Thousands of people get injured while working as construction worker’s in New York every year. Construction work is dangerous and the law in the area of construction injuries is complex. Many of these construction accident injuries are caused by falls from scaffolds, ladders or heights.
Construction Accidents are not like any other accidents; Construction Accidents are very complex and often require a lot of investigation to establish the case. All construction accidents are different: the facts surrounding the accidents, the parties that may be liable, the injuries sustained by a construction worker, the duration of medical treatment, the permanent damage to any part of body, or the total amount of insurance coverage of the accident site are some the basic key factors that will determine the outcome of each case individually.
A complete and thorough site investigation and an expert review must be done of the construction site where the accident took place before the insurance company representatives and careless site inspectors change the conditions that caused you to be seriously injured.
New York State Construction Accident Law
The New York Labor Law Sections 240 and 241 are known as the “safe place to work” or the “scaffold” laws. These sections have been law in since the late 1800s, and they state that if a worker is injured in a New York construction accident as a result of falling from a height, or as the result of being hit with something that falls from a height, the owner and the contractor are responsible. This is true whether or not the worker was at fault or refused to use safety equipment. These laws exist to make certain that all workers have a safe place to work especially on construction sites, which are already dangerous because of what’s going on there.
New York City – Long Island Construction Accidents
Construction Accidents In New York and Long Island Often cause very serious injuries and because the work is so physically demanding, even minor injuries can prevent workers from supporting themselves and their families. This can be a devastating blow to a construction worker. Often construction workers are urged to work quickly and overlook important safety steps in order to complete a job faster. Contractors, subcontractors and construction companies may be found negligent in many scaffolding accidents. Our firm specializes in construction accidents.
Common Reasons For Construction Accidents
Often, workers are not provided with proper safety equipment, training or supervision, which would aid in the prevention of these accidents. Because of the dangerous nature of work involved with scaffolding or elevated heights, not only are the contractors are liable but the owners of the buildings are held liable as well. Even if the owners of the property do not control the work or are not present at the time of the accident, they still remain liable. Construction accidents can be caused by reasons that may not be that clear at the time of accident, such as:
- Faulty equipment
- Improper supervision
- Collapsing trenches
- Falling elevators
- Dangerous work places
- Toxic mold
- Falling objects
A Major portion of construction accidents & injuries are due to construction workers falling from heights. The failure to provide safety harnesses, fall arrest systems, netting, scaffolds or other safety devices often result in injury or death. Injuries can be caused by a:
- Fall from any height
- Fall from a ladder
- Fall from a roof
- Fall from Scaffolding
- Fall because scaffolding was not installed properly
- Fall because of openings or holes
- Fall because of collapsed scaffolding
- Fall because boards of scaffolding broke
- Fall because the scaffolding was improperly assembled
- Fall because the work platform was not properly secured
- Fall because the scaffolding was not braced properly
- Fall because a brace weld failed
- Fall into an elevator shafts
- Fall through a roof, through a floor, wall openings or holes
- Fall due to debris, sharp projectiles or other hazards that may result in injury.
Construction Accidents And Medical Bills
Generally, since the accident took place at a job site worker’s compensation coverage will pay for the medical bills. It’s very important that a worker’s compensation claim is established properly to avoid any out of pocket expenses for the injured worker. Hospitals and doctors do not seek the proper insurance information to bill, in most cases they bill directly to the injured worker, leaving him/her with more headaches to deal with on top of being injured. At our law firm we ensure that the proper worker’s compensation claim is established and the injured construction worker is not bothered with any unnecessary headaches. Some employers do not carry the required worker’s compensation insurance; in that case a claim has to be established with The New York State Worker’s Compensation Board. It’s very important that medical coverage is established as soon as possible immediately following any construction accident.
Construction Accidents and Liability
Depending on the size and sophistication of the construction project, there can several parties involved at a construction site, starting with the landowner, design and engineering professionals, all contractors (including general contractors, sub contractors and prime contractors), construction project managers, and equipment and material suppliers.
While many construction projects are based on general contract relationships (where a general contractor retained by the site owner enters into agreements with sub-contractors as needs require), larger projects are increasingly being handled by “construction management” organizations. These organizations are also responsible for ensuring a safe work environment. The type of system in place at a construction site where an injury occurs will be an important consideration in assessing the potential liability of the various individuals involved in the project, especially as to the site owner’s liability. Larger construction projects typically involve a great deal of delegation of both work and legal responsibility: from site owner to general contractor; general contractor to “prime” or sub-contractor; and in some cases, “prime” contractor to sub-contractor.
Generally speaking, in assessing liability for injuries at a construction site, the main determinations are the extent of a potential party’s control over the premises on which the work is being done, and the degree of their control over the work itself. To determine who may be liable for injuries resulting from a construction accident, it will help to take a close look at the duties and legal responsibilities of individuals who may be involved in the construction project at issue. If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries from a Construction Accident, you should consult with a New York Construction Accident Attorney as you may be entitled to a large money award.
Property Owner’s Liability For Construction Accidents
Depending on the amount of control of the premises that he or she gives over to an independent contractor, the landowner may or may not be considered the “legal possessor” of the land for the duration of the construction project. Issues of landowner liability will also turn on the degree of his or her control over the premises, as compared to control over the work itself. With this in mind, the owner or possessor of the land on which a construction project is being performed is liable for any injury to individuals (called business “invitees”) involved in the project, caused by a potentially harmful conditions on the land that the owner knew or should have known of.
General – Subcontractor’s Liability For Construction Accidents
Both the general and sub-contractor have the responsibility to provide safe work environment to every construction worker at any construction site. They have a legal duty to warn the construction worker of any defects or hazards at the construction site as well as any hazards inherent in the work being performed. Typically, a general or sub-contractor will have a duty to make sure that, to the extent they have been delegated control over a portion of the work being performed at a construction site, that the work is being performed safely. This duty extends to the hiring of a reasonably competent employee, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.
Prime Contractor’s Liability For Construction Accidents
Prime contractors share similar responsibilities with both general and sub-contractors, depending on the specific construction project at issue. While a general contractor has the responsibility for the entire project, a prime contractor is responsible only for the work that is identified in his or her prime contract. A prime contractor is also responsible for any work that he or she chooses to delegate to sub-contractors, and has exclusive responsibility over those sub-contractors including as to payment and work quality.
Architects And Engineer’s Liability For Construction Accidents
These design professionals can be charged with differing amounts of responsibility for a construction project, and often the best way to determine the extent of that responsibility is to look to the design professional’s contract with the site owner. Duties can include progress observation to ensure compliance with plans and specifications, and a site inspection to ensure compliance with code regulations. Aside from any duty specifically identified in the relevant construction contract, these design professionals are held to certain accepted standards in performing professional services during the design and/or construction phases of the project. An architect or engineer can be held liable for any injuries suffered by construction workers as a result of their failure to meet those standards.
Insurance Company’s Liability For Construction Accidents
Especially in situations involving major construction projects, often the parties involved will be required to carry ample insurance coverage. For example, the owner or property manager may be required to carry premises or property liability insurance; and the general and/or sub- contractor may need workers’ compensation, commercial general liability, and employer’s liability insurance. The insurance coverage of each respective party involved in a construction project, and the extent of that coverage, are important issues when assessing legal responsibility for a construction injury.