New York Labor Law
New York Labor Law Section 240 includes some of the country’s most inclusive protection rights for employees who work at heights, such as construction workers. Workers must be provided with sturdy and safe equipment that is expressly meant for the task it is being used for. When an employer or supervisor does not follow the statute, or violates the statute, then that person can be held liable for any injuries that occur due to that negligence. The most common instances of falling in a construction site are from ladders, scaffolding, and roofs.
Falls from Ladders
Construction sites are a hotbed of activity, and much of that movement involves ladders, construction workers ascending and descending ladders, and many times, working while atop a ladder. Falls from ladders are one of the most common falls at a construction site, and can happen for many reasons, including structural defects or structural fatigue in the ladder, the base of the ladder slipping from not being adequately secured, the ladder becoming unstable with use, and metal ladders causing electrocution in the presence of an electrical current.
Because scaffolding is a temporary structure, often built in haste, with little planning, the risk of falls from scaffolding is higher than falls from other elevated structures in a construction site area. Scaffolding is built usually around the building structure that is being permanently erected, and will eventually be totally removed from the construction site. Falls from scaffolding or the collapse of scaffolding are very real dangers that construction workers face every day. Sections 240 and 241 of the New York Labor Law are often referred to as “Scaffold Laws” because these statutes allow those injured in a scaffolding accident to file a claim against the property owner and on-site contractor for damages, if eligible.
Types of Construction Accidents
Construction is a dangerous business and many construction workers are seriously injured or killed while simply doing their job on construction sites. If you or a loved one are ever injured in a construction accident do not hesitate in contacting an experienced Brooklyn construction accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel. Construction workers must deal with some of the most dangerous working conditions faced by employees in any industry. Regulations, specifications, inspection requirements, and job safety programs all seek to prevent construction site accidents and promote safety awareness on the part of all parties involved in a construction project. Unfortunately, even with these precautions accidents still occur due to the nature of the work itself. Some of the most common types of construction accidents include:
- Back or neck injury
- Burn injuries
- Electrical injuries or electrocution
- Auto collisions at construction sites
- Scaffold injuries
- Brain injury
- Crane accidents
- Trench accidents
- Equipment accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Superintendent negligence
- Wrongful death
Often, when an employee has been injured on a construction site, they are eligible to collect workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, many times this amount of money is not enough to cover all medical costs after an accident, and possibly not even cover lost wages. Construction site employees who have been injured at work may not only be eligible for workers’ compensation, but also be able to sue parties other than their employer for additional monetary damages. Parties that may be responsible for your injuries include:
- General contractor
- Owner of the building
- Construction or project manager
- Equipment manufacturers
Causes of Building Collapse
If the foundation of a building is not done properly, the entire structure of the building may be compromised, and the building is apt to collapse.
If the weight of the equipment or other items in a building is too heavy for the structure of the building, there is a danger of building collapse.
If the building design is not structurally sound to hold what is necessary inside the building, there is the chance of building collapse.
Types of Crane Accidents
The most common type of accident involving a crane at a construction site is the crane contacting a power line. This incident could lead to electrocution, and even death. Power line and crane connections cause the majority of crane accident fatalities. There are established guidelines, provided by OSHA for the use of attachments on overhead cranes. It is imperative that employers are familiar with these recommendations to help ensure the safety of all employees.
A crane is an extensive and complicated piece of equipment, involving many moving parts all working together to raise another, usually also very heavy, piece of equipment or supplies to a higher elevation. All safety precautions are a must when moving heavy equipment or supplies with a crane. Even so, accidents including dropped loads, crane tip-over, or operator errors can still occur.
Although using a crane at a construction site can make the job easier, it can also make the work more dangerous, and sometimes deadly. Cranes collapse due to high winds, contact with buildings or trees in the area, instability on the ground, and operator error. If you have been injured by a crane accident at a construction site, it is important to have an attorney on your side to ensure that you are able to receive just compensation for your injuries.
Construction Site Falling Objects Injury Causes
While on a construction site, gravity is one of the biggest dangers for the construction worker: objects may fall from elevated heights; a worker could fall from a roof, a ladder, or scaffolding. Another very dangerous situation is the movement within a construction site. There are many different activities happening, involving pushing, pulling, drilling, prying or the use of power tools. Any one of these can cause not only the equipment, but debris, to fly through the air and potentially injure a worker. Although this type of injury can be minimized by safety equipment, such as hard hats, there is still the possibility of serious injury due to falling objects, or even flying objects at a construction site.
