Construction Accident Attorneys In New York
The State of New York has put in place specific provisions to address the dangers faced by workers in the New York construction industry. Construction workers are subject to very dangerous conditions and potentially serious injuries on an ongoing basis.
A recent report on construction deaths in New York found that deaths are increasing. Many of these fatalities were caused by falls, appeared to affect Latino workers the most, and revealed non-union construction sites to be particularly dangerous. The January 2017 research revealed that construction deaths in New York are on the rise and showed safety violations such as employers who failed to follow safety laws and led to construction worker deaths. The report was issued by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) and is entitled “Deadly Skyline: An Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State.”
Dangers Construction Workers Face
Typically, when a construction worker suffers an injury, his or her injury is usually covered by workers’ compensation. This insurance, however, is often not enough to cover possibly serious injuries that take place at construction sites, especially given that construction sites are often populated with various contractors and sub-contractors at any given time. It is also not unusual for a third party to be involved with an injury to a non-employee who is working for someone else on the site.
Construction work is very risky. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, revealed that 774 construction accident deaths occurred, a number more than 18 percent of all on-the-job deaths that year. The next year, in 2012, there were 775 deaths, which represented 19.6 percent of the on-the-job deaths that year. Statistics found that four out of every 100 construction workers suffered a non-fatal injury on the job annually.
Building materials, tools, and machinery surround construction workers on sites. This means that construction workers potentially face significant hazards at any given time during their workday, including from the great heights from which many often work. Workers are subject to slips and falls, falling debris, misplaced materials or objects—10 percent of all building location deaths are attributed to workers hit by objects; 78 people died in this manner during the study period—becoming caught between objects and materials, fires and explosions, machinery accidents, overexertion, heat stroke, machinery accidents, and trench collapses. Workers are also subject to vehicular accidents in which construction workers are hit by a passing vehicle or truck, falls from high heights or scaffolding, and insufficient communication systems warning construction workers of hazards (the second most common violation discovered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA]). Electrocutions comprised the third most-common cause of death at construction sites and led to 66 deaths—or nine percent of all deaths—during the time frame that was studied.
The most common federal regulation violation involved inadequate safety on scaffolding, which is also among the top three most common violations, according to OSHA. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates these accidents comprise 34 percent of all on-the-job construction worker deaths. According to OSHA, 278 workers fell to their deaths in 2012, which accounted for 36 percent of construction deaths in that year.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm with decades of experience in New York representing workers in lawsuits over occupational hazards and construction site accidents.
Construction Negligence Law, Labor Law
Under ordinary negligence law, an injured worker is able to bring a lawsuit against a third-party contractor over dangerous conditions that allegedly led to the worker’s injury over which the third-party was in control and was either aware, or should have been aware, was dangerous.
Under New York’s Labor Law 240, construction workers who perform work necessary or related to the assembly or repair of a building and who do this work at high elevations, including on a scaffold, ladder, or any other tall structure, are entitled to explicit safety devices and provisions. Should these devices and provisions not be provided and should a worker become injured in a scaffold accident or other “elevation support-related” accident, that worker—as well as receiving workers’ compensation through his or her employer—may also recover against a third-party who was allegedly responsible for supervising the project and providing safety devices. Supervision includes, for example, a general contractor or sub-contractor who is responsible for safety on a portion of, or the complete, project and it is proven this third-party was aware or, or should have been aware, that the alleged safety violations existed. Should a worker be found fully responsible for the alleged accident, the supervising party is not responsible and the allegedly injured person must reimburse a portion of the workers’ compensation received.
If a construction worker is working on a scaffold set up by the employer and the scaffold falls for no apparent reason, the worker may recover for resulting injuries. Should the construction worker set up the scaffold improperly and the scaffold gives way and the worker falls and is injured, the worker may not recover for their injuries. Under Labor Law 240, minor repair work and routine maintenance does not fall under the erection or repair of a building.
Labor Law 241 does provide for strict liability in situations in which a contractor or other party allegedly violates certain safety codes at a worksite that lead to injury. Under this situation, a worker is not required to prove the defendant was negligent; the violation itself establishes fault. Labor Law 241 is not limited to injuries resulting from elevation-related accidents and does note that, if a worker recovers under Law 241 by making a third-party claim, the worker must reimburse a portion of the workers’ compensation benefits received.
Legal Help for Construction Accident Victims in New York
If you or someone you know was injured or died due to the negligence of others in the workplace, you may have valuable legal rights. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a New York construction site accident lawsuit. For more information, please call us at call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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