A student was walking in midtown Manhattan when he tripped over the rotting wood at the base of a construction scaffold. The fall sent the man tumbling into the street, dazed and injured. An ambulance took him to Bellevue Hospital where he began what was to be a months long recovery process. The man retained our firm to help him recover damages for the injuries he suffered. We investigated the incident and developed a strong case to prove the liability of the scaffold company and we worked with our client to help him receive the medical treatment he needed. We were able to overcome the resistance of the insurance company to settle the case and achieved a settlement that enabled our client to avoid the long wait for a trial.
New York’s Scaffold and Ladder Law (Section 240 of the State Labor Law) provides essential protections to workers and allows injured workers to receive compensation if they suffer an injury on the job. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of construction site fatalities. New York’s Ladder and Scaffold Law has helped reduce on-the-job injuries and fatalities and made sure injured workers receive money to pay for their pain and suffering and other damages if they are hurt on the job.
I received an inquiry today from a person injured while stocking store shelves on the job. She had climbed up a ladder and the locking mechanism on the ladder failed so she fell and injured her back. She wanted to know if she could sue for pain and suffering.
In New York, Workers’ Compensation covers all on-the-job injuries, though it also prevents an employee from suing an employer for an on-the-job injury. There is an exception that allows an injured person to seek compensation when injured on a ladder or scaffold. However, that exception only applies when performing the construction, demolition or repair of a building or structure. Under those circumstances, the employee can hold the owner of the building or the general contractor of the project responsible even if the owner or general contractor did not act negligently. In this woman’s case, she qualifies for Workers’ Compensation, but cannot seek additional compensation.
New York’s Workers Compensation Law generally prevents an employee hurt on the job from suing his or her employer. However, when a worker is injured in a ladder or scaffold accident, he or she may have a right to recover damages even if his employer was the only negligent party.
New York State Labor Law (Section 240 and 241) grants special protections to workers injured while working on ladders or scaffolds. These provisions also protect construction workers hurt by objects falling from a ladder or scaffold. This section of the Labor Law aims to improve worker safety.