Every year, 22,710 people are injured from falling off of ladders. If you are in New York, you may be entitled to compensation if this happens to you. Most New York construction workers who are injured from ladder falls or falls from scaffolding or other elevated surfaces are entitled to workers’ compensation or even personal injury claims after these accidents. If you are unfairly denied the compensation you deserve, it is important to understand and fight for your rights as an injured worker.
We know how tough scaffolding or ladder accident injuries can be. They don’t just prevent you from doing your work but they affect every aspect of your life. At The Coppola Firm, we can help you collect the compensation to which you are entitled so you can recover and heal.
What Should I Do After a Scaffolding or Ladder Accident in New York?
There are specific steps that victims of ladder falls and falls from other elevated construction sites should take to help make sure they get the compensation they deserve after such an incident. It is vital to take each step as it comes. The steps you should take include the following:
- Seek medical treatment
- Report the accident to your employer
- Collect witness accounts
- Save the ladder or other equipment involved in the accident
- Call a qualified New York construction accident attorney
Seek Medical Treatment
You should always seek medical treatment after a scaffolding or ladder accident. Some injuries can take days or even weeks to show symptoms. In addition, it is required that you seek medical attention if you submit a claim for compensation. Look for key symptoms such as back or neck pain, weakness or numbness in extremities, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, weakness, clammy skin, or loss of consciousness. These could be symptoms of spinal damage, concussion, shock, or other serious injuries.
Report the Accident
Most employers in New York are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. New Yorkers are required to report any workplace injuries to their employer within 30 days and should do so as soon as possible. Indeed, failing to do so could cost you your ability to seek compensation and benefits.
If you suffer a construction work-related injury of any type, including fall injuries from a scaffolding or ladder accident, it is important to collect witnesses if there are any. Witness accounts (this can include co-workers) of scaffolding, ladder, or other elevation-related falls can help support your claim, establishing that the direct cause of your serious injuries was the fall.
Save the Ladder
If possible, do not allow your employer to remove or dispose of the ladder or scaffolding. Defective ladders and other defective devices can be the cause of serious and even fatal falls. They serve as important evidence in your case.
Call a New York Construction Accident Attorney
If you suffer a scaffolding or ladder accident or any other sort of personal injury on a construction site, you should immediately call a New York injury attorney who is well-versed in seeking compensation for catastrophic construction industry accidents. Remember, insurance companies will do whatever they can to deny you as much compensation as possible. You’ll need experience and support by your side to stand your ground against insurers. Contact The Coppola Firm at 716-839-9700 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation today.
What Are the Most Common Injuries From Falling Off a Ladder in New York?
A scaffolding or ladder accident or accident from another kind of elevated surface can cause any number of injuries. Some of the most common ladder-related injuries include broken bones, head injuries such as traumatic brain injury, sprains, neck injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, swelling, bruising, and soreness. Sadly, even fatal injuries are not uncommon from these kinds of falls.
Ladder fall accidents and other accidents from elevations off of ground level can cause long-lasting damage. You may suffer difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, chronic and persistent pain, PTSD, and other mental and emotional trauma.
It’s important to remember that in addition to ladder accidents, fall incidents at construction sites can occur when workers fall from scaffolding, beams, roofs, windowsills, and more. Additionally, objects can fall from great heights and strike workers, which can lead to serious injuries. Some of the potential injuries from falls and falling objects include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal injuries
- Bodily trauma and disfigurement
- Wrongful death in the case of a loved one
How Do Most Ladder Accidents Happen in New York?
There are many reasons why ladder accidents occur, and they can be divided into five common causes.
Incorrect Extension Ladder
Choosing an extension ladder that is the wrong height can be a critical error when it comes to ladder use. If you choose a ladder that is too long, for example, you may end up pulling it too far from the wall. The correct angle for extension ladders is 75 degrees. More or less presents ladder safety issues.
Poor Ladder Selection
Choosing the wrong ladder is a major cause of accidents. Never, for example, choose an extension ladder when a step ladder will do, or vice versa. Always select the right type of ladder for the job at hand.
Ladder safety depends on checking that the ladder is properly maintained, is free from dirt, grit, or other substances, and remains completely dry. Failing to check and ensure these things can lead to fatalities.
Ladder Used Incorrectly
Failure to observe the correct ladder safety protocols can lead to severe injuries and death. Common situations in which ladders are used incorrectly include overreaching, carrying items while climbing, and failure to maintain at least three points of contact when ascending or descending a ladder, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at OSHA.gov.
