The heightened chances of being injured by falling objects makes working within the construction industry in Queens dangerous. Across Queens and other urban areas, buildings consistently expand upward, increasing this risk. When an object falls from a height, it picks up speed and velocity, increasing the impact that object has when it lands, and therefore, increasing the seriousness of the injuries that object can cause.
Finding Help After A Falling Object Injury
If you have been the victim of an on-the-job accident and have been severely injured by falling objects or debris, you’re likely going through a difficult time. Are your medical bills piling up? Are you unable to work due to your injuries, and unable to pay those bills? You may worry about how you will continue to support your family, or how you will ever work in the same capacity again.
These questions and concerns are ones we hear often. You are not alone, and there are support options for you. You should not have to settle.
Legal Support Through New York’s Scaffold Law
New York’s Scaffolding Law (section 240(1) of New York’s Labor Law), is considered a critical source of litigation for workers who have been injured on the work site. It provides expansive protection to anyone who has been injured because of working at heights or in areas of differing elevation.
First enacted in 1885, the law was designed to ensure safer environments for construction workers by making property owners and general contractors fully liable for any injuries sustained by their employees.
As soon as an injured worker can establish a scaffold law violation, all liability falls onto the shoulders of the property owner or general contractor. This extensive protection is something that is important to look into, and can help ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve moving forward. Across the nation, there are no other laws similar to this one, which makes it a wonderful resource to anyone living and working in Queens, or neighboring New York boroughs.
Workers’ Compensation: Is It Enough?
The workers’ compensation system asks that employers obtain insurance for each of their employees. This coverage is intended to assist those employees should injuries occur on the job, however, it can be insufficient and limited coverage which fails to take pain and suffering into consideration.
If an employee accepts workers’ compensation, they are also giving up their rights to take legal action against their employer, and are thus giving up their potential to get more of the complete compensation they deserve. An employee accepting workers’ compensation, however, is still able to file a third-party lawsuit. Before you agree to file a workers’ compensation claim, consider exploring all of your rights. It can make a huge difference in the outcome.
In some instances, the fact that workers’ compensation is available to employees can revoke their right to take other legal action. This is more likely to be the case if the scaffold law doesn’t come into play, but there are several other exceptions to this rule as well, like if the injury was caused by a third-party. Discussing the details of your individual injury and the circumstances around it with an experienced attorney can help you to determine your options, and your choices moving forward.
4 Drawbacks Of Workers’ Compensation
- Workers’ compensation is limiting in the compensation it offers injured individuals. It commonly covers only 1/2 to 2/3 of the employee’s usual weekly income.
- Workers’ compensation is provided through the state. As a government agency, it requires lengthy paperwork and approval before an injured worker can receive medical treatment or have necessary procedures covered.
- Workers’ compensation does not take into account any pain and suffering or psychological damage that the injured party may have encountered, or the monies needed to treat them.
- When compared to a lawsuit, workers’ compensation cannot obtain the same level of compensation and support for the injured employee.
Will I Be Fired If I File A Lawsuit?
At times, clients are concerned that if they file a lawsuit against the property owner or general contractor, they may experience some sort of retaliation from their employer, or even be fired. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states, several provisions which were created to protect employees against any form of retaliation, including protection from being fired.
If you pursue legal action against your employer and experience any form of retaliation in return, you are entitled to explore additional lawsuits.
What Is Considered Retaliation?
- Termination or demotion from your current job
- Disciplinary action that is unnecessary
- Forced isolation
- Interference with workers’ compensation claims
- Verbal or physical threats
Further details about retaliation and your rights can be found online from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission(or EEOC).
What Are Common Oversights That Cause Debris Injuries?
- Tools or machinery were not properly secured
- Building structure, machinery, or power tools were not inspected
- Warning signage was not present
- Safety equipment was not provided or worn
- Falling Object / Debris likely areas were not blocked off
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 2014 study showed that the largest risk of fatal injury in the ‘contact with objects and equipment’ category occurred when employees were hit by falling objects or equipment. These incidents made up about 34% of injuries involving equipment or objects, making them the most common cause of fatal injuries in that category.
Common Injuries From Falling Objects
Injuries can range from mild and moderate to severe, and can cause extended lengths of recovery time where the victim is unable to work.
- Fractured or broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Eye injuries or loss of sight
- Ear injuries or loss of hearing
- Impalement by sharp or quickly falling debris
- Paralysis due to broken back or neck bones
The Lipsig Law Firm works to help many people in your shoes. You have given a lot to your company. Are you getting enough in return? Unfortunately, we often see hard-working employees treated unfairly after an injury has occurred. When you aren’t being provided everything you are entitled to, we work to ensure that you are.