What should I do after a scaffolding accident in New York?

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Thomas J. Moverman - Personal Injury - Products - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Thomas J. Moverman

Located in New York, NYLipsig Shapey Manus & Moverman, P.C.

New York, NY
Phone: 212-285-3300
Fax: 212-406-4544

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In a city like New York, construction, including scaffolding, is a common occurrence. Unfortunately, New York state laws are generally designed to protect the companies, not workers who get injured due to construction accidents.

However, labor laws do specify that companies, including contractors, are responsible for the safety of elevation equipment on construction sites. If you are a worker who was involved in an accident involving equipment like:

  • Scaffolding
  • Hoists
  • Ladders
  • Slings
  • Pulley

Or other equipment that may be used incorrectly to lift a worker or equipment, you should know that there may be monetary compensation available to you. It doesn’t matter whether your employer was actively negligent, or whether you think you were partially responsible. Your employer had a responsibility to make sure you were safe, and they failed. To get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills and any lost wages, you will need to report the accident and take photographs of the failed equipment and any injuries and finally, call a lawyer.

Getting The Compensation You Need

Many workers are familiar with workers’ compensation claims, and that may be your first thought when you’re injured. However, workers’ compensation claims limit the amount of compensation you receive and how it can be used. A regular personal injury claim, on the other hand, can get you more compensation and it can be used more freely.

In pursuing a personal injury claim, there are a few steps you should take:

  1. Report the accident.

It is common knowledge, but still important to reiterate: You must report your accident to your supervisor. This is always the first step in a workers’ compensation claim, and in such a claim, this is all you would need to do at this point. However, if you plan to pursue a personal injury claim, you should also tell some co-workers about your accident. Having these other witnesses will be helpful.

    2. Take photographs.

You need to get photographic evidence of the accident, as well as your injuries. Right when the accident happens, if you are well enough, take photos yourself of the elevation device and how it failed. If you must go to the hospital right then, have a co-worker take photos. These photos will be an important part of your case.

    3. Talk to a lawyer.

Scaffolding injuries can be severe. It is likely you will need a lawyer’s help pursuing a case for compensation. These cases require a high level of skill and experience in this area of law to be successful: You should look for a lawyer with multiple recent positive outcomes, whether in settlement or verdict. It can also be helpful to seek a lawyer with experience in your specific type of accident.

Hold Your Employer Accountable

Whether you are a longtime construction worker or new on the job, your employer is the one responsible for keeping you safe. Even if you think you should have been able to prevent your accident, remember that under New York law, it’s your employer’s fault. Report the accident, take photographs and talk with a lawyer, and hopefully you can get the compensation you need for your care.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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