Scaffolding has only one purpose: To hold workers up safely while they work. And when it doesn’t do that, very bad things happen. I’m talking big injuries, or even death. That’s why, for generations, New York State has recognized the importance of having an iron-tight law to protect construction workers from the severe injuries, or death, caused by falls from scaffolds.
The Binghamton New York scaffold collapse, which injured six construction workers yesterday, is a prime example of how important New York’s “scaffold law” (Labor Law 240) is. The scaffolding had been erected at Binghamton University on the side of a dormitory under construction. It had not been up even 24 hours when it collapsed, taking six construction workers down with it. I can guaranty you that workers’ compensation will never be enough to fully compensate these injured construction workers. That’s why Labor Law 240, the “Scaffold Law”, is so handy for New York construction and scaffolding accident lawyers like me. This Statute makes it easy to get full and fair compensation for the victims of collapsing scaffolds.
The “Scaffold Law” says that the owner and general contractor (and sometimes others) of the construction project are AUTOMATICALLY liable (New York scaffold lawyers say “strictly liable”) to injured construction workers who fall from scaffolds. If the scaffold failed to do its job of holding the workers up safely, then they are liable, period. No excuses. No stories. No shifting the blame to others. (Well, there are a few exceptions, but I can’t see any that would be applicable on the facts of this case).
No explanation for the collapse has been given. But, to a New York construction accident lawyer, it doesn’t really matter. The owner and general contractor are liable to the injured construction workers regardless of why the scaffold fell.
So the State of New York, the owner, and LeChase Construction, the general contractor, are probably already setting aside money to pay these construction workers when the inevitable Binghamton work place accident lawsuit gets filed. And that’s a good thing. The injured construction workers and their families will need it.