Lack of Training
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the majority of construction workers in the country are not properly trained in ladder safety because companies do not have the knowledge or resources to do so. This is a massive problem because education is the first step in reducing or eliminating falls from ladders.
How Labor Law § 240 Protects You After a Construction Accident
Labor Law § 240, also known as the Scaffolding Law, is designed to protect workers who suffer a fall or are struck by a falling object. In accordance with New York law, all contractors and property owners must maintain a safe work site and provide scaffolding for workers on construction projects. As a disclaimer, this also includes safety equipment such as portable ladders, hangers, slings, blocks, pulleys, ropes, and more.
Am I Entitled to Workers’ Compensation After a Ladder Injury in New York?
Yes, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation from a work-related ladder fall so long as you are a paid worker. To discuss qualification details, please reach out to our Buffalo law firm. Personal injury consultations are always free and confidential.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim After a Ladder Accident?
Even if you are covered by workers’ compensation, you also may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. According to Section 240 of the New York State Labor Law, construction workers injured as a result of a fall from a ladder, scaffolding, or other elevated surface are often entitled to monetary damages, even if their behavior contributed in part to the accident. New York workplaces also are required to follow OSHA rules and regulations for safety on-site, and contractors are required to furnish safe ladders for scaffolding or staging heights greater than 20 feet. All scaffolding must be able to bear four times the maximum weight expected to be placed on it and must have a safety rail that rises at least 34 inches from the floor of the scaffolding.
If your workplace’s scaffolding and ladders do not meet OSHA standards, or if you fell from them for some other reason, you may have a case for a personal injury claim. For additional information, contact our Buffalo, New York law firm for legal guidance.
Should I Hire a New York Construction Accident Lawyer After a Ladder Fall?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the year 2020 alone saw 161 fatal injuries primarily caused by ladder falls. Hiring an attorney after a ladder fall can significantly help you secure the benefits or compensation you deserve under the law. Even after deducting the average attorney contingency fee of around 33%, net payouts are nearly three times higher than what people receive when they do not have representation.
In addition, insurance companies will often go out of their way to avoid payouts. Having an injury attorney in your corner will help you fight back. An attorney will protect your rights and work diligently to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries, letting you focus on recovery.
Why Our Clients Choose The Coppola Firm
At The Coppola Firm, our lawyers are committed to delivering results to our clients and fighting the tough battles for you so you can focus on recovery. Our full-service practice can handle all legal issues on your behalf, from medical bills and lost wages to workers’ compensation benefits and winning verdicts, allowing you the time and space to deal with your own injuries on your own terms with a communicative attorney-client relationship. Insurance companies dedicate considerable effort to denying you as much compensation as they feel they can get away with, which is why we are so committed to fighting back against their unruly tactics.
We understand how debilitating it can be to suffer an injury in an accident that changes how you have to live your life, especially if you work in construction or are a general contractor. For your convenience, our office is set on the ground floor of our building, and we offer free parking so that you can experience the accessibility you need while pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. Plus, we give back to our community during the annual Coppola Firm Days of Giving that occur each December. Whether it is for your accident case review, general legal advice, or our local community, The Coppola Firm is dedicated to giving back.
For example, one case involved a construction worker working on an outside project for a new-build retail store. He was doing framing work, about 10 feet above the ground. He was working on a scaffolding provided by his employer. He had not been provided any fall protection equipment, like a safety belt or a lanyard, despite rules requiring that he be provided such equipment. Furthermore, the scaffolding did not have railings on all four sides. While working, the legs of the scaffolding shifted and sunk into the soft ground below, causing him to lose his balance and fall 10 feet from the platform to the ground below. As a result, he suffered severe leg and back injuries, requiring multiple surgeries and an extensive hospital admission.
The accident and injury happened through no fault of the client, and in clear violation of the New York State Labor Law requirements and violations of the New York State Industrial Code. These laws exist to protect our most vulnerable citizens, construction workers performing construction work. Construction work is hard work, performed by tough people. New York State has long-recognized that these workers deserve extra protection under the law.
In another case, the client was a husband and father who was killed in a fall from a high lift at a construction site. The accident was caused by a violation of Labor Law section 240, and the case a settled before trial for $2 million.
We’ve Spent Decades Litigating for Ladder Fall Victims
Whether you are a full-time worker or an independent contractor, we will help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The Coppola Firm offers free consultations and free advice videos and a woman-owned personal injury law firm in Buffalo. As mentioned, we offer a ground-floor location with free parking so that our office is completely accessible to you. To begin your case, schedule a free consultation with our legal team by calling 716-839-9700 or through our online contact form.