New York City has a number of construction projects that require workers to work at extreme heights. There are many hazards that construction workers must encounter, but one of the most serious is the risk of falls, or being hit by a heavy falling object. Usually you are limited to recovering workers' compensation benefits from your employer for a workplace injury, but there is a special law in place to protect workers harmed in construction falls. At Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP, our New York City construction fall lawyers may be able to help you recover damages if you are hurt at an unsafe work site.Types of Construction Falls
There are many different ways that construction falls can happen. It may be the case that a worker falls from a roof or an open window. In other cases, a worker may fall from a hoist. Sometimes a crane collapses. A worker may fall from collapsing scaffolding. A worker may fall through an opening or an unfinished area of a floor. A worker could fall into a trench that is being excavated. Sometimes workers fall from many feet above ground and suffer catastrophic injuries or even death.
Often, workers suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of a construction fall. They may suffer back injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, fractured bones, broken feet or limbs, and traumatic brain injuries. In some cases, they may need to undergo surgery in addition to rehabilitation and physical therapy. They may never work in their chosen industry again, and their families may suffer as a result of the fall.
New York Labor Law section 240 provides workers with the right to sue the owner of the project, the general contractor, and the building owner for damages. A construction fall attorney can help New York City workers recover compensation for all of their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, even in cases in which they were partly to blame, and even when they would ordinarily be limited to workers' compensation because they are an employee of the general contractor or owner.
Section 240 applies to many types of structures, including three-family homes, commercial buildings, and apartment buildings. It applies to the work of repairing, demolishing, erecting, altering, pointing, painting, or repairing a building. There are some limits to situations in which section 240 applies. It does not apply to one- or two-family homes at which the property owner does not direct or control the work. If, for example, a homeowner serves as the general contractor for the project and supervises the subcontractors, however, section 240 would apply. Neither decorative nor maintenance work is covered. For example, if you fell while changing light bulbs outside an apartment building, this is likely not covered by section 240, and you would be limited to workers' compensation as an exclusive remedy.
A New York City construction fall attorney would not be able to obtain damages under section 240 if the worker was the only reason for the fall, but in most cases, multiple causes combine to cause a fall. Perhaps somebody did not give the worker a proper scaffold, did not provide warning cones by an open area, did not provide a safety harness, or provided a poorly maintained crane. In those cases, the worker can recover damages even if they would have been considered comparatively negligent.
Employers that fail to ensure worker safety in connection with gravity-related falls should be held responsible. They are supposed to provide their workers with various safety mechanisms, such as a full-body harness, a lanyard to minimize the distance of the fall, a vertical lifeline, and scaffolds with an arrest system. When these are provided, a worker may be able to stay suspended after a fall without suffering serious internal injuries due to limited blood flow.Consult a Construction Fall Lawyer in the New York City Area
During a construction fall in New York City, you may suffer serious injuries. Often, cases arising out of section 240 are heavily contested, making it crucial to secure knowledgeable legal representation. Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP provides diligent advocacy in construction accident lawsuits. We represent people in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or complete our online form to set up your appointment.