Construction Accidents and New York’s Labor Law
Devastating injury and death are common at New York construction sites. Heights, heavy machinery, heavy materials and pressures to get things done “now” take an awful toll on New York tradesmen and laborers. The result is well-paid careers cut short by injury and disability or even death.
Creedon & Gill P.C. attorneys are uniquely qualified to handle difficult labor law cases, frequently teaching other attorneys about the labor law, and with experiences like being lead counsel in an eight defendant matter involving a worker paralyzed from a fourth story parapet, or as attorneys for the lead plaintiff among 14 union tradesmen injured in an elevator disaster.
Experienced Construction Injury Lawyers
If you have been seriously injured in a construction accident, you should get an experienced construction accident attorney involved as soon as possible. Your attorney should take steps immediately to preserve crucial evidence in your case, evidence which might otherwise disappear – either inadvertently as construction progresses or intentionally to hide the blame. An aggressive attorney will be in court the same day you contact him to get an order to stop construction until your accident scene can be photographed and inspected by an expert.
An experienced construction accident attorney will help you with your workers’ compensation case, which is a case within your case. An aggressive attorney will work closely with a top-notch workers’ compensation attorney, or may handle your case himself if there are unique circumstances, such as responsible parties trying to blame you for your own accident. If it is necessary for you to seek short- or long-term disability, he will help guide you through that process.
A personal injury lawyer who has handled these cases will know the intricacies of New York’s complicated labor laws and begin preparing your case for trial from the first day. He will know what experts are needed to help prove what went wrong in your case and who is responsible, what experts are needed to prove your medical damages, and your past and future economic damages.
An experienced injury attorney understands the kind of economic strain that an injury that puts a tradesman out of work can cause, and will work with you to do everything possible to lessen that strain. Creedon & Gill P.C. attorneys are experts in handling construction accident cases and will work tirelessly and passionately to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
What the Labor Laws Say
Section 240(1) of New York’s Labor law is known as its “Scaffold” Law. It is unique among laws because it requires a finding of strict liability against owners and general contractors in situations where a construction worker is injured by a fall or struck by a falling object. Under the Scaffold Law, whether or not a worker had some role in causing his own accident is not taken into consideration.
Section 240(1) of the Labor Law states:
All contractors and owners and their agents, except owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work, in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.
According to New York Courts “Section 240 is intended to place the ultimate responsibility for building practices on the owner and general contractor in order to protect the workers who are required to be there but who are scarcely in a position to protect themselves from accidents,”
The courts say that this law is “to be liberally construed to achieve this purpose”, and that the law “impos(es) a nondelegable duty upon owners and general contractors to provide safety devices to protect workers from elevation-related risks, with liability attaching where violation of that duty proximately causes injuries.”
Two other Labor Law Sections apply to many other construction site accidents.
New York Section 241(6) “implements” New York’s Industrial Code. The Industrial Code describes detailed and specific ways in which construction and demolition activities have to be conducted in New York; everything from how strong a cover over a hole in a floor has to be, to what kind of sling is necessary in a hoisting operation, how often ongoing inspections have to be made in demolition work and even ensuring that the floor is kept clean of tripping hazards.
Finally, Labor Law Section 200 “codifies” what is known as common law negligence. Even if Sections 240(1) and 241(6) of the labor law do not apply to a worker’s accident, an owner or contractor whose negligence causes an injury to a worker will be responsible for compensating him for that injury.