For the last several years, New York has tightened regulations around construction sites, especially commercial construction sites that use scaffolding — which, in New York, is most of them. Labor law 240, commonly known as the Scaffold law, creates vicarious liability to add layers of protection to any workers who might suffer a fall from scaffolding. However, while it does theoretically add greater protection, it also creates a more complicated path to resolving claims.
If you recently suffered an injury related to scaffolding, you should absolutely consult with an experienced attorney who understands how to pursue fair compensation using labor law 240. The expansion of this law does offer some additional assurances to victims, but it does not make the process of pursuing a claim any easier. In fact, because a claim under labor law 240 potentially involves multiple defendants, the situation may get quite complicated.
Make sure you understand the implications of the law
In very broad strokes, New York labor law 240 makes the owner of a construction site liable for a contractor's negligence if a worker suffers an injury on a scaffolding system. However, it is important to note that an injury does not always mean automatic liability for the owner or contractor. In some cases, the worker who suffered the injury might be entirely to blame for the accident, which may invalidate the claim.
In most cases, however, a contractor or other responsible party shares at least some blame for the accident, in which case, they have to assume all of the liability.
This all-or-nothing liability structure often inspires defendants to mount aggressive defenses to scaffolding injury claims, and can create conflicts between various defendants as well.
In short, a law that aims to create greater safety for workers often makes for more complicated injury claims, which can lead to longer waiting periods before receiving a settlement for injuries.
Make sure you get the help you need to recover
Whenever you suffer a serious injury, especially on a worksite, it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the process of seeking fair compensation for construction injuries in New York.
While the owner, contractor and subcontractor are all fighting to keep themselves from paying your recovery costs, you still have to get back on your feet. An experienced attorney understands how to work with medical care providers to make sure you get the care you need without having to wait and without drowning in medical debt.
Your primary concern after a construction site injury should be recovery, not worrying about the details of your claim.