Any fall over about 30 feet high is almost always fatal, but a fall even from a low scaffold can be enough to make a worker permanently disabled. Scaffold accidents and other fall-based accidents are among the most common causes of injury in the building trades.
If you’ve fallen off of a scaffold at work or had something fall off a scaffold and hit you, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with the help of our Albany scaffold accident lawyers. Morelli Law may also file a lawsuit for you under New York Labor Law 240.
Causes of Scaffold Accidents
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that scaffold-related accidents harm 4,500 people and kill around 60 people every year. Out of all work-related fall fatalities, scaffolds account for 25% of the total.
The BLS also states that nearly 3/4ths of all scaffold accidents happen because of three reasons:
- The supports or planking give way because of poorly maintained or installed equipment
- Slipping or tripping because of a slippery surface or a lack of a guardrail
- Falling objects hitting someone
The remaining reasons include poor fall protection devices, a scaffolding collapse, working in poor weather, and electrocution from being too close to a power line. When installed and used according to OSHA standards, scaffolds are safe to use. If not, workers can get permanently disabled or die.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident? Contact Morelli Law877-751-9800
Scaffold Accident Injuries
Scaffolds are used to reach high places to work, so falling off a scaffold can give victims traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, shattered bones, cuts, and internal injuries. The costs of treating these injuries can be much higher than you expect and could also leave victims with permanent disabilities.
Fatalities are also common with scaffold accidents. If you’ve lost a loved one in a scaffold accident, we can help you file a wrongful death claim on their behalf so you can get compensated for your loss. If you’re facing this situation, speak to our Albany scaffolding accident lawyers as soon as possible for advice.
What to Do After a Scaffold Accident
If you’re hurt on the job, you must first report the accident to your employer. You have 14 days to report your accident in order to qualify for workers’ compensation. After you’ve reported, you have two years to file your claim.
You may have been hurt so badly that you were taken straight to the hospital, but making a formal notification is still a good idea. An unscrupulous employer might try to wriggle out of paying you what you’re owed, and they’ll try to use the rules against you.
If you’re not a worker and you get injured in a scaffold accident, the statute of limitations is two years to file your claim. However, start your claim as soon as possible to maximize your chances of a favorable lawsuit. Go see a doctor for an exam, and then contact a qualified scaffolding injury lawyer for legal advice.
Can I Sue My Employer if I Take Workers’ Compensation?
In most states, you cannot sue your employer if you take workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation system was created so injury disputes between employers and employees could be resolved outside the court system. However, New York has a slight exception to the rules.
New York Labor Law 240 states that employers are responsible for keeping employees safe if they have to use any device that lifts them off the ground, including scaffolding. Later cases on this law have ruled that employers automatically have absolute liability if a worker gets injured using these devices.
It may be possible to avoid the workers’ compensation system and try to sue your employer directly under this law, or you could take workers’ compensation and sue a third party to get additional compensation. Our scaffold accident lawyers in Albany, NY, can advise you on which route is best for your situation.
How Much Compensation Could I Receive?
It’s impossible to calculate how much you can get until all the evidence is on the table, but an Albany scaffold accident attorney can make an educated guess based on previous cases. If you win a lawsuit, New York does not limit non-economic or punitive damages.
The value of your case depends on how severe your injuries are and how bad the consequences of your injury affect your life. Since most scaffold accidents have serious injuries and long recovery times, you could receive substantial compensation for whichever legal route you take.
Depending on your legal options, there are also limitations to how much you can receive. If you go solely through the workers’ compensation system, you cannot get compensation for pain and suffering or all your lost wages.
I Fell From a Height at Work, but Not Off a Scaffold. Does Labor Law 240 Still Apply?
Yes, it does. While it’s commonly called the “scaffold law,” it applies to much more than scaffolds. If your workplace accident involved gravity, the law applies to you. There are very few exceptions.
The biggest one is “owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work.” Here, Labor Law 240 does not apply, and you cannot sue the homeowner. You can still file a workers’ compensation claim.
You also cannot sue engineers, architects, or landscape architects under the law if they do not direct or control the work for activities other than planning and design.
Speak with a Scaffold Accident Attorney in Albany, NY
If you’ve fallen off of a scaffold at work or something fell off and hit you, you may face severe injuries and weeks of recovery. The costs of your accident may be too great to bear, but you can get help through our scaffold accident attorneys.
Morelli Law is ready to help you with your case. Learn your legal options and how we can help you with either a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit by calling the number on your screen for a free consultation. You can also email us through our contact page. Don’t let your chance for compensation pass you by. Call today.