Frequently Asked Questions About New York Scaffold Law
The NY Scaffold Law, also known as Labor Law 240/241 provides protection for construction workers and pedestrians against falling debris, falls from heights and other gravity related injuries at unsafe construction sites. This law is unique to New York and people often have questions about it.
Why are owners and contractors held liable for accidents?
Legislators and courts have decided that property owners and contractors are in the best position to text control a construction site and its safety. New York’s Court of Appeals has stated that, “The objective was—and still is—to force owners and contractors to provide a safe workplace…”
Workers rely on contractors and owners to provide safety equipment and to oversee the work. In that sense, they are dependent on them to make the workplace safe. A construction accident scene is different from a car accident scene, where both drivers have complete control of their cars. Contributory negligence makes sense in that situation. However, in the workplace, control is on the side of the owner and contractor, and the construction worker is dependent upon the contractor to provide safety devices and instruction.
Is the owner or contractor always liable for an accident under the Scaffold Law?
Not always. The owner or contractor would have to violate safety standards to be liable for damages resulting from an accident. The worker must prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident. Also, if the party provided the worker with adequate protection and the worker’s negligence caused the accident, there would not be a viable claim against the party. An example would be if the worker were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then the claim would fail. In addition, if the contractors or owners provided the worker with proper safety equipment and instruction, but the worker ignored instructions or did not use the equipment, the court would not rule in favor of the worker.
Can an undocumented worker receive compensation under the Scaffold Law?
Yes, in 2006, the highest court in New York ruled that injured undocumented workers could recover lost wages under the Scaffold Law. However, there is one condition. They will not be to be able to do so if they have given false work papers to their employer.
(Reference: Center for Justice Democracy)
Contact an experienced accident attorney if you have questions about the Scaffold Law.
If You Were Not Wearing a Helmet, Will It Affect Your Accident Case?
Wearing a helmet can help prevent a serious injury or even save a life in motorcycle accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that severe head injuries are common in fatal motorcycle accidents. Helmets prevent about 37 percent of motorcyclists from dying and about 67 percent from experiencing brain injuries.
These percentages are significant. In 2017, about 14 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities were motorcycle accident deaths, which was double the statistic in 1997.
In 2016, the number of motorcycle deaths was almost 28 times the number of car accident deaths.
New York Helmet Law
The State of New York requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets. The helmet must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards.
How Does Wearing a Helmet Affect a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
In any New York vehicle accident, the court assigns a percentage of fault to the parties involved. Any violations of the law would indicate negligence on the part of the person in violation. The legal term for this method of assigning fault is contributory negligence.
For this reason, if you were in a motorcycle accident and not wearing a helmet, the court is likely to assign you a percentage of fault for the injury you experienced. Courts reduce the amount of compensation that you can recover based on your percentage of fault. If you were 30 percent at fault, and damages were $100,000,your recovery of damages would be reduced by 30 percent ($70,000).
Other New York Law that Affects Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles are not considered vehicles under New York No-Fault insurance law. In addition, an injured motorcyclist does not have to meet the “serious injury” threshold to sue another party for damages. In addition to the fact that many motorcycle accident injuries are serious, this is important to know.
If you are involved in a serious motorcycle accident, you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible so you understand your legal rights to recover compensation.
Why Texting While Driving May Be More Dangerous than DWI
It may come as a surprise that texting while driving is more worrisome to the majority of drivers than drunk driving. This is true despite the fact that statistics show that drunk drivers kill more people than drivers who are texting.
Survey and Facts About Texting While Driving
Cambridge Mobile Telematics conducted a survey on more than 700 drivers regarding distracted driving. Results showed that 63 percent of the participants worried more about distracted drivers than drunk drivers.
The following statistics also provide vital information:
- Distracted drivers kill an estimated nine people in vehicle crashes every day.
- Approximately 3,285 deaths occur every year due to texting while driving accidents.
- The average sober driver takes .54 seconds in reaction time to hit the brake.
- Drunk drivers react more slowly and the slower reaction adds four more feet before hitting the brake.
- Texting drivers react even slower than drunk drivers and their slower reaction adds 70 feet before braking.
Today all state legislatures have enacted drunk driving laws. It took years of campaigns, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other efforts along with public demand to eliminate for laws to emerge. All states now have blood alcohol content limits. Breathalyzers and sobriety tests are legal means to identify drivers who are intoxicated.
In 2016, there were 10,497 people who died as a result of drunk driving accidents. This number is greater than the number of reported deaths due to distracted driving.
However, there is no system in place to detect distracted driving the way there is with drunk driving. Distracted driving is much more difficult to detect and to report.
A Comparison of Laws
Laws for texting while driving are not nearly as stringent as drunken driving laws. All states now have no texting while driving laws. For mobile phones, many states, but not all, have hands-free laws. Despite the laws, the survey revealed that 75 percent of drivers see other drivers on their phones.
In New York, a first DWI offense is a misdemeanor, and penalties include the loss of driving privileges, fines and possible jail time. Penalties are much greater for subsequent DWI offenses.
By comparison, texting while driving carries a fine of $200 and points added to the driving record for violation. There is no license suspension and no jail time.
What to Do if You’re in a Crash Caused by a Distracted Driver
If you have been in a serious car crash and the other driver was at fault due to texting while driving, get legal help right away. Lawyers offer free consultations to evaluate your case. There would be no out-of-pocket expenses. When the attorney succeeds through settlement or verdict, the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the compensation.
