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Understanding NYC Scaffolding Law

New York Labor Law - The Scaffold Law

In New York City, the NYC Scaffolding Law holds contractors or property owners responsible if an employee receives an injury in a gravity-related fall due to improper safety equipment. Lawmakers enacted the Scaffold Law nearly 140 years ago and despite some controversy, it remains in effect.

The law is section 240 of New York Labor Law and says that property owners and contractors must provide protection for anyone working above the ground. Scaffolding that is 20 feet or higher above the ground must have a safety railing that is at least 34 inches high.

Other worker safety rules in New York’s scaffold law include stating that the railing must not sway, must enclose the entire non-working portion of the scaffolding, and that the scaffolding must be able to hold four times the advertised maximum weight. If any of these things do not hold true, an injury may occur, and injured workers may need help from a scaffolding accident lawyer.

Causes and Types of Gravity-Related Injuries

While it is called the NYC Scaffolding Law, the law actually covers a wider range of injuries. Naturally, it protects someone who falls from a scaffold, but there are other situations to consider as well.

  • Falling Objects – Paint cans, tools, or other items on scaffolds or any other platform above the ground must be secure. If they fall and injure a worker, the worker can file a claim against the property owner or general contractor.
  • Falling Workers – A worker who falls and receives an injury can also file a claim. All workers must receive safety gear when working above the ground, including harnesses and lanyards.
  • Unstable Materials – All railings and floorboards that are above the ground should receive routine maintenance checks. All items must be secure. Unsecure safety hazards pose a threat and any worker injured because of them can file a claim.

There are several types of injuries that may occur due to the above mentioned issues. They range in severity from minor lacerations and sprains to broken bones or much worse. Some common injuries include damage to the organs, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Severe injuries can lead to lost wages, a serious change in the quality of life, or even death. If you or someone you love received an injury due to faulty scaffolding, it is important to talk to a scaffolding accident lawyer as soon as possible.

How a New York Scaffolding Accident Lawyer Can Help Construction Workers

Even if you are receiving workers’ compensation because of your fall at a job site, you still have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third party, such as a subcontractor, property owner, or general contractor. The only people you cannot sue during a workers’ compensation claim is your employer.

Of course, filing any kind of lawsuit is a lengthy progress with a lot of red tape and deadlines. Hiring a scaffolding accident lawyer makes the process easier for you. Our accident attorneys are adept at working their way through all the red tape with insurance companies and government agencies. 

Our law firm can help you navigate complicated paperwork, meet all of your deadlines, and so much more. We are also knowledgeable about the statute of limitations and how which third party you’re going up against may factor into the statute. For example, if you are filing against a government entity, you typically have less time to file the paperwork and get the ball rolling.

What To Expect During a Court Case

There are several steps to a personal injury lawsuit. First, your attorney files the complaint and the court serves the defendant with a notice. This can take a month or longer, but the papers will tell the defendant how long he or she has to respond to the claims. The defense’s attorney may recommend settling out of court, at which point the two parties will try to reach an agreement about compensation. If they don’t reach one, then the pre-trial and discovery portion of the case begins.

During the discovery process, the two sides share evidence, witness information, and more. There will be depositions and interviews on both sides to ensure everyone has all the same information. This will continue until the date of the trial.

If the two sides do not reach a settlement during pre-trial, the case goes before the judge. The judge and jury will hear the information from both sides and may listen to testimony from expert witnesses. Finally, the jury decides if the plaintiff deserves compensation and if so, in what amount.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you received an injury due to a violation of NYC scaffolding law, now is the time to contact a New York scaffolding accident lawyer. Get in touch with the professionals at William Schwitzer & Associates to schedule your consultation

What To Expect During a Court Case

Scaffolding Accident Lawyer in New York

Any construction worker in New York City is familiar with the use of scaffolding at a construction site. Considering the nature of NYC construction sites, scaffolding is necessary, albeit dangerous.

Labor laws, more specifically the Scaffold Law, protect construction workers by requiring contractors and property owners to maintain a standard of safety on scaffolds at 20 feet or higher.

If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one because someone violated the duty of care owed to construction workers, you may benefit from the help of a scaffolding accident lawyer.

Value of a Scaffolding Accident Claim

Value of a Scaffolding Accident Claim

Any claim involving personal injury bases the claim’s value on the damages you can recover.

Some recoverable damages include:

  • The cost of current and future medical treatment, including hospitals stays, doctor visits, and ambulances expenses
  • Lost income due to current and future missed work, including loss of earning ability
  • Costs associated with long-term care, including household help and continued therapies
  • The mental and emotional distress related to pain and suffering
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life as you did before your injuries
  • Funeral and burial costs if the accident caused death

A scaffolding injury attorney can help you adequately value the subjective damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment.

Liability in Scaffolding Accidents

When accidents occur on the job, you generally turn to workers’ compensation insurance.

But workers’ compensation laws are complicated, and employers are not the only possibly liable party. Others may include:

  • Third-party vendors
  • The property owner
  • Architects
  • The company that installed the scaffolding
  • Developers or general contractors
  • Equipment manufacturers

Sometimes cases involve more than one at-fault party. You may have a case with multiple defendants or even multiple cases for one accident. A scaffolding accident attorney can evaluate the details of your case and help you better understand your legal options for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Complying With Scaffolding Safety Standards

Complying With Scaffolding Safety Standards

To pass inspection, scaffolding in New York must meet the following safety standards according to New York labor laws:

  • Before use, clear any slip and fall hazards, such as snow, ice, oil, debris, and tools.
  • The job superintendent must delegate the responsibility of daily inspection to a project engineer, manager, or any other person of authority on the job.
  • Scaffolding must be safe from passing vehicles.
  • No one should make changes to scaffolding without permission.
  • When intending to use scaffolding, post a notice in an obvious place.
  • Never allow excess materials to pile up on a scaffold.

Any violation of these standards could result in a valid claim if an accident occurs. Speak with a scaffolding injury attorney if you have any questions about your accident or the injuries you sustained, or if a wrongful death occurred to a loved one.

Hiring a New York Scaffold Accident Attorney

Hiring a New York Scaffold Accident Attorney

The professionals at the William Schwitzer & Associates law firm can help guide you through this difficult time. We will fight to recover any losses you suffered.

Because we understand the financial burden that comes with medical bills and lost wages, we handle your case on contingency, which means that there is no attorney fee for us unless we recover compensation for you. We strive to build a strong and helpful attorney-client relationship with injured workers.

For more information and to speak to a scaffolding accident lawyer today, contact William Schwitzer & Associates for a free consultation.