Falls From Height in The Construction Industry: The Scaffold Law & How It Can Help You

Construction siteIt’s no surprise that construction sites are dangerous work environments. In fact, the construction industry is one of the most dangerous in the U.S.

Falls from elevated work positions, such as scaffolding or ladders, are the number one leading cause of death in the construction industry. But what happens if you’re injured on the job?  Who will pay your medical bills?  Can you recover your lost wages?  Are you entitled to pain and suffering? This is where the Scaffold Law can help you.

What is the Scaffold Law?

In 1885, lawmakers in New York enacted a law intended to provide safety to construction workers who face the danger of working at high heights. The Scaffold Law, or Labor Law §240(1), requires employers on building sites to ensure the safety of their workers who work high above ground, and if it is found that those safety devices were not provided and an injury took place, the property owner or contractor would be liable. This law is essential to ensuring the safety of men and women who work in this dangerous industry.

Major construction companies and their insurance agencies have tried to reform the Scaffold Law. Their excuse is the rising cost of construction, but there is no proof of any connection between this rise and the Scaffold Law. At Basch & Keegan, we oppose any reform to the Scaffold Law, because change would reduce the incentive for property owners and general contractors to provide proper safety equipment for their workers.

What are the Benefits of the Scaffold Law & What Can I Recover?

The Scaffold Law allows injured construction workers to be compensated for general and special damages.  General damages are non-economic damages such as physical injuries, pain and suffering, and emotional damages.  Special damages cover economic losses. For example, if your injuries are so severe that you can no longer work, you may have “future lost wages.” This too is recoverable under the Scaffold Law.

Under the Scaffold Law, you can seek the following past and future damages:

  • Medical, hospital and rehabilitative services
  • Loss or impairment of income and fringe benefits
  • Pain and suffering, including the loss of enjoyment of life

What are My Next Steps?

Some construction workers may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits through their employers.  Many construction workers may also be eligible for compensation for other damages, such as pain and suffering, due to on-the-job injuries. It’s important that you talk to an attorney who knows the law and has the experience to handle your construction site injury claim to get you the compensation you deserve in your third-party lawsuit.

If you’ve been hurt on the job, call us today or fill out our form.