New York City is well-known for many tall buildings. Seeing a scaffold surrounding an old building for maintenance is a common sight. Workers risk their lives every day climbing on these structures. Despite safety regulations, construction accidents happen and workers get injured or killed.
If you’ve been involved in a scaffold accident and live in New York, you may need legal advice to get the compensation you deserve. Morelli Law has recovered over a billion dollars for clients during our history. Find out if our New York scaffolding accident lawyers can help you.
Scaffold Accidents Are Expensive
The injuries caused by scaffold accidents are rarely minor. A person doesn’t have to fall from very high to get seriously injured, or even killed and suffer a wrongful death. A fall beyond 30 feet is usually fatal to humans, and scaffold workers can easily get beyond that height working on an NYC building.
Survivors may have multiple broken bones, lacerations, bruising, brain damage, internal bleeding, and many other serious injuries. They may not work again or become permanently disfigured. The costs of caring for a scaffold accident injury may be too much to bear.
The family of a worker that died in a scaffold accident may also be due substantial compensation, whether through making a death claim through workers’ compensation or by filing a wrongful death claim. Our NYC scaffold accident lawyers can help you if you’re in this situation.
How To Get Workers Compensation in New York
The fastest way to get compensation after a scaffold accident is to use workers’ compensation. This system lets you make a claim against your employer without the need to prove fault, but you need to notify your employer of the accident and make a formal claim to the state’s workers’ compensation board.
A lawyer isn’t required to fill out the forms, but if your claim gets rejected or your compensation is less than you need, a lawyer can help you appeal the ruling. Also, you can only get certain costs reimbursed through workers’ compensation. Your claim could be much more.
Fortunately, New York has a method where scaffold accident victims can pursue both workers’ compensation and a third-party claim to recover more compensation. The reason is New York Labor Law 240.
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About New York Labor Law 240
New York Labor Law 240 describes who has responsibility for the safety of equipment used in the building trades to elevate workers. It’s often called the scaffold law, but it applies to any device that elevates a worker, even a stepladder. Owners and contractors that use these devices on job sites are liable if a worker gets injured using one.
Workers’ compensation usually denies workers from suing their employers, but you can still file a third-party lawsuit. For example, you could file one if your employer contracted out the installation of scaffolding or a building owner offered their own equipment.
This is where a scaffold accident attorney in NYC can really help you. If there is a route to sue under Labor Law 240, you can get compensation above and beyond workers’ compensation, including non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
What Damages Could I Receive in a Scaffolding Accident Lawsuit?
Workers’ compensation only allows you to get money to pay for your medical bills and a certain percentage of lost wages. This covers some of the economic hardship of a scaffold accident, but there are some damages you can only recover through a lawsuit.
Besides the extra lost wages, you can receive non-economic damages like pain and suffering or disfigurement. These are calculated as a multiplier of the economic damages, sometimes as much as five times what you’d get from your economic damages. In some cases, they award a certain amount per day you’re injured.
There is also a chance that a court could award you punitive damages if the defendant was especially negligent. Labor Law 240 may help here because the court rulings on this law make the owner or contractor absolutely liable for anyone harmed using their equipment.
How Soon Must I Start a Lawsuit After My Accident?
The closer deadline, if you’re a worker, is reporting your accident to your employer. You must report your accident within 30 days of the injury in order to claim workers’ compensation. Don’t assume that they know. Make a formal notification with your manager or HR.
Then you have two years from your injury to make your claim to the board. However, do it as soon as you can do so. If you need help, one of our lawyers can help you fill out the documentation to start your claim.
If you are filing a normal lawsuit in New York civil court, you have three years from the date of the accident before you breach the statute of limitations. You should start your case far sooner than that so your lawyer has time to build your case and negotiate with the insurers.
What Happens if I Cannot Work Anymore?
Many scaffold accident victims shatter bones badly enough that they cannot walk anymore, let alone work in the building trades. They may wonder how they can hold down a job anymore. Fortunately, there are some programs that can help.
First, workers’ compensation provides money for vocational rehabilitation. Your old employer could train you to do something new, or you can find a different profession. You’ll continue to get lost wages for a time as well while you retrain.
Second, if you’re permanently disabled, workers’ comp and your employer may have disability policies that can cover your costs long into the future. Plus, you may be able to file a lawsuit to collect more compensation. Until you speak with a scaffold accident attorney in NYC, you won’t know all the options. That’s why you should talk to one right away.
Speak with an New York Scaffolding Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved in any sort of gravity-related accident involving scaffolding, cranes, lifts, or even a stepladder, you could get compensation through a lawsuit or through workers’ compensation. One call to Morelli Law can reveal what your options are for compensation.
Your time to get compensation is limited. As soon as you can recover enough to hold a conversation, it’s time to talk to one of our experienced scaffold accident lawyers. Call us or click the free case evaluation button to schedule your appointment. All consultations are free and you will owe us nothing unless you get compensated.