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Is Falling Down the Stairs Covered Under the Scaffold Law?

As a New York worker, you might have heard about something called the “Scaffold Law.” This is one of the most unique protections for workers in the United States, and it only applies to the Empire State. If you have suffered an injury on the job in New York, it makes sense to consider your eligibility under the Scaffold Law first and foremost. What happens if you fall down a set of stairs? Are you eligible for additional compensation?

Why Should I Care About the Scaffold Law?

If you are recovering from injuries after falling down the stairs at work, it is important to understand how the Scaffold Law can help. This law is more than a century old, and it was initially established to protect construction workers. These workers built some of New York’s most famous skyscrapers with no fall protection whatsoever. The Scaffold Law gave them the right to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers after falling from heights. This also ensured financial security for surviving families after fatal falls. 

Today, suing your employer directly is almost always prohibited across the nation. This is thanks to the emergence of workers’ compensation – a no-fault insurance scheme that provides compensation for economic damages after workplace injuries. However, the Scaffold Law remains in place – and it gives New York workers the unique right to sue their employers, contractors, and property owners under strict liability. This leads to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. In other words, you can receive more money for your injuries thanks to this law. 

Is Falling Down the Stairs a “Gravity-Related Incident?”

The Scaffold Law only covers gravity-related incidents. The obvious question is whether or not a tumble down a staircase is gravity-related. Basic logic would suggest that falling down a staircase would be impossible without the force of gravity. 

The Scaffold Law has led to some of the most complex debates in New York’s personal injury courts. Past cases have established that the Scaffold Law applies to objects sliding down stairs and impacting workers at ground level. This suggests that all injuries related to staircases fall under the Scaffold Law. A staircase accident also satisfies the requirements of the “same-level” rule. As the name implies, this rule states that you cannot file a claim under the Scaffold Law if your injury involved factors on the same level. For example, you might have slipped and fallen on a flat surface. Since staircases inherently exist on two separate levels, compensation should (at least in theory) be easy under the Scaffold Law. 

Find Out More During a Consultation with The Glassman Law Group

Although the Scaffold Law offers excellent protections to injured New York workers, it can be difficult to understand. It may be even more challenging to fight for your rights under this law. This is especially true if your injury falls in an ill-defined “gray area” of the Scaffold Law. Fortunately, you’re not alone in your legal battle. The Glassman Law Group can help you establish your eligibility for additional compensation under the Scaffold Law. Reach out today to get started. 


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