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What Exactly Counts as a “Gravity-Related Incident” in New York?

Due to the Scaffold Law, the exact definition of a “gravity-related incident” may become very important in the aftermath of a New York construction accident. Injured workers may quickly discover that thanks to the Scaffold Law, it is possible to hold property owners and contractors “strictly liable” for any injuries caused by gravity-related incidents. What is the legal definition of a gravity-related incident in New York?

Why is it Important to Establish the Influence of Gravity in Construction Accidents?

Due to the fact that personal injury lawsuits can provide compensation for non-economic damages, the incentive for establishing the influence of gravity is clear. While workers’ comp claims cannot provide compensation for non-economic damages, personal injury claims can. This stresses the importance of showing that injuries were caused by gravity. 

Simply put, personal injury lawsuits have the potential to provide workers with more compensation. Specifically, they can provide additional compensation for issues like PTSD, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, depression, emotional distress, and all of the other psychological issues that may arise after a construction accident. In contrast, a workers’ comp claim only provides compensation for financial losses, such as missed wages and medical expenses. 

Obvious Gravity-Related Accidents

Some construction accidents are obviously related to gravity. The most straightforward example is a fall. When the Scaffold Law was first written, legislators intended to protect construction workers operating at heights. These were the workers who built engineering marvels like the Empire State Building – often with no fall protection whatsoever. If a worker falls, the injury (and potential death) is often the direct result of gravity. This is clearly associated with the Scaffold Law, and strict liability claims are possible. 

Another obvious example of a gravity-related incident is a falling object that strikes a worker. This might be equipment or supplies that were not properly secured. Depending on the weight of the object and the duration of the fall, such incidents can easily prove fatal. When falling over a distance of several stories, even a small object such as a spanner can easily gather enough momentum to cause fatal head injuries or catastrophic injuries.

Less Obvious Gravity-Related Incidents

There are also many other less obvious gravity-related incidents to consider. In past cases, there has been considerable debate over incidents involving objects sliding down stairs. If the object strikes and injures a worker at the bottom of the stairs, does this constitute a gravity-related incident? What about an elevator with faulty hydraulics that lowers suddenly, crushing a worker inside the shaft? Is this accident the result of the elevator’s machinery or the forces of gravity? These are questions that construction accident lawyers attempt to answer as they fight for compensation on behalf of injured workers. 

Contact a Qualified Construction Accident Injury Lawyer in New York

If you have been searching for an experienced construction accident injury attorney in New York, look no further than the Glassman Law Group. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs throughout the New York area – including those who have been injured by gravity-related workplace accidents. Book your consultation today to assess your legal options in more detail. 


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