Construction work can be a very dangerous profession. If you or a loved one works in this industry, you may be concerned about what would happen to your family after a serious or fatal accident.
That concern is not misplaced. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the construction industry has more fatal accidents than any other industry in New York City.
New York's Scaffold Law
The dangers are particularly acute when working at heights. Many serious injuries and deaths can be traced back to workers falling or being struck by falling objects.
Under New York law, employers have a duty to keep worksites safe by taking measures to prevent these types of accidents. In fact, New York has a unique law to enforce this duty. It is called the "Scaffold Law."
In essence, the Scaffold Law requires employers to provide workers with the equipment and training necessary to keep them safe from falls and falling objects. It applies not just to the construction of new buildings, but also to demolitions, renovations and maintenance work.
Employers who violate this duty can be required to pay financial compensation to injured workers, or to the families of deceased workers. This compensation is intended to supplement workers' compensation benefits, not replace them.
Can I be blamed for the accident?
No. The Scaffold Law places the burden of responsibility on the project's owner, not the workers themselves. You can recover even if you made a mistake or were partially at-fault for causing the accident.
After an injury, your employer might talk to you about how you were at fault, in the hopes that this will discourage you from taking action. But your rights exist for a reason - never be afraid to assert them.
What do I do after an accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in a construction accident, it is worth your while to schedule a consultation with a New York construction accident attorney. This consultation is free, and the lawyer will help you understand your rights and the options available to you under the law.