Most construction workers – from ironworkers and bricklayers to painters, roofers and electricians, etc. – in New York City work on ladders and scaffolds. Ladders are among the most basic tools in the construction industry. Ladder accidents or falls from ladders are extremely common among workers who perform these construction-related jobs. Whether an accident is the result of a defective or poorly installed ladder or because of a dangerous condition on the property where the construction is taking place, injured workers may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, damages and losses they suffer. Owners and general contractors and other contractors can be liable for what is mentioned below.
Common Causes of Ladder Accidents
Here are some of the most common causes of ladder accidents at construction sites:
Incorrect ladder setup: The leading cause of ladder-related injuries, in about 40 percent of cases, is due to a ladder sliding out at the base because it wasn’t set up at the correct angle. Workers should also be equipped with fall safety devices when they are working on ladders. The ladder should not be set on an uneven or steep surface.
Improper ladder selection: It is important for a construction company or a contractor to select a ladder with the right duty rating in order to avoid structural failure.
Lack of inspection and maintenance: Regular inspection and maintenance help reduce the likelihood of ladder structural failure. Supervisors at construction sites should be assigned to ensure that the ladders being used are in good shape.
Lack of training: Workers should be properly trained when it comes to using ladders safely. Some workers, especially those who don’t speak English or aren’t fluent in the language, may have trouble understanding safety information and procedures. Some construction companies don’t allocate the resources necessary to develop or follow an effective ladder safety program.
Ladder accidents at construction sites often result in major injuries. More than 700 people die nationwide as a result of ladder accidents in the United States. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that falls remain a leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries nationwide, and 43 percent of fatal falls over the last decade involved a ladder.
Among workers, about 20 percent of fall injuries involve ladders, and among construction workers, an estimated 81 percent of fall injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms involve a ladder. The study also showed that men and Latinos in particular had higher rates of fatal and nonfatal ladder accidents compared to others.
Ladder accidents may result in major injuries such as brain trauma and spinal cord damage, which may leave individuals with lifelong disabilities and unable to return to work. Falls from ladders may also cause injuries such as broken bones, sprains and strains and internal injuries that require lengthy treatment and rehabilitation.
Workers who are injured as a result of falls from ladders are protected by the New York Labor law Sections 240 and 241 etc., also known as the Scaffolding Law. Under these sections of the Labor law, workers may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the people or entities that are legally obligated to provide them with a safe place to work. For example, workers who are injured in a ladder-related fall may be able to seek compensation from a developer, general contractor, subcontractor, construction site owner and other parties when ladder safety regulations have been violated.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Workers who are injured in construction accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. Families that have lost loved ones in a construction accident may be able to seek death benefits. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and therefore have two sources of compensation.
Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you have suffered injuries 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. 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 medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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