Skyscrapers began rising across New York City in 1889. Since then, Queens has been filled with historic architecture and expansive buildings. These factors can create a dangerous environment for construction workers, where they can slip and fall from heights, on broken stairways and walkways, on slippery surfaces, or over debris. Falling can do lots of damage, requiring the victim to take time off of work, pay substantial medical bills, and undergo tedious rehab.
Who Is Liable For My Slip And Fall Accident?
Generally speaking, these types of accidents and injuries fall under four main categories:
- Slip and fall injuries – caused by a slip motion, meaning that the shoe and floor failed to connect properly (many times due to slippery surfaces such as wet or icy areas, or places where oil or other slipper substances have spilled.)
- Trip and fall injuries – these injuries are sustained when an object is in the way of someone’s step, causing them to trip over it and then fall.
- Step and fall injuries – these injuries are caused by things like missing steps, unexpected holes, or sudden changes in elevation, and include missteps.
- Stump and fall injuries – caused by a breakdown or damage in the walking surface, for example, a broken board on the boardwalk or cracked sidewalk panel.
Determining liability for your slip and fall accident can require evaluating several factors. If you fell on someone else’s property, generally the owner is liable if they somehow caused the injury, knew about the dangerous surface that caused it and yet did nothing about it, or, at the very least, if it is determined that the owner should have been aware of the dangerous area/surface on their property. Legally, this is concept known as premises liability.
About Premises Liability In New York
Property owners owe a duty of care to their neighbors and anyone else who spends time in or around their property. They have a responsibility to be aware of potential hazards and to take the necessary steps to remove these hazards so that visitors and passersby aren’t at risk of being injured. When a property owner fails to notice or address a dangerous condition because of negligence, they could face a personal injury lawsuit under the principle of premises liability.
Common Injuries Sustained During Slip And Fall Accidents
- Head/Brain Injuries – including traumatic brain damage and potential lifelong consequences, including comas, brain bleeds, and mobility loss
- Back, Spine, and Neck Injuries – injuries to these vital areas can range from slipped disks to paralysis
- Broken Bones and Fractures – the severity of the fractures depend on which bones have been damaged and how powerful the impact of the fall was
- Tendon and Ligament Tears – can cause long-term effects and require lengthy rehabilitation and time off of work
If you fell and sustained significant injuries, it is very common to worry about working at heights ever again. Many individuals experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, as well as phobias that can last the rest of their lives. It is important to care for your emotional damage just as you care for your physical damage. The Trauma Survivors Network is a completely free support group online that offers support specifically designed for anyone injured from a fall.
Hazardous Conditions Which Lead To Slip And Fall Accidents In NYC
Large metropolitan areas like New York City are littered with possible slip and fall hazards. With so many businesses and so much foot traffic, these accidents happen on a daily basis. Common fall dangers found throughout the city include:
- Ice and snow
- Broken and uneven sidewalks
- Broken steps and staircases
- Wet floors
- Inadequate lighting
- Uncleared wet leaves
These accidents take place in all types of locations, including:
- Apartment buildings and condos
- Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs
- Stores, boutiques, and shopping malls
- Public property
Regardless of where a slip and fall accident occurs, if the property owner was aware of should have been aware of the dangerous condition, they could be held liable.
Slip And Fall Injuries At Work
Slip and fall accidents cause the death of more than 16,000 people annually in the U.S., and are among the most common injuries suffered by those in the workplace. Did you know that the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 states that your employer is responsible to ensure that they provide you with a healthy and safe workplace? If you have fallen on the work site, your employer could be asking you to settle for less help than you deserve, but you have other options.
Proper Support For Slip & Fall Victims: The Importance of New York’s Scaffold Law
New York’s Scaffolding Law was intended to protect workers who were injured while working in a high area, or an area with different elevations. Simply, if your injury has some connection to height, you may be protected under this law.
Even those individuals who were not on the worksite when injured, but who were completing work for the project can be protected. The coverage is comprehensive, and unlike anything seen in any other states.
This statute was initiated in 1885, and ensures that property owners and general contractors, (or subcontractors), are fully and completely liable for the safety of their employees.
It is imperative to look into this law if you have been injured falling from a height. You may qualify for full reimbursement and compensation.
Should I Accept Workers’ Compensation?
Early in the 20th century, America initiated a workers’ compensation system designed to encourage employers to provide insurance for their employees in the case of an injury. Although originally designed to help, it can sometimes prevent individuals from getting the compensation they truly deserve.
Did you know?
- Your workers’ compensation claim can be disputed by your employer, causing long delays in the approval process
- There are many instances where employees do not see any financial assistance for multiple years
- Because the program is run through the government, it requires significant paperwork and approval of your medical procedures before they are covered
- Workers’ compensation generally covers only about 1/2 to 2/3 of the amount an employee typically earns from their weekly paycheck
After all of your hard work, you deserve better, and that is why Lipsig Law Firm focuses on helping personal injury victims.
4 Other Ways To File A Lawsuit
At times, suing your employer is not an option because they have made workers’ compensation available to you. Legal exceptions to consider are:
- If your injury was caused because of working from a height or different elevation levels
- If you feel that your employer intentionally and purposefully harmed you
- If you feel that your accident was caused by a 3rd party’s negligence
- If you feel that your accident occurred because of malfunctioning products or equipment
Only you know the circumstances surrounding your injury. If one of the above exceptions seems to apply, be sure to look into all of your options before settling for less by accepting workers’ compensation.
Wrongful Termination Is Illegal
At times, employees are fearful of suing because they do not want to be fired. There are laws designed to protect you from anything considered retaliation. If termination occurs anyway, and wrongful termination is able to be proven, the employee is entitled to an additional lawsuit over damages, present and future lost wages and legal expenses.
Currently, the state of New York has just one exception entitling an employee to claim ‘wrongful termination.’ That exception is implied contract.
What Does “Implied Contract” Mean?
When the employee is working for an employer but they have no written or spoken agreement for that work, just one that is assumed and created through actions, this is considered an implied contract. Without a written contract, the employee is able to consider pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident in Queens, the personal injury lawyers at Lipsig Queens can help. Proving liability in these cases can be tough, but our experienced legal team knows how to thoroughly investigate accidents and collect the appropriate evidence you need for a successful claim. We’re well-versed in the local statutes and we’re prepared to use our experience in helping countless other slip and fall victims recover compensation to help you do the same. To find out more, contact us today for a free consultation.