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Queens Scaffold Accident

Domingos Mouta was working at a construction site. He stepped onto the plywood platform of a scaffold structure. He was not aware that the structure was being dismantled. As a result he fell two stories. He suffered severe injuries including a traumatic brain injury. Mouta v Essex Mkt. Dev. LLC 2013 NY Slip Op 51162(U). Scaffolding is fact of life in Queens and in other parts of New York. It is required in order to build, maintain and repair high rise buildings. Because of the dangers of working on scaffolds, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued several regulations designed to keep workers safe. Despite these safety standards, according to OSHA in 2009 54 workers were killed in scaffolding accidents and many more were injured. Whether the scaffolding collapses or the worker loses his or her footing, when there is a scaffolding accident there is a good chance that a worker will fall from a high elevation and be seriously injured or be killed. If you are in need of a personal injury lawyer because you or a loved one has been injured in a scaffolding accident it is important that you immediately contact an experienced Queens construction accident attorney who will explain the process for pursuing compensation for your losses.

Common causes for scaffolding accidents

Most scaffolding accidents are caused by one of the following types of negligence:

  • Planking problem, including defective or unstable planks
  • Inadequate guardrails
  • Trip and fall or slip and fall. This coupled with inadequate harassing leads to falls from high elevations.
  • Falling objects
  • Scaffold collapse
  • Electrocution

Most scaffold accidents can be avoided if the required safety precautions were taken and with proper training.

Scaffolding safety requirements

With the safety of construction workers in mind, New York Labor Law Section 240 was created. This is referred to as the "scaffold law." This law places absolute liability on commercial property owners and general contractors if a worker is injured in a scaffolding accident. Under this law, commercial property owners and contractors who perform construction work or physical alterations to a property are under a duty to exercise care so that workers are protected from gravity related incidents. This includes falls from scaffolding, but can also include things falling on them. If a worker is injured and did not have the proper protection, the commercial property owner and the general contractor are liable.

Pursuing a claim

Construction site accidents, including scaffolding accidents occur far too often. Oftentimes they happen because federal and local safety requires were not followed. Other times they occur because of the negligence of another employee, the negligence of a contractor, the negligence of a equipment manufacturer, or the negligence of some other third party. Regardless of who caused the accident, if it was another person's fault you have the legal right to pursue a claim against that person or entity. However, the type of claim that you have the right to file depends on the circumstances of the accident.

If the accident was at work, there is as good chance that it is covered by your employer's required workers' compensation insurance. You may be limited to benefits offered by workers' compensation and Social Security. If the accident was caused by a third party such as a subcontractor or an equipment manufacturer, you may have the right to file a personal injury or product liability claim.

The types of compensation to which you may be entitled include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and punitive damages. If a loved one died in a scaffolding accident, you may be entitled to workers' compensation death benefits or the deceased's personal representative may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

It is important to note that even if your accident is covered by workers' compensation, you may still have the right to file a personal injury claim. It is important to discuss this with an experienced attorney.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Scaffolding accidents leave victims with serious, sometimes career-ending injuries. They also leave victims and their family in a precarious financial situation. While your accident may be covered by workers' compensation, it is still a good idea to review the facts of your case with an experienced attorney to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available from all potential sources including workers' compensation, from a personal injury lawsuit, or from Social Security. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates is experienced in handling cases involving construction injuries, pedestrian accidents, workplace accidents, and vehicle accidents. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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