Langsam Law LLP

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Construction Injury Law: Negligence Involving Heights

Posted March 7, 2019

If you or anyone you know is in the construction field, it is important to be familiar with a law known as the “Scaffold Law.” This holds a building owner and general contractor vicariously liable for any incident that involves both a worker falling from a height and objects falling from heights upon a worker. In these cases, negligence does not have to be proved. It is considered strict liability, and victims of these height-related injuries may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the building owner and general contractor—provided it is not their employer—for pain and suffering and additional lost earnings that the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance won’t cover.

While negligence does not have to be proved in court, these are not always cut-and-dry cases. The primary things that need to be proved in order for the Scaffold Law to apply are that the injury was construction-related (as opposed to maintenance-related) and was caused by gravity. As with any injury, documentation and witnesses are key components to winning a case. If you are a witness to this type of injury, share your contact information with the victim or responding authorities. If you are a victim and still able to function, have others commit to being witnesses and ask them to take photos of you as well as the scene.

Injuries can cause long-term medical issues and loss of wages that can debilitate individuals and families. Bringing a civil suit against a non-employer third party is often the only way victims can stay financially sound on their road to recovery.

Case Study

Langsam Law represented a man who was unloading a truck on the jobsite. The workers had constructed a ramp, with one end of plywood in the truck and the other on the ground. Building material fell from the ramp and injured the man’s wrist, resulting in complex surgery and the insertion of a plate and screws. Langsam Law helped the client bring suit against both the building owner and general contractor, arguing that the distance from the large delivery truck to the sidewalk constituted a height. The insurance company offered a settlement for lost wages and pain and suffering.

Note: Prior results do not guarantee similar results. 

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