Falling Object Accidents
When you’re working at a construction site, you face numerous hazards. Construction is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in America. In New York, there are special laws to make sure construction workers are safe and able to sue for damages when they are injured and certain circumstances are present. One common threat to worker safety are falling object accidents. Common falling objects at construction sites include debris, scaffolding, planks, bricks, hoists, tools, and bricks. If you were injured in a falling object accident you should consult the experienced White Plains construction accident attorney Mark A. Siesel about whether you can recover damages.New York Labor Law Section 240
New York Labor Law Section 240 is often called the Scaffold Law. The law was intended to protect those who are injured in elevation-related accidents, where those accidents could have been prevented through protective devices. Section 240 often protects workers who fall from heights. However, it also protects workers from injuries caused by falling object accidents when the falling object is related to a substantial risk integral to the relative elevation at which materials or loads are to be positioned or secured. Under Section 240(1), owners, contractors and agents need to give workers safety devices that are placed, operated or constructed with the goal of properly protecting someone who is working to erect, demolish, alter, repair, point, clean or paint a structure.
A falling object accident by itself doesn’t establish a Section 240 violation. When an owner, contractor, or its agent fails to provide a safety device in connection with gravity dangers and this failure is the legal cause of the worker’s injury, the court can impose absolute liability. In order to establish liability in court, a lawyer will need to show that an object that was being hoisted or secured fell due to the inadequacy or absence of a safety device of the kind to which the statute refers. You might have a claim, for instance, if while you were working, a transformer that was not fully secured fell on you and you’d not been given proper safety devices to guard against that possibility.
In order to avoid liability under Section 240, the defendant will need to show there were safety devices available that you unreasonably did not use. A defendant may also be able avoid liability by showing your actions were the sole legal cause of the falling object accident.New York Labor Law 241(6)
New York Labor Law 241(6) specifies that areas of the site where demolition, excavation or construction are being performed need to be equipped, shored, constructed, operated, arranged or conducted such that they reasonably and adequately protect and safeguard people working there or legally frequenting the place. Based on this law, owners, general contractors and their agents have a nondelegable duty to comply with particular safety rules set out in Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code.
To recover damages under Section 241(6), you’ll need to be able to show your injuries were legally caused by a violation of a rule under Part 23 that applies, given the circumstances, and that the rule puts forward a firm standard of conduct that the owner or contractor was supposed to follow. If there was no specific violation of Part 23, there’s no liability under Section 241(6).
There are several Part 23 rules that may apply to falling object accidents. Under 12 NYCRR 23-3.3(b)(3), chimneys, walls, and other parts of a structure are not supposed to be left unguarded in a condition that would allow parts to collapse, be weakened, or fall due to vibration or wind pressure during a hand demolition operation. Under 12 NYCRR 23-3.3(g), floors within a structure that are subject to falling debris need to be boarded to stop someone from moving through that area or be cordoned off by a substantial safety rail or should be given overhead protection of tight planking or plywood of a certain thickness.Consult a Seasoned Attorney in White Plains
If you were injured in a falling object accident at a construction site in White Plains or in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, or anywhere in the Hudson Valley region, you should talk to lawyer Mark A. Siesel. You may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. We represent clients in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, as well as Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan Counties. Call us at (914) 428-7386 or complete our online form.