The New York State Nurses Association will feature attorney Carol L. Schlitt as a speaker at its biennial conference, “Charting a Course for the Future.” Ms. Schlitt will speak and answer questions as part of a panel on workplace violence against nurses. The conference runs from October 24 – 26, 2012 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
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.
Under New York’s Workers Compensation laws, employees hurt on the job are generally prevented from suing their employer for compensation for their injuries. In this case, a Brooklyn woman was hurt on the job in Manhattan, yet in investigating the case, we were able to develop a legal theory that made the landlord responsible for her injuries, not her employer. Therefore, we sought compensation from the landlord for her injuries. This week, we settled the case for an amount that made my client very happy.
We received an email inquiry from a woman who slipped and fell on a puddle at work. She wanted to know if she could sue for damages. She also wanted to know if she should file for New York’s Workers’ Compensation or if she should use her private insurance to pay for medical bills. I thought the answers to her questions might prove helpful to our readers.
All electricians work with the knowledge that they must protect themselves from electrocution. I heard the other day from an electrician whose boss electrocuted him on the job and he wanted to know if he could sue his boss for gross negligence. I explain the current interpretation of the gross negligence exception and then address why I think that interpretation is to restrictive and open to a legal challenge.
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.
Here is a question I recently received about a slip and fall at work that I thought might interest readers:
My 17 year old daughter works for McDonalds and she slipped and fell on her back on a piece of ice that a co-worker threw on the floor horse-playing around. She is very hurt, do I have a claim?
I am sorry to hear about your daughter’s injury. You do not say where you live or where your daughter works. I practice law in New York so I will answer based on the laws of New York. The short answer is that although your daughter qualifies for New York Worker’s Compensation benefits, she cannot sue her employer for damages.
Many people have questions about injuries they suffer on the job and their ability to receive compensation for those injuries. In New York, the Workers’ Compensation Law provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages, but places limitations on people seeking compensation for pain and suffering. However, there are exceptions where a person can seek damages for an injury suffered while working.
Here is a case where a person worked in an office building and hurt herself in a slip and fall accident in the building lobby. Let’s consider the questions:
- Who will cover her medical bills and lost wages?
- Can she receive compensation for her pain and suffering?
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.
I receive many calls about work-related injuries and Workers’ Compensation. Some concern efforts by employers to dissuade workers from filing Workers’ Compensation claims. With very few exceptions, if you suffer an injury on the job in New York, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits and your employer is required to provide you those benefits.