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NY Court Examines Scaffold Worker Injury Lawsuits

Judges with the New York Court of Appeals examined how two scaffold worker injury lawsuits fit within the scope of the state’s “Scaffold Law.” One of the scaffold worker injury lawsuits involved a worker who fell off a billboard while installing extenders. The other case regarded a construction worker who was installing insulation in the ceiling of a new apartment building. Both cases involved what the Scaffold Law describes as “gravity-related” injuries.

Law Under Scrutiny in Scaffold Worker Injury Lawsuits

New York’s Labor Law Section 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, states that employers who construct multi-family and multi-story buildings must provide adequate protection for workers whose duties place them “at least thirty-four inches above the floor.” These protections include constructing the scaffold “to bear four times the maximum weight” for its task and to attach “a safety rail of suitable material” to the scaffold. The plaintiffs in the scaffold worker injury lawsuits allege that the employers did not provide adequate protection according to the Scaffold Law.

Stilts Not Covered in Scaffold Worker Injury Lawsuit

The first scaffold worker injury lawsuit the appeals court examined came from a 2006 incident in the Village of Fredonia. A construction worker wore stilts while installing insulation in an apartment building. The stilts allowed him to reach the ten-foot-high ceilings while keeping both hands free. The stilts slipped on a patch of ice and the worker fell three to five feet to the concrete. The appeals court ruled that the Scaffold Law did not apply in this specific scaffold worker injury lawsuit, as the injury came from the slippage on the ice, rather than any height-related safety issue.

Billboard Worker Wins Scaffold Worker Injury Lawsuit Appeal

In a related scaffold worker injury lawsuit, the judges found that an Erie County billboard worker’s injuries did fall under the scope of the Scaffold Law. The worker fell off a billboard as he detached his safety lanyard to move around a fellow crew member. A gust of wind pushed a piece of the vinyl advertising sign into him and he fell ten feet onto a steel I-beam. The scaffold worker injury lawsuit listed his injuries, including a dislocated shoulder and herniated discs in his spine, which left him unable to work.

Scaffold Worker Injury Lawsuits Highlight Dangerous Work

The recent scaffold worker injury lawsuits have brought the dangerous nature of high-rise work into the mainstream media. A 2013 report from the Center for Popular Democracy showed that 136 fatal falls occurred in New York State construction sites from 2003 to 2011. The report showed that 60 percent of those deaths were from workers who were Latino, immigrants or both. Families of fatal fall victims have filed numerous scaffold worker injury lawsuits to recover damages. The New York Law Journal stated that awards for such suits ranged from $3 million to $15 million.

Sources: Insurance Journal, FindLaw, New York Times

Know Your Rights in a Scaffold Worker Injury Lawsuit

To find out how we can help you with a scaffold worker injury lawsuit, contact us today at 877-892-2797. Our friendly staff will ask a few questions about your case and connect you to a scaffold worker injury lawsuit attorney. You can also fill out the “Free Case Evaluation” form at the top of this page.