2It’s a well known fact that construction sites are full of hidden and, sometimes, not so hidden
dangers. But no danger should be hidden from a worker’s employer. Whenever there is construction work being performed at a height, construction site employees, and even those passing by, are at risk of being struck by falling objects.
I Was Injured By A Falling Object – Do I Have A Case?
Although the name of the law may be misleading, under New York’s “Scaffolding Law”, construction workers who have been injured by a falling object have the right to pursue legal action against the party who failed to prevent the accident. This law enforces strict liability on the defendant, which means that they need to prove that they were not negligent and did everything within their power to prevent the accident. In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant was negligent.
The lawyers at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus, and Moverman P.C. are here to answer your questions and help you decide what your next steps should be. We are dedicated to obtaining compensation for those who have been injured by a falling object. In many instances, the accident was caused by the negligence of another party, and the victims and their loved ones suffer as a results.
What Is Negligence?
In legal terms, negligence occurs when one party fails to act in a way that reasonably provides care for another party. In the majority of lawsuits involving fallen objects, the construction company owner, general contractor, or subcontractor, failed to follow expected safety protocols, which lead to an accident.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is a division of the Department of Labor. This department is in charge of ensuring that all American workers have a safe and healthy working environment. They accomplish this by enforcing strict safety standards and encouraging business owners and managers to educate themselves on these requirements.
OSHA Safety Standards Protect Workers From Falling Objects
The safety standards that OSHA has enforced to protect employees from falling objects are simple. These standards include:
- mandatory use of hard hats on all construction sites where overhead work is being performed, and
- the contractor in charge will make sure that any construction being performed below overhead work is stopped, unless proper overhead protection is provided
Overhead protection may include the installation of toeboards, screens, nets, guardrail systems, catch platforms, or canopy structures that hold or deflect the falling object.
If OSHA investigates an accident and determines that the proper safety protocol has not been followed, the company or general contractor may face fines in additional to any lawsuits the victim may choose to file.
Won’t My Employer’s Workers’ Comp Help?
Every employer in the state of New York is required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees in the event of an accident. However, there is no guarantee that the insurance will approve your claim. The sad reality is, that more than 50% of workers comp claims made by construction workers are denied.
Even if your claim is approved, the benefits may not cover all of your losses.
In general, almost all of the medical expenses that are incurred while an employee is being treated for an injury are covered in full. However, in some instances, procedures can only be performed if the insurance company agreed to it via pre-authorization. The insurance company can choose to decline coverage for those procedures during the pre-authorization process.
Common Injuries Sustained From Falling Objects
Dropped tools, straps that fail to secure a load being lifted, paint cans, and more can all cause life-changing injuries to the people below. Even though hardhats may protect the head, heavy objects moving at a high velocity can wreak havoc on the hat. Common injuries include:
- broken / fractured bones
- injured vertebrae and spinal cord due to spinal compression
- brain injury
Each of these injuries can cause permanent damage and end the career of a construction worker. In the worst cases, the injured party may end up permanently disabled and need around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.
After your examination, your doctors will provide the insurance company with an estimate of how disabled you are. This estimate is translated into a percentage, which is then multiplied by two-thirds of your weekly income. Lost wages compensation is only given after the first seven days of missed work, and often that first week is never covered. For those living paycheck to paycheck, a lost week of pay and reduced wages are simply not enough.
Survivors may be able to claim death benefits, including funeral expenses up to $6,000. Dependents may also be able to receive two-thirds of the deceased’s weekly salary.
Even if your workers’ comp claim is approved, you may find that the amount you receive just isn’t enough to keep you and your loved ones afloat. Workers’ comp also can’t compensate you for things like physical pain and suffering, or emotional trauma. Filing a civil lawsuit against the party responsible may help you to regain what you have lost.
What Can I Get If The Court Sides With Me?
For personal injury cases, the court often awards damages, which are monetary sums the court feels appropriately compensate the injured for their losses. In addition to covering all of the benefits provided by workers’ comp in full, the court may also decide to provide the injured with other damages.These additional damages may cover emotional pain, loss of consortium, and physical pain and suffering.
The good news is, that because our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t pay anything until we win. Don’t hesitate to contact us – you have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Call us now at (888) 700-1104.