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Construction Accidents Law: Labor Law 240 Cases Explained

In the recent years, New York has experienced a beehive of building activity, from mushrooming of high-rise buildings in areas like Battery to the revitalization of downtown Buffalo. Unfortunately, the construction boom comes with a downside: increased personal injury claims and a spike in accidents involving construction workers.

It’s no wonder that New York construction injury cases have more than tripled in since 2009. The truth is that cases of this nature are often quite challenging since New York is the only US state that imposes liability for just about any accident that occur at a building or construction site via NY Labor Law §240. In fact, it is estimated that Labor Law §240 costs state taxpayers more than $780 million every year, according to researchers at Rockefeller Institute of Government.

With that said, New York Labor Law 240 is the single-most controversial statute that generates thousands of new appellate cases annually. So, what is it? How does it affect construction workers, contractors, and owners of construction sites?

Let’s delve right in.

What’s Labor Law §240?

Also referred to as the “Scaffolding Law”, the New York Labor Law §240 was legislated to help protect construction workers from slip & falls and/or injuries sustained from falling objects. A classic example of Labor Law 240 case would be a worker who falls from a ladder or scaffold and has not be issued with a safety gear or the gear itself malfunctioned. Another classic suit could be if a tool or construction debris falls on a worker from an elevated position causing injury.

New York Labor Law 240 and You

If you do construction work in New York, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with Labor Law Section 240. More importantly, you need to get familiar with Labor Law 240 and your rights under the law if you’ve been injured working at a construction site in the state of New York. Accidents of such nature can be dangerous and traumatic, as well as cost oodles of money in medical bills and lost wages.

According to Labor Law 240, you have got the right to file a suit against a corporation/owner of the building or land you were working on, even if you were hired by an independent contractor. Oftentimes that you can collect workers compensation benefits and still sue the third party owner or corporation for liability in the injuries you sustained from the accident.

In just about any other state, corporations or site owners might not be held accountable for the actions of their independent contractors. But not in New York; they are liable for accidents and injuries that occur in their properties/facilities. At the end of the day, however, it is crucial to have an experience Labor Law 240 attorney on your side.