New York Scaffold Accidents - NY Labor Law § 240
Each year, there are many scaffold accidents in and around New York. These often involve construction workers, but sometimes they affect bystanders as well. They may involve falls, but they can also involve falling objects. Serious or even fatal injuries may result from scaffold accidents. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a scaffold accident, you should consult an experienced construction accident attorney. Mark A. Siesel is a skillful White Plains scaffold accident lawyer who may be able to help you.Scaffold Accidents
There are many different kinds of scaffolds, all of which should be erected and used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Types of scaffolds include steel scaffolds, wooden scaffolds, rolling scaffolds, and tubular scaffolds. Unfortunately, many scaffolds are misused. For example, a tubular scaffold may be misused through a failure to use guard rails and toe boards. Scaffolds may not be properly constructed, such as in wooden scaffolds when the wood has defects that reduce the structural strength of the wood, or when a nail has not been driven into the wood properly.Liability for Scaffold Accidents
New York Labor Law Section 240 is also known as the Scaffold Law. It was enacted to protect workers who are at risk of falling from heights while working on scaffolds, ladders, or other elevations. It was also enacted to protect workers from equipment or materials that fall from a scaffold or ladder and hit somebody below them. OSHA has specified safe practices around scaffolds and when erecting scaffolds. For example, scaffold platforms are supposed to be appropriately supported by frames, posts, brackets, and legs, and they should be erected or dismantled only by somebody who is competent and trained to handle scaffold safety matters, including the recognition of potential dangers.
A scaffold accident attorney in White Plains can help you determine whom to sue. For example, you might bring a claim against a building owner or company that was responsible for providing certain safety equipment for workers to protect them from falls and from falling equipment or materials. When these parties do not provide the appropriate safety measures, including fall protection equipment, and a worker is seriously injured, the property owner or contractor may be held legally liable. However, it is important to be aware that when the equipment required under the code section was available and given to workers, but a worker did not use it, the owner or contractor would not be liable. Similarly, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the property owner or contractor would not be liable.
The Scaffold Law is unusual because it provides for a kind of strict liability when a property owner or contractor does not follow its mandates. This can help a White Plains scaffold accident attorney show liability. Usually in construction accidents, an accident victim would need to show that the defendant failed to act with reasonable care and that this failure caused his injuries in order to recover damages. In turn, the defendant may argue that the injured worker did not act in a safe way, and if it can make this showing, it may avoid or reduce its liability. However, under the Scaffold Law, a property owner or contractor is not allowed to argue comparative negligence. Instead, the relevant issues are whether the project is covered under the Scaffold Law, whether scaffolding or other safety measures were provided according to statute, and whether an injury occurred that was designed to have been prevented. If the answers are affirmative, the property owner or general contractor may be held liable even if the worker was partially to blame. This makes it easier for the injured worker to recover damages.
If you are able to establish liability for a scaffold accident, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering.
NY Labor Law § 240 Scaffolding and other devices for use of employees
- All contractors and owners and their agents, except owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work, in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.
No liability pursuant to this subdivision for the failure to provide protection to a person so employed shall be imposed on professional engineers as provided for in article one hundred forty-five of the education law, architects as provided for in article one hundred forty-seven of such law or landscape architects as provided for in article one hundred forty-eight of such law who do not direct or control the work for activities other than planning and design. This exception shall not diminish or extinguish any liability of professional engineers or architects or landscape architects arising under the common law or any other provision of law.
- Scaffolding or staging more than twenty feet from the ground or floor, swung or suspended from an overhead support or erected with stationary supports, except scaffolding wholly within the interior of a building and covering the entire floor space of any room therein, shall have a safety rail of suitable material properly attached, bolted, braced or otherwise secured, rising at least thirty-four inches above the floor or main portions of such scaffolding or staging and extending along the entire length of the outside and the ends thereof, with only such openings as may be necessary for the delivery of materials. Such scaffolding or staging shall be so fastened as to prevent it from swaying from the building or structure.
- All scaffolding shall be so constructed as to bear four times the maximum weight required to be dependent therefrom or placed thereon when in use.
If you are injured in a scaffold accident in White Plains, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Mark A. Siesel also represents clients in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, as well as Westchester, Kings, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. Call us at (914) 428-7386 or complete our online form.
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