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

It’s not often that Labor Law 240 (a/k/a the “Scaffold Law”) makes it into the New York Times. But today the Times reported on how efforts are firing up in Albany to limit its protections so that worker fault will limit the amount of jury verdicts.

This would be a big mistake. This law serves to protect vulnerable workers–many of whom are Latinos and immigrants–and who each day report to extremely dangerous jobs. Unsafe scaffolds and ladders can lead to serious injury and even death. In fact, the article reports that 136 New York construction workers perished from 2003 to 2011 in falling accidents.

The truth of the matter is that owners and general contractors do sometimes turn a blind eye to safety, when there are competing concerns on the job such as timing and revenue. Safety must come from the top-down, and these entities are in the best position to enforce it. In addition, the Scaffold Law encourages them to hire firms with strong safety records, instead of hunting for the cheapest one with safety considerations pushed to the side.

The strict liability standard that is in force requires the injured worker to prove there was an unsafe elevation device. Insurance and business groups’ claims that workers can collect large settlements when they are at fault for the accident are overblown and often untrue.

From what this blogger has heard through the grapevine, Governor Cuomo is in need of upstate New York support in order to strengthen his standing for an eventual White House run. This support is in jeopardy due to his stances on fracking and gun control, but repeal of or at least restricting the scope of the Scaffold Law is something that many upstate legislators support.

In addition, there has been an outcry that escalating insurance costs may hamper the Tappan Zee Bridge construction project.

But supporters of the law have countered that if it really does significantly increase insurance costs, insurers should be made to open their books and lay bare their proof. Predictably, insurers have refused to do so, which indicates, at least from this plaintiff attorney’s perspective, that they are just blowing smoke.


One Response to “Political Efforts to Restrict the Scaffold Law Are Underway”

  1. Loving Law says:

    Great post! Interesting thing to see develop. Thanks for the info!

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