Construction has always been one of the most dangerous industries in New York, and the problem has only gotten worse in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, New York construction worker injuries (both fatal and nonfatal) jumped from 128 to 435. This sudden spike can be directly linked to a drop in safety inspections. According to the New York Daily News, inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) dropped from 2,722 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015. Our city, construction site managers, and property owners must do more to protect these workers.
Who Can Be Sued For Construction Site Injuries?
Workers’ compensation is intended to be the sole remedy for injured workers in New York, but these benefits are often insufficient for serious injuries on construction sites. While employers are usually protected from being sued by injured workers, there are exceptions in cases of extreme negligence.
New York’s Scaffolding Law
New York has a specific law which protects construction workers who work from high elevations. This is known as Labor Law 240, or the Scaffolding Law. This law requires construction site owners and contractors to provide adequate safety equipment to reduce the risk of a fall. If a contractor or project owner fails to provide adequate safety measures and a laborer gets injured or dies as a result, they could be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Examples of violations which could result in a lawsuit include:
- Failure to provide safety harnesses
- Failure to provide equipment for securing loose objects
- Unstable, unsecured, or defective scaffolding
- Failure to provide guardrails
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a fall or by falling objects, you should speak with an experienced construction injury lawyer about your options.
Some construction accidents are caused by defective equipment, rather than the negligence of someone onsite. For example, a defective nail gun could cause multiple nails to unexpectedly be released at one time, causing a serious puncture wound. Or a malfunctioning forklift could cause a serious construction site accident resulting in multiple injuries.
If a defective product directly leads to a construction site injury, the manufacturer of that product could be held liable for damages under the principle of product liability. These manufacturers have a duty to provide safe equipment for their customers and may face legal consequences when they fail to meet this duty.
Third Party Workers
Construction sites are busy scenes made up of workers from a variety of different employment sources. While you’re usually prohibited from suing your employer or co-workers, you could sue third party workers if they caused your injury through negligence. For example, if an independent contractor failed to secure his tools and you were struck from above by a falling object, you could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against that independent contractor.
How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Claim?
Construction work injuries involve complex circumstances. In order to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit, it usually requires a detailed investigation. At Lipsig Queens, we’ll evaluate your case in a free consultation and work with investigators to determine who was at fault for your injuries. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us nothing unless we win for you.
If you’re grieving after losing a family member in a construction accident, we understand your pain. A wrongful death lawsuit can help your family survive financially while bringing attention to this growing problem and encouraging project owners and managers to do more to protect their workers.