Open manhole on a construction site to signify a fall hazard

Working from an elevated level, whether on a scaffold or ladder, can be dangerous. Employees in the construction industry can suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in fall accidents. Innocent pedestrians and bicyclists can also become injured when debris falls from above them and strikes them or falls into unprotected manholes or work areas. 

If you’ve been injured in a fall accident in Long Island, you may be concerned about how to recover compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC, are prepared to help you understand your rights and pursue the full compensation you need and deserve. We’ve helped many clients receive the full compensation they deserve for injuries sustained in fall accidents.

Falling from Heights Is One of the Fatal Four Accidents

Falling from heights is one of the primary causes of death in the construction industry. Specifically, falling from heights is one of the four fatal causes for construction workers according to OSHA. In many cases, the fall is fatal. However, even when the construction worker survives, he or she may still sustain serious, life-changing injuries that could prevent him or her from being able to earn a living or even caring for himself or herself without assistance.

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Common Causes of Fall Accidents

Many fall accidents occur in the construction industry. Construction sites are dangerous and fraught with hazardous conditions. There are many different situations in which a worker can fall. The owner of the construction site and the contractor supervising the job are responsible for ensuring that workers have the correct safety gear for their jobs and that their safety gear is functional and not damaged. Safety straps, scaffolding, and harnesses should be available to employees, who should receive training on using them safely.

Working on a roof to make roof repairs can be extremely dangerous, significantly because roofs are often damaged or unstable when being repaired or built. When employees don’t have the proper safety gear, they can accidentally fall off the roof and become seriously injured. Scaffolding falls happen when scaffolding needs to have the correct safety railings and harnesses for workers. The flimsy metal structures of scaffolds can topple or become unsteady quickly.

Crane Accidents

Crane operators should receive extensive training on maneuvering these heavy and dangerous construction equipment safely. Even with the best training, crane operators can still fall from the crane’s lift. In other cases, heavy metal beams and other pieces of equipment can become dislodged from the crane and fall onto accident victims, causing fatal injuries.

Falling Through Holes in Unfinished Flooring

Falling through unfinished flooring can cause construction workers and employees or customers to become seriously injured. The property owner and the general contractor are responsible for warning others of dangerous conditions at their job site. If there are holes in the flooring, they should warn oncomers with safety cones and safety tape. Victims who fall through unsteady flooring could drop several stories down, suffering catastrophic injuries.

Falls from Elevator Shafts

Every year, victims suffer fatal injuries after falling down elevator shafts. Elevator accidents can result in severe injuries or death to construction workers installing the elevators around them. When property owners do not maintain their elevators, innocent customers, employees, or passers-by can become seriously injured by falling down elevator shafts. Almost all elevator shaft falls could have been prevented if the shaft had been correctly barricaded or covered.

Elevator shaft falls can happen because of a lack of posted warnings. The property owner should mark the site to warn others about potential safety threats. The shaft should have posted warnings that people should not enter the elevator. In other cases, a person may inadvertently walk backward into an open elevator shaft due to a lack of situational awareness. Property owners can prevent these types of accidents by installing safety nets or guardrails. 

Falling Down Manholes

Injuries and deaths caused by falling down maintenance holes are more common than many people realize. Pedestrians may not be aware that a maintenance hole is open and may walk right over the maintenance hole, falling into it. Some victims can survive falling through maintenance holes with moderate injuries, such as fractured bones. However, every year, innocent victims die by falling into maintenance holes. 

Depending on the maintenance hole, a victim could fall 15 to 20 feet. Municipalities and construction companies have a legal obligation to mark open maintenance holes and institute safety procedures to prevent construction workers from inadvertently falling into them. There’s usually a lack of oxygen at the bottom of maintenance holes, and victims may be exposed to methane gas in the sewer lines, contributing to their deaths. 

Injuries Caused by Fall Accidents

Falls from heights, even just a few feet, can cause devastating injuries. Unlike other accidents, a fall from heights can cause injuries to several parts of a person’s body. As a result, the victim’s recovery may be painful and long, and they may not have a guarantee that they will fully recover. Victims may require lengthy hospital stays, surgery, implanted medical devices, such as a rod in a bone, and rehabilitation. Medical expenses can add up quickly, and even with workers’ compensation benefits, victims can still suffer serious financial losses. Some of the most common injuries caused by fall accidents include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Soft tissue damage, including torn ligaments or muscles
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
  • Partial or total paralysis
  • Internal organ damage
  • Death

Knowing Your Legal Options After a Fall Accident

If you were injured in a fall accident at work, you must understand your legal options. You have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of the cause of your accident. These benefits will cover your medical expenses and provide a partial wage benefit while recovering. 

However, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may be beneficial instead of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. If you were not injured at work, you may have the right to pursue a premises liability lawsuit against the negligent property owner who caused your injuries. Speaking to an attorney can help you understand your legal options.

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Fall Accident Attorney in New York

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a fall accident in New York, Dell & Dean, PLLC, is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact Dell & Dean, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles claims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.