Scaffolding is used in New York City when workers are on the job. They may be doing new construction, but they could also simply be making repairs or renovating an existing structure. In a city the size of New York, space is very limited, and that means the scaffolding usually stands over the sidewalk.
Pedestrians are theoretically supposed to be protected from anything that may fall from above through the use of scaffolding sheds. These provide a roof over the passageway so that people can walk under the scaffolding.
Needless to say, this is not always a perfect system. For instance, one parent whose child’s school has been under scaffolding for the last seven years said that it gets very crowded and busy in the mornings as everyone tries to bring their children to school. This means that there is an incredible amount of traffic and everyone doesn’t always fit under the scaffolding sheds.
But even in cases where people have space to walk, there is always the potential that something could strike a pedestrian below. This could be debris from the building, power tools, building materials that are being used or something else of this nature.
What if this happens to you?
It’s often impossible to avoid these risks because you simply have to use the sidewalks where the scaffolding is in place. These projects are so ubiquitous that you can’t always find another way around. Most people pass under scaffolds all the time without being hurt, but there are plenty of stories about people being severely injured or even killed when something strikes them from above.
If this does happen to you and you are severely injured, it’s very important that you understand all the legal options at your disposal.