A New York Construction Accident Lawyer Who Represents Injured Workers Tracking Developments in Construction Accident Law.

It is a misconception among many construction accident attorneys that, in order for liability under Labor Law 200 to attach, the defendant must have given directions or instructions for the work that caused the injury.

Not so, and an example of this is the 2007 case from the First Department, Hughes v. Tishman Cosntruction Corp., 40 A.D.3d 305.

Rather, the defendant must have “the authority to control the activity bringing about the injury to enable it to avoid or correct an unsafe condition.”  It is much easier to prove that the defendant had the authority to control the activity, as opposed to having actually directed it to occur.

Yet, the defendant must possess more than just general supervisory authority. Rather, “it must be demonstrated that the contractor controlled the manner in which the plaintiff performed his or her work, i.e., how the injury-producing work was performed.”

In this case, the contractor oversaw the schedule of the work, conformance with plans, and told workers to “hurry up.” It was held not liable under Labor Law 200.

Moreover, even if the contractor had seen “something that he didn’t think was right,” and “would tell them to change it,” it still wouldn’t rise to the level of supervision and control required under section 200. Nor would the authority to stop work for safety reasons result in liability.

It’s important for construction accident lawyers to understand these nuances in the Labor Law. I went to trial in a case where the other sections of the Labor Law (240 and 241) were dismissed and we actually won on the 200 claim, a comparative rarity.

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