catastrophe could not be completely avoided. We know how to proceed in these cases, although it has taken us many years to identify the best tools and to identify the step-by-step to follow to make the legal strategy used in the most efficient way.
Due to the experience we have had over the years, we have felt a moral obligation to share all this valuable information with our community. At The Ward Law, we live to serve others. To serve our clients, to serve our colleagues, and to serve our community. These are the core values that accompany each of our activities.
The recent opening of our New York office brings us new challenges. One of these is to empower the most vulnerable populations with information that will help them recognize their rights.
The only way to build a better Queens for all is through mutual recognition and respect for the rights of all. Construction workers' rights matter. Immigrants' rights matter. No one should be deprived of their basic right to health care because of negligence that could have been prevented.
Perhaps we should ask the question again to make us aware of how dangerous the situation is: Can you imagine walking to work and a heavy object falling from the sky? What to do? Who to turn to if that object injures you?? Are those types of scaffolds falling from the air dangerous? What is the best way to proceed?
Many of the clients who have contacted us about their experiences with scaffolding accidents found it difficult to process what had happened. Many could not easily verbalize the events. In the beginning, it is normal that psychological therapy is part of the approach so that these people can understand what happened and integrate it into their lives.
At The Ward Law, we want to see you smile after an event of this magnitude. Join us to discover a little more about this type of fact, we want you to be a more informed citizen after reading this post, and we want you to know that you can turn to us when you find yourself in a situation that is harmful to your life.
We will be your best ally from start to finish.
Introduction to Scaffolding Accidents and Legal Assistance
Scaffolding accidents involve incidents where workers or individuals fall from scaffolding structures, or scaffolding collapses, leading to injuries. Common causes behind these accidents encompass various factors:
- Insufficient Fall Protection: Workers are not provided with proper fall protection equipment, such as harnesses or guardrails, leading to falls from elevated heights.
- Poorly Assembled Scaffolds: The stability or collapse of scaffolding structures can be caused by improper assembly or insufficient inspection.
- Neglected Maintenance: Accident risk can be increased by weakened scaffolding components caused by a lack of routine maintenance and repairs.
- Inadequate Training: Insufficient training in proper scaffolding usage and safety protocols can contribute to accidents.
- Hazardous Conditions: The risk of accidents can increase when working in bad weather or in congested areas.
- Unsecured Tools and Materials: Tools and materials falling from scaffolds due to improper securing can pose hazards to workers below.
- Substandard Equipment: The use of substandard scaffolding materials or equipment increases the likelihood of structural failure.
- Lack of Supervision: Workers who are using scaffolding may engage in unsafe behavior as a result of insufficient supervision.
- Communication Breakdown: Scaffolding accidents can be caused by poor communication between workers or a failure to adhere to instructions.
- Improper Work Practices: Reckless behavior, such as horseplay or improper positioning, can contribute to scaffolding accidents.
All these causes of these accidents are general ideas that can be identified after many years of analysis and study. However, it is not so easy to list all the causes, as sometimes it could be a new cause or a particular situation.
In the face of these events, it is of little use to pigeonhole oneself into a single possibility or a single way of interpreting what has happened. It is best to keep an open mind and be able to evaluate each case on a case-by-case basis.
That is what has worked so well for us over the years. Evaluate each case with thoroughness and dedication, without falling into vague general ideas and manuals to try to understand the reality.
At The Ward Law, we will defend your case with an individualized strategy that best suits your needs. Contact us now, and we will evaluate your situation for free. After that, you will know which path will be the right one to follow in your case.
The Importance of Legal Representation for Victims of Scaffolding Accidents
As we have said before, dealing with these processes without adequate legal representation can be complex and exhausting. Avoid wasting energy in vain. Delegate this process to the experts. Some points that support our position on always having competent legal counsel are as follows:
- Navigating Complex Legalities: Scaffolding accident cases involve intricate legal considerations, requiring expert guidance to interpret relevant laws and regulations.
- Establishing Liability: Liable parties, such as property owners or contractors, can be found and held accountable by specialized lawyers.
- Maximizing Compensation: Expert representation ensures victims pursue comprehensive compensation, covering medical costs, lost wages, and emotional distress.
- Workers' Compensation Expertise: Scaffolding accident lawyers understand workers' compensation laws and can guide victims through the claims process.
- Evidence Collection: Legal professionals gather crucial evidence, including inspection records and maintenance logs, to strengthen the case.
- Negotiating with Insurers: Experienced lawyers negotiate with insurance companies to secure just settlements that reflect the extent of damages.
- Providing Legal Support: Attorneys for scaffolding accidents ease the burden of the law, allowing victims to concentrate on their recovery while their case is expertly managed.
Differences Between General Personal Injury Lawyers and Those Specializing in Scaffolding Accidents in Queens:
- General Personal Injury Lawyers:
- Handle a broad spectrum of personal injury cases, lacking in-depth knowledge of scaffolding-specific regulations and safety protocols.