Protecting Your Legal Rights in Car Accidents Claims
You may have heard people say that everyone will be in a car accident at some point in their lives. While this statement is a generality and isn’t literally true for everyone, there are statistics that make it likely. Chances are, based on statistics, that most people will experience a car accident, whether a fender bender or a full on crash.
Quoting from Forbes, car insurance industry estimates show that the average driver is in a car accident once every 17.9 years. The article goes on to point out that if you got your driver’s license at age 16, when you reach the age of 34, you will have been in a car accident. Esurance.com reports that 77 percent of U.S. drivers have experienced at least one accident, yet the average driver will experience three or four accidents during a lifetime.
Also noteworthy are the statistics that 10 million vehicle accidents occur in the U.S. every year, and this includes everything from parking lot dings and scratches to major collisions on the freeway.
Legal Protection for Serious Car Accidents
While the insurance sales representative may seem like your best friend, other insurance personnel work to save the company money. Car insurance companies hire teams of adjusters, private investigators, accident analysts and lawyers to build strong cases to protect their bottom lines. Denying a claim or paying a claimant as little as possible is a common strategy for driving profits.
However, the fact remains, that insurance companies want to avoid going to trial because litigation is expensive. Whenever possible they vie for an out-of-court settlement. Another tactic is to push for a settlement too quickly before the full extent of damages is known.
If you are injured and medical bills are mounting up, the idea of a quick settlement may appeal to you. This may or may not be to your advantage. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can have a knowledgeable advocate during settlement negotiations. You also have professional who knows how to get you the most compensation.
If you have been in a serious car crash and the other driver was at fault, get legal help. Lawyers offer free consultations to determine whether you have a case. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe nothing unless the attorney succeeds through settlement or verdict.
Navigating the New York Legal System
Hiring an attorney for a serious car accident case is typically a necessity based on what the accident victims face. Severe injuries leave the victim suffering and unable to work. Many are hospitalized, have gone through a surgery or several surgeries and are taking months to recover. Aside from the excruciating pain and strong desire to feel normal again, the person may be wondering, “How can I afford being off work or how can I pay the mounting medical costs?”
In New York, a serious injury caused by a car accident enables the victim to sue for damages. New York insurance law outlines specific requirements that define the “serious injury threshold” for car accidents. When your injury meets this threshold, you will need a lawyer.
Why You Need a Lawyer if You Meet the Serious Injury Threshold
Substantial monetary amounts are at stake. If another driver was at fault for the accident, you can expect their insurance company to do everything it can to pay as little as possible. Their insurance adjuster may call you and appear to be very interested and compassionate. However, the information you provide will become part of their lawyers’ legal strategy to settle quickly, pay as little as possible and safeguard the insurance company’s bottom line.
The at fault driver will have a team of insurance lawyers working diligently to prove the driver either was not at fault or that the driver’s percentage of fault for causing the accident was minimal. They would like to prove that your injuries are not as serious as you claim or that your actions contributed to the accident more than they actually did.
They are advocates for the defendant, not for you. What you need is an experienced attorney who can advocate on your behalf and argue your side of the case.
Let Your Lawyer Gather the Facts and Prepare Your Case
Aside from the fact you do not have in-depth knowledge of how the legal system works, if you are seriously injured, you are in no shape to gather case information anyway. About all you can do is follow your doctor’s orders, deal with the pain and suffering, struggle with the tasks of daily living and try to recover.
If your attorney has years of experience handling accident cases, he will have valuable knowledge and skill when dealing with insurance companies. He knows what a fair settlement offer should look like. He also knows to have you wait until your doctor says you have met maximum medical improvement. By doing so, he can arrive at realistic and adequate monetary amounts to recover compensation for damages.
Personal injury lawyers take car accident cases based on contingency, which means the lawyer receives no fee unless he wins or settles your case.
If you are seriously injured in a car crash, an attorney can help you protect your rights. There is no charge for an initial consultation. During the consultation, the lawyer will evaluate your accident and discuss the prospects of pursuing a case.
The Worst Time for Teen Accidents Is When School Is Out
Teenage driving has the highest accident rate of any age group, and teen accidents are the nation’s leading cause of death for teenagers. Teenage drivers are youth between the ages of 16 to 19.
Teenage Driving Statistics
Teenage drivers are three times more at risk for dying in a vehicle crash than drivers who are 20 or older.
According the (CDC) Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, six teenagers died every day due to motor vehicle crashes. A total of 2,433 teens were killed. Teenagers represented 6.5 percent of the population in 2016, but the expenses they accumulated for vehicle crashes were 8.4 percent of the national total.
It stands to reason that during the summer, when warmer weather arrives and more people are on the road, so are teenagers. When school is out, teens have more free time and drive more often.
What Are Biggest Risks?
Male teens are twice as likely as females to die in a vehicle crash. When teens ride with a teenage driver and are unsupervised, the crash risk increases. In fact, the risk is proportionate to the number of teens in the car. The more teen passengers there are, the greater the risk.
New drivers who have just gotten their licenses are the most at risk of all. Also, younger teens at the age of 16 or 17 are at greater risk for a fatal crash than teens at the ages of 18 and 19.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Teenage Driver? Read More
If you are injured in a crash that involved a teenage driver, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. There is no cost for the initial consultation, and there are no out of pocket expenses. If the attorney recovers compensation on your behalf, the fee is a percentage of the recovery.