This article will explain some of the laws relating to construction accidents. If a worker is injured on the job, his medical bills and compensation for his injury are covered by Workers Compensation. In essence, a worker cannot “sue” his employer for pain and suffering except under very, very specific circumstances. Basically, a worker gives up his right to sue for pain and suffering in exchange for guaranteed payments of medical bills and lost time from work. These payments are made even if the worker is at fault due to his own negligence.
Exceptions to the Workers Compensation Law involve contractors, sub-contractors and property owners. For example, if a worker is doing work at a location which is not owned by his employer, or different sub-contractors are doing work and a sub-contractor or general contractor causes injury to the worker, then the worker can sue the “other” general contractor or sub-contractor for his injuries.
The greatest exception to the Workers Compensation Law is known as the Ladder and Scaffold Law or Section 240 or 241 of the Labor Law. Section 240 and 241 state that a worker who is injured as the result of a fall off a ladder or scaffold has an automatic right to sue the owner of the property. What’s more, the owner is held strictly liable for the accident. The owner cannot claim that he is not responsible, did not provide the ladder or the scaffold or did not supervise the work. All these arguments are not defenses, as the law requires that he provide very specific safety equipment.
Because scaffold and ladder cases and other “gravity” related cases cause severe injuries, typical settlements are quite large. As a result of these large money awards, insurance carriers for the property owners fight these cases vigorously in Court. They try to show that it is not a gravity-related injury, but merely a simple negligence case. A good sincere attorney will oppose these defense claims and even take the case to the Appellate Courts if they lose in the lower court.
In summary, every injured worker should know that he is covered by Workers Compensation Insurance for his medical bills and loss of earnings. Even if his employer did not purchase a workers compensation insurance policy, he is still covered by the Uninsured Employers Fund of the Workers Compensation Board. If your injury is the result of a fall off a ladder or scaffold, or an injury by something falling on you, you have reason to sue the general contractor and property owner.
In our office, we have won large awards for people who were injured as the result of falling off fire escapes, ladders, and even in a case where a beam fell onto our client causing him severe shoulder injury.
If you are injured while at work, call our office to determine whether you have a viable case entitling you to large cash awards.