Construction Site Ladder Accidents: Four Things to Know

Falls are one of the leading causes of deaths and serious injuries at construction sites. These incidents often lead to lost work time and other costs to workers and their families. Nationwide, just falls from ladders account for nearly 16% of all fatal falls and 8% of non-fatal falls including those resulting in lost workdays, according to the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Falls from ladders are particularly serious. One emergency room study found that 68% of ladder fall injuries resulted in lost workdays with an average of 24 days lost per case.

Here are four important things you need to know about construction accidents involving ladders or scaffolds and seeking compensation after a ladder accident injury:

1. Ladder accidents often result in major injuries.

Ladders are frequently used in construction sites. Falling off a ladder often results in severe or even fatal injuries. Some of the most common and severe ladder-related injuries include:

• Broken bones including fractures relating to the foot, leg, hip, hand or wrist
• Neck injuries
• Spinal cord trauma or injuries that cause severe back pain
• Head injuries, particularly traumatic brain injuries
• Electrocution, which can happen if a metal ladder touches a live power wire
• Cuts or lacerations
• Internal organ trauma

A number of these injuries require emergency medical attention as well as extensive ongoing treatment and care. Some ladder injuries may also result in fatal falls. If this occurs, our New York construction accident lawyers can help families file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation.

2. There can be more than one reason why a ladder accident occurs.

There are may be multiple factors leading to a ladder accident. If a ladder is placed on an uneven surface, there is the possibility of it tipping and bringing the person on the ladder down with it. When a surface is unstable, the ladder may slip or slide and cause the person to fall off the ladder.

When a ladder is subjected to excessive weight, it may buckle or collapse under the weight. Ladders require constant inspection and maintenance. A worn or damaged ladder may malfunction or collapse. When a ladder is used in close proximity of an electrical source and live wires, there is the potential for electrocution or electrical burn injuries. While these are all preventable accidents, they tend to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries.

3. New York’s Scaffolding Law protects workers.

Many construction workers in New York City such as ironworkers, steelworkers, laborers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, painters, window washers, and electricians etc. carry out their tasks while on scaffolds, ladders, platforms, etc. New York’s Scaffolding Law (Section 240 of the New York Labor Law) requires contractors, owners and their agents to be responsible for providing necessary equipment such as scaffolds, ladders, hoists, stays, irons, ropes, blocks braces and other devices to keep workers safe from fall-related accidents.

Since this law was enacted in the early part of the 20th century, workers injured in scaffolding accidents have had the ability to bring civil actions against the contractor and property owner/managing agent etc. responsible for the safety of the jobsite.

4. You may be able to receive compensation for losses stemming from ladder injuries.

Workers who have been injured in fall-related accidents can receive workers’ compensation benefits, which covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, workers may also be able to file a third-party claim against a negligent (careless) party other than the employer or co-employees for significant monetary damages and have two sources of compensation available for their losses.

Examples of third parties include, but are not limited to, general contractors, construction companies, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents etc. In cases where a worker dies from injuries suffered on the job, surviving family members may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation and/or file a wrongful death claim against a third party.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. For over 50 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job — one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

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