August 9, 2023
What Should I Do After a Falling Object Injury?
By Jonathan Damashek
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, falling objects caused nearly 12% of New York’s fatal occupational injuries in 2020. An often-overlooked danger, equipment and materials falling from great heights can be fatal. And if you’ve been injured, you deserve compensation for someone’s negligence.
Learn more about falling objects, why they’re so deadly, and what you should do after an accident.
Why Are Falling Objects So Dangerous?
The old urban legend about a penny falling from the Empire State Building has been debunked. Even if the penny is going 100 mph when it reaches the sidewalk, it only weighs a gram. It will hurt, but it won’t kill you. The principle behind it remains, however. It’s simple physics: falling objects can cause injuries.
Gravitational acceleration equates to 22 mph per second. The longer something falls, the faster it moves. The damage is relative to the size, momentum, and area struck by the falling object.
Construction workers wear hard hats designed to absorb that momentum and protect their heads. Even something as small as a bolt can kill you if it hits your head directly.
What Injuries Can Falling Objects Cause in New York?
Construction workers have items bigger than pennies with them as they work on scaffolding way above the ground. Tools, equipment, and building materials can cause devastating injuries when they fall from heights, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Face, head, and neck injuries
- Back and spinal injuries
- Nerve damage
- Cognitive dysfunction
What to Do After a Falling Object Injury
Like any accident, falling objects can be unexpected. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and New York’s Department of Labor have regulations to protect construction workers from falling objects, but there can be mistakes. Passersby and workers on construction sites can get hurt, even with regulations in place.
If a falling object has injured you, do your best to follow these steps.
Get Medical Attention
Even if the falling object glanced off you and you feel the injury is minor, seek medical aid. If the accident is severe enough, someone will probably call emergency services to help you. If you aren’t taken to a hospital, see a medical provider as soon as possible.
Falling objects transfer their force to your body. You could be hurt significantly, especially if you were hit in the head or neck. Your brain and spinal column have sensitive nerves, and a falling object could cause irreparable damage. You stand a better chance of recovering if an injury is diagnosed quickly.
For instance, some traumatic brain injury symptoms don’t appear immediately: they might take hours or even days. A medical provider has a better chance of identifying TBIs before they develop dangerous consequences.
Collect Evidence at the Scene
Take photos or videos of the scene of the fallen object. You need to get evidence an object struck you, so find the debris that landed on you. Get pictures of whatever the object fell from. If you’re at a construction site, that could be scaffolding, cranes, or lifts. Other buildings could have crumbling faces the debris originated from.
You may be able to collect surveillance footage of the incident. Check with local property owners and ask if they will share the footage.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
You’ll need statements from anyone who saw what happened to you to support your insurance claim. If you can, get any witnesses’ contact information so you can get statements later or record their statements at the scene, with their consent. Ask them what they saw and heard before, during, and after your incident.
Consult a New York Falling Objects Lawyer
Falling object injuries might be everyday occurrences throughout the city, but that doesn’t mean you’ll understand what you need to do. You must consider several aspects, including identifying the liable party, calculating your total losses, and fighting for your full compensation. You should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years from the date of the injury. You might need to file an insurance claim sooner than that. Three years might seem like a long time, but it’s better to get started on a case right away: the longer you wait, the less compensation you’re likely to receive to help you financially recover.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive for a Falling Object Injury in New York?
Determining compensation can be difficult, depending on your circumstances. Construction workers injured by falling objects may make a workers’ compensation claim for their physical injuries. However, they’ll need to make a third-party claim for damages beyond their workers’ compensation coverage. The same goes for anyone passing a construction site that’s injured by a falling object.
Third-party liability claims can be made against different parties who share responsibility for your falling object incident. You can bring a claim against the city, a subcontractor, a property owner, or a general contractor. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine who is liable for your damages.
You can recover economic and non-economic damages in your third-party claim. Economic losses are your out-of-pocket expenses, like medical bills or property damage. Non-economic losses are conceptual and intangible damages you’ve experienced because of your injury. They might include pain and suffering, mental anguish, or more. An attorney can help you calculate your losses.
Contact a New York Falling Objects Attorney
Falling object injuries cause significant damage and inconvenience, sometimes tragedy. You shouldn’t face recovery alone, especially when an insurance company is likely fighting you every step of the way. You can rely on the falling object attorneys at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C.
We’ve helped clients in cases like yours recover compensation after someone’s negligence causes severe injuries. We understand the trauma an incident can create and want you to recover. Some injuries are permanent, and no amount of money can help you regain your physical health. However, we can help you recover financially so you can adjust to your new life.