When you think about deadly workplace accidents, images of heavy machinery, excavation pits, and precariously operated ladders and scaffolds may come to mind. Those all are serious threats to workplace safety, but it is dangerous to forget that falling objects – even very small, lightweight objects – present a serious, often deadly threat to workers. If you’ve been hurt on the job in a falling object incident, it is essential that you act fast to preserve your legal rights and receive full compensation for your injuries. Seek help from an experienced workplace accident attorney to ensure that your rights under the law are upheld.
Common Sources of Falling Object Workplace Injuries
In November 2014, a construction worker was killed in Jersey City when a one-pound tape measure fell off another worker’s belt and plummeted 500 feet down, hitting the worker’s unprotected head. Nationwide, over 200 fatalities occur from falling objects on worksites each year, with many more injuries resulting. Falling objects can injure workers from even short distances, but with a booming new age of skyscrapers being built throughout New York and New Jersey, and contractors and property owners cutting corners with regard to safety, the risks of falling objects causing injuries and fatalities to workers must be addressed. Common sources of falling object workplace injuries include:
- Lack of proper guardrails, barricades, and protective structures
- Grates improperly left open
- Improperly secured loads
- Substandard hoisting practices
- Failure to stack materials properly
- Tools and equipment placed too close to edges or not secured
Employers and contractors are required to follow state and federal guidelines in order to provide a safe working environment for employees. While employers may have a motivation to cut corners with regard to safety in order to stay on schedule, limit costs, and increase profits, it is the workers who pay the price for those employer profits in the form of injuries and fatalities.
The Rights of Injured Workers in New York and New Jersey
Workers injured by falling objects have a right to be compensated under the laws of New York and New Jersey. They may seek compensation through a workers’ compensation claim against the employer, as well as a civil claim against the owner or the general contractor or other subcontractors, and even against the employer if it acted recklessly or intentionally caused the injury. Under New York Labor Law §240(1), employers are strictly liable for gravity-related injuries, which include many falling object injuries, meaning that the employer must compensate the employee regardless of the circumstances, including where the employee was at fault. Negligence must be proven in a third party claim.
Property Owner Liability for Falling Objects Injuries
In addition to employers and contractors, property owners may also be liable to workers who suffered injuries while on the property, if the property owner failed to provide for the safety of the workers or lawful invitees on the construction site. In New York, property owners and contractors are absolutely liable in some circumstances for construction injuries caused by failure to provide a safe worksite as required by state and federal law.
Get Help Recovering Compensation for Falling Objects Injuries from an Experienced and Dedicated Construction Accident Attorney
Falling object injuries can result in long recovery periods, rehabilitation expenses, or even permanent disability, which workers’ compensation may not entirely cover. An experienced workplace accident attorney can help you to explore other avenues for compensation, in order to make sure that you and your family are fully cared for after your accident. Contact New Jersey and New York personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation on your various claims, at 973-532-9681.