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Do I Have A Claim If I Was Hurt by Scaffolding While Walking In New York City?

In New York City, scaffolding is practically part of the city landscape and something that New Yorkers have to deal with on the daily. Scaffolding is generally made of metal poles and wooden planks that are put on the side of a building during construction. If you’re walking through Manhattan or other parts of New York City, you’ve undoubtedly had to pass through the tunnels of scaffolding across the city. Here’s what you need to know about your rights in the event of an accident.

Common Causes of New York City Scaffolding Accidents

Construction workers generally suffer the most injuries due to scaffolding accidents in New York City, but at times, pedestrians are also injured by defective scaffolding or by objects that fall off the scaffolding.

In general, scaffolding accidents occur due to the failure to follow proper procedures and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations during the construction, maintenance, and deconstructing of the scaffolding.

The most common causes of scaffolding accidents in New York City include:

●     Scaffolding not constructed properly to hold weight evenly, remaining stable, or staying in place.

●     Tools or other materials left in the walking path of scaffolding which interferes with the movement of other people or that gets knocked off the scaffolding by workers.

●     Scaffolding being overloaded.

●     Improper employee training in the construction, maintenance, and deconstruction of the scaffolding.

●     Construction vehicles driving into the scaffolding by accident.

●     Environmental issues such as high winds, extreme temperatures, etc.

OHSA Regulations and Requirements in New York as They Pertain to Scaffolding

There is a long list of requirements and rules that must be followed by contractors, employers, and construction employees. OSHA also uses a competent person standard in its regulations and guidelines.

OSHA’s scaffolding standards define a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”

The Scaffolding Law—New York Labor Law 240

Unique to New York state is Labor Law 240, also known as The Scaffolding Law. This law is designed to protect construction workers from any injuries they may suffer after a fall from scaffolding or sidewalk bridging.

The law allows the injured construction worker to sue for all their lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses, even if the injured construction worker’s co-workers or boss was negligent. It says that as long as someone else, such as an employer, was partially responsible for the accident as well, the injured construction worker will receive compensation.

While this law is designed to help protect workers who expose themselves to the dangers of scaffolding, it does not offer additional legal protections for pedestrians who may be injured by scaffolding-related accidents, at least in the City of New York.  

If you are injured by scaffolding or sidewalk bridging outside the City of New York, then another law, New York Labor Law 241(6), might protect you. Labor Law 241(6) makes the owner of a building and their agents responsible for “all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed, shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.” It refers to the Industrial Code of the State of New York. If you are injured by a scaffold outside of New York City, Industrial Code Rule 23-1.33 might protect you.

New York Pedestrians Injured by Scaffolding

The amount of damages you may be able to recover due to a New York City scaffolding accident depends on whether you can prove liability, the severity of your injuries, your prognosis, your losses, and expenses.

You may be eligible to recover damages for issues such as:

●     Medical expenses

●     Lost wages

●     Diminished earning capacity

●     Pain and suffering

●     Wrongful death

Legal Help After a Scaffolding Accident

Injuries suffered from defective scaffolding or items falling from scaffolding are often disastrous for unsuspecting pedestrians. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury related to construction work or scaffolding, you should seek the counsel of a legal team that specializes in these types of personal injury cases. The law firm of Greenberg & Stein has helped thousands of New Yorkers recover damages sustained from the negligence of others, including those involving construction sites or scaffolding injuries.

Our team is standing by and ready to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. The personal injury attorneys at Greenberg & Stein have more than 75 years of combined experience and will fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. We offer free, 24/7 legal consultations and can walk you through what legal options are available to you following your injury in New York City. Contact us today at 888-411-3966.