Although precautionary systems are in place for securing dangerous objects in a construction site area, accidents can still happen, and in this type of situation, these accidents can cause serious injury, and sometimes even death. Many objects that fall in construction sites are unsecured or improperly secured objects from high elevations, for example:
- Power tools, such as heavy drills and nail guns
- Hammers and saws
- Building materials, such as lumber and drywall
- Heavy equipment such as pulleys, winches, and cables
Steps to Take After a Construction Accident
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) speculates that over 1,000 construction workers will suffer a work related death this year, most of which could have been prevented. Of these deaths, one third or over 300 deaths will result from construction site falls. The issue of who is responsible for ensuring compliance with OSHA regulations often turns on who was in control of the job site or job activity when the injured employee was hurt.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident at a construction site, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your legal rights:
- Seek medical attention for your injuries.
- Report the injury to your employee and construction site manager.
- Obtain the names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
- Try to preserve any evidence related to your injury, if possible. Take photographs of the area where you were injured. Keep equipment that was involved in your injury.
- Contact a Brooklyn construction accident attorney before giving any statements to insurance companies’ representatives about the construction site accident. Contact a construction accident attorney at the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel, LLC today at 212-564-2800. Our injury attorneys in Brooklyn will help you get the compensation you deserve for your loss.
Third Party Construction Accident Lawsuits
If you have been injured on a construction site you may be able to recover damages above workers’ compensation if it is shown that a third party is responsible for your injury. A third party in a construction site can be the owner of the property, a contractor, a sub-contractor, or even an equipment manufacturer. If your injury occurred on a construction site in the New York City area, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester, Naussau or Suffolk areas, you need the help of construction site attorney Jay S. Knispel. In most cases, New York State law does not allow for construction workers who have been injured on the job site to sue their employers, but there are oftentimes other parties responsible for the safety of a construction site, and those are called “third parties.” By law, an injured construction worker may file suit against a third party if it is shown that the injury was related to an act or lack of action by the responsible third party. Third parties responsible in construction site accidents can be:
- General Contractors
- Land or Building Owners
- Equipment Manufacturers
Construction Accidents FAQ
Q. Is there more than workers’ compensation available for construction workers injured on the site?
A. According to New York Labor Laws, the financial recovery against your employer will be limited to workers’ compensation. However, there may be other parties that are legally responsible for your injuries, including property owners, equipment manufacturers, or third-party contractors. There is the possibility to recover more than just workers’ compensation from these responsible parties.
Q. While working on a large construction project, I was injured. Can I sue the property owner?
A. The property owner is one party that may be liable if an injury occurred on the construction site. It is important to talk to your attorney about your unique circumstances to ensure that all parties responsible for your injury are held liable for their negligence.
Q. Is every injury that occurs at work covered by workers’ compensation?
A. For the most part, yes. Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide benefits to a worker without regard to fault. There are some exceptions to this however. Discuss your injuries with your attorney to determine if there is other compensation available to you than workers’ compensation for your injuries.
Q. I have been injured at work, and I believe that my employer has violated OSHA regulations. What effect will this have on my case?
A. Your attorney will be able to investigate your incident thoroughly and determine whether there was an actual violation, and whether that violation was the cause of your injury.
Q. Who is responsible for making sure the construction site where I work is safe?
A. The general contractor, the property owner, and/or sub-contractor (if there is one) may be responsible for ensuring the safety of workers at a construction site. The division of responsibility is not equally separated, and the extent of each parties liability in an accident will be determined through investigation.
Q. Should I consult an attorney to discuss my construction site injury claim?
A. Yes. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel, LLC specialize in construction site injury claims, and have the resources available to determine the cause of the incident and the liability of the parties involved. We will do what is necessary to ensure you recover the maximum damages available to you by law. Call today at 212-564-2800 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we collect for you.
Free Legal Consultation with Construction Accident Lawyers in Brooklyn
The New York construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel, LLC handle construction accidents throughout New York. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, New York City, Manhattan, and Queens. We will evaluate your case, advise you of your legal rights and determine the best course of action. Contact our office today for a free legal consultation.