It is difficult to imagine, but before this statute was enacted in 1885, hard working employees were not nearly as protected if they suffered injuries on the job.
New York’s Scaffolding law was designed to rightfully hold property owners and general contractors accountable for the safety and well-being of employees. Across the U.S., there are no other similar laws, and it has become one of the most important resources for any construction injury victim. The law is thorough, providing protection in most instances and therefore relief to many. It is important to note that even injuries sustained off of the work site can qualify for coverage by this law, if the injuries occurred because of work-related efforts.
To discuss the scaffold law and specifics regarding your ladder injury, contact Lipsig Law Firm. We will make sure that your rights are taken seriously. We provide free consultations to injured construction workers or family members, and require no payments until we win your case. To date, many of our personal injury verdicts and settlements have meant multi-million-dollar recoveries for our clients.
Can I Get Fired If I File A Lawsuit?
Almost all states, including New York follow “at-will” employee laws. What does this mean? If your employment is considered “at-will” legally, this indicates that both the employee and employer have the ability to freely end their work relationship at any time, and for almost any reason. However, there are several laws set in place which specifically protect employees from “retaliation” from their employers, and directly address the issue of termination of employment.
The Exception Of Wrongful Termination
There are 3 important wrongful termination instances for this “at-will” doctrine. If the exception of a wrongful termination can be proven, the employee is entitled to a lawsuit for damages, past and future lost wages, legal fees, and other connected out-of-pocket monetary expenses, punitive damages, and even mental anguish.
In certain states, the exceptions are as follows:
- A breach of written or implied employment contract
- A breach of the employer’s “covenant of good faith and fair dealing”
- A violation of certain public policy
As New York currently stands, its “at-will” exception only includes implied contract, not public policy or covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The Laws Surrounding Retaliation
Both State and Federal law prohibit any employers from engaging in behaviors that are considered retaliatory. Retaliation can occur if you have decided to pursue legal action against your employer. Additional information concerning retaliation can be obtained through the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (or EEOC) If you are a victim of retaliation from your employer, you are entitled to a lawsuit. The term retaliation can range in explicit meaning, but traditionally encompasses:
- Demotion or termination
- Unnecessary discipline
- Forced isolation
- Workers’ compensation interference
- Use of threats, whether verbal or physical
3 Questions Before You Accept Workers’ Comp
Many injured workers are offered support through workers’ compensation programs, however, the details of these programs can be less than ideal. Employers may urge you to accept workers’ compensation, or even pressure you to do so. They do not think they should have to cover more than basics or be legally responsible for their employees, but they should. While these rights aren’t always respected or evaluated, there are important questions to answer if you are being offered workers’ compensation.
- Is it enough? The Benefits associated with workers’ compensation can include medical benefits, wage-loss benefits, and death benefits, although wage-loss benefits typically cover only about 1/2 to 2/3 of the employee’s actual weekly wage.
- Are you willing to accept less? If an employee accepts workers’ compensation, they are also giving up all rights to sue their employer, and therefore substantially more compensation.
- Do you have time to wait? Workers’ compensation is provided through a state agency, which can mean paperwork and time spent waiting for approval for all medical procedures and physician visits.
Injuries Commonly Sustained In Falls
- Back and Neck Trauma – these injuries can include slipped disks and chronic pain, bone breaks, and even paralysis
- Broken Bones and Fractures – broken bones and fractures are painful, require time to heal, and often need casts or braces, causing additional time away from work and pay
- Head/Brain Injuries – these injuries can include brain bleeds, comas, traumatic brain damage (effecting memory or mobility), and even lifelong issues that are unable to be fixed
- Tendon and Ligament Tears – during a fall, tendons and ligaments are stressed and strained, causing pain and need for potentially lengthy rehabilitation
Psychological Aftermath Of A Significant Work Injury
The damage you are experiencing can encompass more than just your physical injuries. If you’ve earned your living by working at heights and on ladders, it can be daunting to imagine heading back to work and doing the same thing ever again. It can take time and money to psychologically heal after a traumatic fall. Among the emotional struggles most commonly experienced from any kind of fall, are:
- Shock and denial
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Mood swings, depression, and anger
- Confusion and inability to properly focus
- Feelings of helplessness
- Self-guilt that is difficult to get over
- Trouble returning to work or returning to your “old self”
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Nearby Emotional Support
- Psychology Today is an online resource listing contact and specialty information about many professionals in the Bronx and nearby neighborhoods who offer support for trauma victims, including those suffering from the emotional response to a ladder injury on the job.
- Support groups are available in the Bronx and surrounding neighborhoods, made up of people who understand what you are going through because they have been in your shoes. Many of these groups offer sessions in both English and Spanish.
- The Trauma Survivors Network is a free, large, online support group that assists individuals who are struggling after being traumatized through different experiences, including significant occupational falls.
As a startling number of workers across the U.S. experience these injuries and the aftermath of them annually, time and money spent on healing significantly adds up. No one should have to worry about how they can get the medical help they need and continue to support their family. You deserve real help from the companies you have given so much of yourself to.