- Scaffolding Accident Lawyers:
- Possess specialized expertise in scaffolding-related cases, navigating the unique legal complexities of such accidents.
- Understand OSHA regulations, industry standards, and potential negligence factors specific to scaffolding incidents.
- Have a proven track record of successfully handling scaffolding accident cases, maximizing compensation for victims.
Liability and Legal Process
Complex legal issues arise from scaffolding accidents, including determining responsibility and pursuing victim compensation. The nuances of liability, the procedures involved in pursuing legal claims, and the impact of New York laws on scaffolding accident cases are all covered in this section.
Determining Liability in Scaffolding Accidents and Establishing Negligence
Determining liability in scaffolding accidents often revolves around establishing negligence, where parties fail to fulfill their legal duties, leading to the accident. Factors to consider include:
- Property Owners: Owners of real estate are in charge of keeping their properties safe, including any scaffolding, and making sure that all safety rules are followed.
- Contractors: Contractors overseeing construction projects are responsible for providing safe working conditions and adhering to safety protocols.
- Scaffolding Manufacturers: If faulty scaffolding equipment contributes to the accident, manufacturers may be held liable for defective products.
- Employers: Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers receive the necessary instruction, safety equipment, and enforcement of safety regulations.
- Co-Workers: Accidents may also be caused by coworkers' negligence, such as improper tool security.
Steps Involved in Pursuing a Legal Claim After a Scaffolding Accident
We know you love step-by-step guides; that's why we have grouped together the sequence of actions you should take if you would like to pursue a Legal Claim after a Scaffolding accident.
- Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize your health by seeking immediate medical care for your injuries.
- To gather evidence, make notes at the scene of the accident, take pictures, and interview witnesses.
- Report the Accident: Let your boss or employer know what happened, and fill out an accident report.
- Preserve Records: Maintain medical records, accident reports, and any correspondence related to the accident.
- Consult an Attorney: Obtain the services of a knowledgeable scaffolding accident lawyer who has experience in tons of construction accidents to assess your case and counsel you on your legal options.
- Case Evaluation: Your attorney will investigate the accident, assess liability, and determine the potential compensation.
- Negotiations: Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies and responsible parties to reach a fair settlement.
- Litigation: If necessary, your attorney will file a lawsuit and represent your interests in court.
How New York Laws Impact Scaffolding Accident Cases
The Scaffold Law (Labor Law 240) in particular plays a significant role in scaffolding accident cases. Due to this law, contractors, property owners, and their representatives are strictly liable for accidents involving falls from heights, including scaffolding-related accidents.
They must make sure that workers have access to the right safety precautions, tools, and training. The Scaffold Law improves the legal protections offered to victims of scaffolding accidents by allowing them to seek compensation for injuries brought on by risks associated with gravity.
Immediate Actions After a Scaffolding Accident
Just as you may be interested in what steps to take if you wish to file a scaffolding accident claim, you may also find it helpful to know what steps you should consider after you have been the victim of a similar event:
- Prioritize Safety: First and foremost, ensure your safety and that of others by moving to a safe area away from potential hazards.
- Call for Help: Dial emergency services to request medical assistance and, if necessary, notify law enforcement about the accident.
- Document the Scene: Use your smartphone or camera to take photographs of the accident scene, including the scaffolding, the surrounding area, and any potential contributing factors.
- Identify Witnesses: Collect contact information from witnesses who saw the accident occur or the condition of the scaffolding before the incident.
- Preserve Evidence: Avoid altering or moving any items related to the accident to preserve the scene for investigation.
- Report the Accident: Notify your employer or supervisor about the accident and request an accident report to be filed.
- Obtain Medical Attention: Seek immediate medical attention, even if injuries seem minor, as some injuries might not show symptoms immediately.
- Notify Family: Inform your family or loved ones about the accident, ensuring they are aware of your condition and whereabouts.
- Avoid Statements: Refrain from providing statements to insurance companies or others until you've consulted with an attorney.
- Consult an Attorney: Reach out to a specialized scaffolding accident attorney to receive legal guidance on your case.
Final thoughts on an unfortunate event
Christian principles and teachings have helped us through difficult and complicated events at The Ward Law Group. From starting in a small office to having a laptop as our only asset to being able to help hundreds of citizens in our community overcome painful situations in their lives. We have always found peace in the teachings of the Bible.
We want you to remember those teachings to sustain you in this challenging process: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything - (James 1:2-4 (NIV)”.
We know it's hard for you to understand now. You may wonder: Why me? What have I done to deserve it? Don't worry.
Don't saturate your mind with questions you can't process yet. Find the answers in a deeper state of consciousness.
Those answers only occur in the soul. You are not alone in this. God is watching over you.
And through us, his servants, you can have the human support you so desperately need. Contact us without fear; we will not charge you anything to hear your case.
We are not in this just for money. We are in it to help others and leave a better community for the present and the future. We want to make your pain lighter. It can be done when the will is there.