New York State has enacted statutes and regulations that are meant to ensure workers that their work sites are safe. The most significant of these statutes are New York Labor Law sections 200, 240, and 241(6). What this means is that if your injury was caused by a third party’s negligence you are entitled to sue that party, despite the workers’ compensation laws.
These laws impose an absolute nondelegable duty on contractors, subcontractors, and site owners to provide a safe work site. This means that the contractors, subcontractors, and site owners are absolutely liable for injuries on the work site. These parties cannot raise a comparative negligence defense, even if the injured worker is at fault. The laws also prevent contractors, subcontractors, and site owners from claiming they were not at fault because they assigned the duty of providing a safe work site to another party. Safety is a nondelegable duty. Ultimately, this means that there is no loophole which allows these entities to avoid responsibility for a failure to uphold the duty of providing a safe workplace.
Section 200 generally requires that workers and other people who are legally on the site be provided reasonable and adequate protection. Under section 240, it is solely the responsibility of owners, contractors, and their agents to supply proper protection for height related work, such as scaffolds, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, etc. The equipment supplied must be constructed, placed, and operated to give workers proper protection. Section 241(6) requires owners, contractors, and their agents to comply with the New York State Industrial Code. The Industrial Code requires that people be protected from general hazards, such as overhead hazards, falling hazards, drowning hazards, slipping hazards, tripping, and other hazards.
Because of the intricacies of this type of law, it is essential for victims of construction site injuries to be sure that they are represented by experienced legal counsel. Only an experienced attorney can analyze the circumstances of your accident and separate those who can be held liable from those who cannot and determine what constitutes an appropriate claim in each case.