The aftermath of scaffolding collapses: Steps for injured workers

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Construction Accidents

Scaffolding is theoretically a means of increasing the overall safety of construction workers. Instead of needing to go up and down ladders, which can be unstable and dangerous, workers can rely on the more permanent and therefore theoretically safer assistance provided by scaffolding.

Unfortunately, scaffolding can fail while there are workers on it or near it. A scaffolding collapse could lead to a worker falling multiple stories and sustaining major injuries. An employee could also end up injured if they get struck by falling tools or equipment previously placed on the collapsed section of scaffolding.

What steps do injured workers need to take after their involvement in a scaffolding collapse incident?

Document the situation before leaving if possible

While injured workers often focus on their immediate physical needs, they may also benefit from taking steps to preserve evidence of what transpired. Photographs of the scene of the incidents or even a list of details that someone jots down on their way to the hospital could help substantiate an injured worker’s claims later.

Communicate with the employer

A worker injured in a scaffolding collapse likely requires medical intervention. When possible, it is usually preferable to notify the employer before leaving the job site for treatment. Workers may need to file incident reports as soon as possible after getting hurt on the job.

An employer’s records play an important role in helping validate the claim that someone incurred injuries on the job and can prompt an investigation into the situation that led to the scaffolding collapse. Typically, building owners or the agents that they employ have direct financial liability for any gravity-related incident.

Under New York Labor Law Section 240, injured employees can hold property owners or their agents accountable for the economic impact of any injuries related to a scaffolding collapse in New York.

Obtain appropriate medical treatment

Injured construction workers shouldn’t have to forgo necessary medical care because of the cost involved. They can potentially recover any expenses related to the scaffolding collapse or another gravity-related workplace incident by taking legal action. The sooner they seek treatment, the better their chances of a full recovery.

Consult with a lawyer

Frequently, employees injured in the scaffolding collapse get manipulated or bullied into giving up their right to compensation. Employers, insurance professionals and building owners may attempt to convince an injured construction professional that they don’t have valid grounds for a compensation claim. An attorney can educate an injury victim more about Labor Law 240 and the rights that it extends to construction professionals.

Learning about the laws that protect construction workers, including Labor Law 240, can help professionals react to incidents like scaffolding collapses. Holding property owners or their agents responsible for scaffolding that eventually collapses can take the pressure off of construction workers hurt due to the negligence of other parties.

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