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What is the New York Scaffold Law?

New York Scaffold Law

While workers’ compensation and labor laws generally look similar across state lines, New York has many state-specific labor laws that only apply to New Yorkers. One such law is New York Labor Law Section 240, commonly referred to as the “New York Labor Law”. This law protects workers from falls and other types of accidents that commonly happen at job sites such as construction sites, window cleaning sites, or powerlines.

New York Labor Law Section 240, in essence, is fairly straightforward, but understanding how this law applies to you or your employer can become complicated without a legal background. In most cases, hiring a lawyer to take a look at your case can significantly increase your chances of securing fair compensation in the event of a fall or other construction accident. If you have questions about New York Labor Law Section 240 or need immediate legal representation, call Fakhoury Law at (845)-896-5200.

What Does the New York Scaffold Law Cover?

New York Labor Law Section 240, in essence, says that general contractors and employers need to follow safety measures when securing “scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices” that are generally used for suspending workers on the job site. Employers must provide adequate safety equipment for employees who are utilizing these types of structures or devices and generally provide safe working conditions.

What Are the Requirements for the New York Scaffold Law?

Now that we understand the general protections that the New York Scaffold Law offers, let’s look at the specific requirements that may apply if you’re thinking about pursuing a personal injury suit under New York Labor Law Section 240.

The most important distinction when looking at injuries covered by New York Labor Law Section 240 is gravity. If you have injured yourself in a fall or were hit by a falling object or person at a job site when performing typical job duties, you will likely be covered by New York’s scaffolding law. The law will especially apply to your accident if:

  • The objects or persons that fell on you were not secured.
  • Your employer did not provide you with safety equipment.
  • The scaffolding or other structure or suspending device was not secured with a safety railing and was over 20 feet.
  • The scaffolding or structure was defective and was not made to hold four times the weight of the objects that it supports.
  • The scaffolding or structure was within 10 feet of a powerline.
  • Inspections of the scaffolding or structure and the job site itself were not performed daily while erected on the job site.
  • The scaffolding or structure was not clean or had objects preventing employees from safely mounting it.
  • The scaffolding was not equipped with netting to protect workers or pedestrians from falling objects.
  • The scaffolding netting was damaged or deteriorated.

If any of these apply to your work conditions or have resulted in an accident taking place at your job site, call our firm at (845)-896-5200. Fakhoury Law has over 25 years of experience helping workers receive the compensation they need after an incident at work contributes to their injuries. 

Can I Get Worker’s Compensation and Still File a Personal Injury Suit If I Fall at Work?

You may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to give up your worker’s compensation benefits if you decide to pursue a personal injury suit through New York Labor Law Section 240. While other accidents may prohibit you from seeing compensation from a personal injury suit and worker’s comp at the same time, New York allows you to file a personal injury suit if certain workplace safety laws are broken and cause other people to get hurt.

If you are currently receiving worker’s compensation benefits, then you likely know how limited these benefits can be. Worker’s compensation typically only covers a small portion of your weekly wages and some of your medical bills. It is rarely enough to live on long-term and it often requires you to deal with insurance companies who try and diminish or deny your claims.

A personal injury suit on the other hand can allow you to seek compensation for damages beyond medical bills and a portion of your wages. In addition to medical expenses and missed wages, you’ll be able to seek damages for emotional trauma, disfigurement, and loss of consortium, among many other things. The amount you’ll receive from winning a personal injury suit versus worker’s compensation will typically be much higher.

What Do I Do If I Fell At Work in New York?

If you’ve been injured in a scaffolding accident or any other type of accident in New York, here are the general guidelines you’ll need to follow to ensure you are compensated fairly for your injuries:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety are the top priority. If you’re injured, seek medical attention immediately, even if the injuries seem minor. Your employer may have designated healthcare providers for work-related injuries, so be sure to follow their guidelines.
  • Report the Incident: Inform your supervisor or employer about the accident as soon as possible. New York labor laws generally require employees to report workplace injuries within a specific timeframe, so don’t delay in reporting the incident.
  • Document the Incident: Record the details of the accident, including how it happened, the time and date, and any witnesses present. If possible, take photographs of the scene and your injuries. Documentation can be crucial if you need to file a workers’ compensation claim or take legal action.
  • File a Workers’ Compensation Claim: In New York, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides benefits to employees injured on the job. You’ll need to file a claim with your employer’s insurance carrier to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Attend all medical appointments and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for treatment and rehabilitation. Failure to comply with medical advice could affect your workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Keep Records: Maintain a file with copies of all medical records, correspondence with your employer and insurance company, and any other documents related to the accident. This documentation will be valuable in supporting your claim and any potential legal action.

Once you’ve seen a medical professional for an evaluation and you’ve received treatment for your injuries, the next (and arguably most important) step in the legal process is to call a lawyer. Do this as soon as possible so that your lawyer has enough time to build your case before the statute of limitations is up. If you need a qualified New York lawyer with over 10 years of professional experience in personal injury law, the choice of lawyer is clear. Call Fakhoury Law at (845)-896-5200 for a through evaluation of your case and effective legal consultation.

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