Look up at construction workers at an elevated New York City construction site and you will see workers engaged in a highly dangerous occupation. While workers’ compensation covers many injuries, these benefits may be insufficient to pay for harm suffered in serious accidents or hold third parties liable. New York City, laws, however, provide special relief to injured workers.
New York’s Labor Law 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, is one of two laws that cover certain construction site accidents. Workers who engage in work involving the erection or repair of buildings at high elevations on a scaffold or on ladders on tall structures must have specific safety devices, such as harnesses or safety lines. Workers are also entitled to properly functioning scaffolding.
If workers are injured in a scaffold or other elevation support accident, they may seek recovery against a general contractor or subcontractor who was responsible for providing the scaffolding and these devices and supervising the project. However, the injured worker must prove that this third party knew or should have known about the safety violations.
Contractors, subcontractors and other third parties may not be liable if they can prove that the injured worker was solely responsible for the accident. Labor Law 240 does not cover minor repair work or routine maintenance.
Workers may also seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employer if they were injured in these accidents. But the injured worker must reimburse the portion of these benefits if they obtain compensation under the Scaffold Law.
The second law, Labor Law 241, holds contractors or other parties strictly liable if they violate certain workplace safety codes. The injured worker does not have to prove that the defendant was negligent. In these cases, the defendant is liable for the injury by violating the safety code.
Section 241 is not limited to scaffold accidents. Workers may also seek workers’ compensation from their employer, but they must reimburse a portion of the benefits received if there is a section 241 recovery.
New York also has follows ordinary negligence law for these injuries. An injured worker may sue a third-party contractor if there is a dangerous condition that caused their injury and the third party had control of the condition and knew or should have known that it was dangerous.
Any worker negligence may reduce their claims. Worker’s compensation benefits have to be reimbursed by any successful negligence claim.
Workers injured in these accidents must seek immediate medical attention. They should also consult with an attorney to protect their rights and timely pursue a lawsuit.