The legislature recognized these circumstances and began requiring that employees get better protection from possible injuries due to broken or insufficient equipment. Whether negligence has been found or not, this comprehensive law places liability on the property owner or general contractor.
What Does The Scaffolding Law Really Do?
New York’s Scaffold Safety Law is under debate concerning reform, yet it doesn’t appear that an outcome is in sight anytime soon. Recent discussions have only strengthened the law through the court system. In 2012, over half of construction accident settlements were due to the scaffold law.
In an interview with citylimits.org, Charlene Obernauer, the Executive Director for the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health discussed the current statute:
“What the law really does is make sure that construction workers are protected on the job and that if there is an injury or fatality that the construction worker can then hold the company that put that person at risk accountable.
Unfortunately, when we did an analysis of construction fatalities and looked at [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] inspections, OSHA finds two-thirds of the time in construction there is a violation. That means that companies see OSHA violations as just the cost of doing business.
Because the maximum OSHA fine is $70,000 for a willful violation, the scaffold law allows individuals to sue the employer for any violations [and that is] something that needs to be in place because the other fines are just not significant enough [to be an incentive] for employers to follow the law.”
Workers’ Compensation: Know The Facts
Many injured workers receive support through worker’s compensation programs, but the hidden details of these programs highlight the problems associated with them as well.
If you have suffered an injury because of working at an elevated height, it’s critical to look into the significant benefits possible through New York’s Scaffolding Law before accepting workers’ compensation, which will terminate your rights to sue your employer. After accepting workers’ compensation, you are only able to file 3rd party lawsuits.
- You are worth more than partial pay. Workers’ compensation can include monetary support for medical bills, wage loss, and death, but this coverage is incomplete and only typically provides anywhere between 1/2 to 2/3 of the weekly wage average earned by the employee.
- Your work is valued. If you are an independent contractor, you are typically unable to obtain coverage through workers’ compensation.
- Your rights are important. If an employee accepts workers’ compensation, they are also giving up all rights to pursue legal action.
- Your time is valuable. Your workers’ compensation often requires significant paperwork and waiting time while the state agency evaluates your medical needs and physician visits to determine what they will cover.
Why You Need Protection: The Real Aftermath Of Scaffolding Accidents
Scaffolding accidents can leave those involved with painful, debilitating, and frustrating injuries. A sudden slip and fall can take away a person’s ability to support their family or work within their trade. It can cause much more extensive damage than just that which is physically seen.
In general, construction workers climbing scaffolding are some of the hardest working individuals around. They deserve comprehensive support after sustaining injuries, and Lipsig Law Firm is dedicated to helping ensure that they get it.
The Physical Injuries
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In general, common physical injuries sustained from a scaffolding accident are:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Amputations due to sharp objects and falling debris
- Impalement from sharp objects or falling debris
- Internal and excessive bleeding
- Traumatic brain, neck, and spine injuries
- Brain damage, brain hemorrhage, and fractures of the skull
The Mental Injuries
A scaffolding accident that damages the brain or skull can result in brain damage ranging from mild to severe:
- Concussion – caused by direct blows to the head that cause brain trauma, may render the victim unconscious, can range from mild to severe and even fatal, depending on the severity of the injury
- Contusion – a contusion is bleeding (a bruise) on the brain, which can require surgical removal
- Coup-Contrecoup – this term refers to contusions that are so severe that they occur at the area of impact and on the complete other side of the brain as well, this occurs when the force of the brain trauma is so intense that it moves the brain, slamming it into the opposite side of the skull
- Diffuse Axonal – this occurs when a brain is shaken, causing the structures of it to rip and producing either temporary or permanent brain damage, a comatose state, or even death
- Penetration – a penetrating injury to the brain occurs when an object impales it, causing significant brain damage, coma, or death
The 3 Categories Of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are generally grouped into 3 main categories:
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries – characteristics of mild brain injuries include no loss of consciousness or brief loss of consciousness, normal brain scans and testing, confusion, and dizziness.
- Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries – characteristics of moderate brain injuries include a loss of consciousness lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, long-lasting confusion (can be experienced for days or weeks), and physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments occur which last several months or remain permanently.
- Severe Brain Injuries – can cause a broad range of short and long term affects to the process of thinking, touching, speaking, and feeling emotions, increases the risk for brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, and can cause full neurological/cognitive deficits which can create a long-term comatose or fatal condition.
If someone you love has suffered from a brain injury of any sort, having a strong emotional support system can make a big difference. There are many different ways you can work to provide them with the support they need, and let them know how much you care.
The Emotional Toll Of Injuries
If something occurs unexpectedly that you were unprepared for and powerless to prevent, it can cause emotional and psychological trauma. These after effects can be just as difficult to deal with as any sustained medical injuries, and can commonly include:
- Shock or denial over what has happened
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Difficulty controlling anger and mood swings
- Confusion or difficulty focusing on things outside of the trauma
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and depression
- Feelings of guilt, self-blame, and shame
- Seclusion or withdraw from social situations
- Feelings of numbness and consistent fatigue
How To Get The Legal Help You Deserve
The Lipsig Law Firm is a local firm dedicated to individuals living in the Bronx, Manhattan, and surrounding areas.
We have years of experience protecting individuals who have suffered from scaffolding injuries, as well as other construction-related injuries, and provide free case evaluations for anyone who may want to look into their legal rights. Our up-front costs are free. You pay us nothing until we win your case.