What is the New York state labor law as it relates to personal injuries?
The New York state labor law as it relates to personal injuries involves a very broad statutory series of protections from unsafe construction sites. New York state labor law also includes maintenance of the workers who are working on these construction sites. There are several different labor laws that are utilized for the area of personal injury.
Some people may think labor law only involves employment or contracts or employees rights or employers rights but in New York state more than 100 years ago, they recognized that employees working on construction sites specifically are involved in ultra hazardous activities.
So they wanted to protect the workers in case they get injured because generally workers compensation is not enough compensation to protect the worker and their families from the kinds of injuries that most workers receive when they’re injured on construction sites.
Video: Labor Law Lawyer in New York
Why does the New York labor law exist?
The New York state labor law exists because the New York state legislature in their wisdom starting back in the late 1800s realized that workers working on construction sites were getting very badly injured.
These workers needed to be compensated along with their families in the event that the injuries were so bad that the worker couldn’t work or worse, if the worker passed away.
New York enacted a series of statutes that are truly unique in this country and New York state is the only state that i’m aware of that has such strong labor protection laws for workers at construction sites.
What is distinctive about the New York state labor laws?
When you ask someone what is so distinctive about the New York state labor laws the one thing that comes to everyone’s mind is the labor law 240. The reason being is that labor law 240 is often referred to as a strict liability statute meaning that the owner or contractor is strictly liable to the injured worker.
Over the years there’s been some exceptions but in reality if you find a good lawyer who’s experienced in litigating New York state labor laws and especially New York state labor 240, the lawyer is always going to figure a way out of the case law created, problematic situations.
New York state labor law 240 is a very good statute that protects the worker involved in construction and or maintenance of a building. It also protects people that are on site or just passing by on the sidewalk. If you’re walking on 42nd street and a bunch of bricks fall from above at a construction site or the scaffold collapses or a wrench falls, the passerby is also protected under this labor law.
Labor Law 240 also does another thing that’s pretty remarkable, it makes the owner of the building or the general contractor liable to the worker. If the owner of the building says, ‘What do you want from me? I was in Hawaii, I don’t even live in New York, we just bought this building as an investment.’ It’s not a defense. The New York state statute makes the building owner liable to the worker and it also makes the general contractor liable to the worker.
New York state legislature and their wisdom realized that getting benefits from workers compensation is just not enough when you’re really hurt or even if you pass away as a result of an accident. To fix this, New York came up with a workaround to the workers comp statute to make the owner of the building liable and the general contractors liable.
What we care about is making sure that we get the injured worker the maximum compensation that they’re entitled to and if you have the owner of the building that’s liable you’ve got the general contract that’s liable you’re generally going to get a hefty compensation.
Why did New York create these laws?
New York created these laws because they wanted to protect the worker. New York understands that workers working on construction sites in the state can get badly injured and if that happened workers compensation alone was not enough.
Labor Law 240 also known as the Scaffolding Law was created strictly to impose an absolute liability penalty in scaffolding related falls. New York is the only state with this legislation.
Who is liable in a workplace accident case in New York?
In a workplace accident case in New York state, the owner of the building and the general contractor and any other contractor that’s in the chain of your employer is liable.
For example, is your employer is a subcontractor who got hired by another contractor who got hired by the general contractor the general contractor and the other contractor that was hired directly are going to be responsible to you and your family for your injuries, likewise the owner of the building is going to be liable.
In New York state the Labor Law 240 was created to protect the construction worker and their families after injury. So even if the owner did nothing wrong, or hand nothing to do with the construction site they are still liable. The important thing is the construction worker who’s injured their families they’re going to be protected and they are entitled to damages.
Those damages are going to be collectible against that owner and against that general contractor and any other contractors that are in the chain leading up to your employer. Of course as to your employer, they’re protected by workers compensation but you are not limited to workers compensation in New York state for a construction site accident. You could sue the general contractor and those other contractors in the chain as well as the owner of the building.
I was a visitor on a work site in New York am I covered under the law?
If you’re a visitor on a work site in New York state you are covered by the New York state labor laws.
Why is an experienced New York labor law attorney beneficial to have?
An experienced lawyer in New York state who has done a lot of work in the New York state labor law is critical. If you read the case law the defendants are always coming up with some angle to try to take away your rights.
There’s thousands of cases dealing with angles that they come up with to try to diminish your recovery and in our firm, we have an appellate lawyer on the staff and all they do is appeals.
They are reading what comes out of these labor law cases daily to see what the new game is with the defendants. We are always in tune with their games and we make sure that we plead our case and our complaint in a way that they’re not able to play games with our clients.
Could you explain what would be considered a New York labor law injury?
A New York state labor law injury runs the gamut. You might trip and fall over a pipe on the ground and pull a ligament or a tendon or maybe you broke a bone from a fall off a ladder. Falls from scaffolding or elevator shafts can happen too.
I had one client actually who fell through a shaft in a hotel in Manhattan and the shaft way was meant for an Hvac air conditioning and heating duct and as he held on his fingers got sliced off from the tin hvac ductwork.
Luckily somebody heard him screaming and was able to get there before he fell all the way down 22 floors. They dragged him up but he was seriously injured. His injuries unfortunately could have result in death and we’ve had many of those cases.
What is workers comp in New York and how does workers comp differ from the New York labor law, do I have to file a workers comp claim too?
Workers compensation in New York state is generally a complete bar against lawsuits against your employer. If you’re injured in the construction or maintenance of a building in New York state they allow you to sue owner of the building or one of the contractors or general contractor.
New York labor law allows you to sue your employer for a better recovery than workers compensation would allow.
You still need to file for workers compensation and you want to because workers compensation will give you at least some money quickly. You will need that money to pay your rent, pay your mortgage, get food on the table and other things like that so you file for workers compensation but you also hire an experienced law firm like Parker Waichman.
Find a Skilled NY Labor Law Attorney for Employee Claims
If you believe your employer violated a labor law, you have valuable legal rights and deserve to speak to well-informed lawyers. Labor and employment law can be tricky, but an experienced attorney can review the details of your case, evaluate your legal options, and help you get the compensation you deserve.
New York Labor Law FAQ
What is the New York State Labor Law as it Relates to Personal Injuries?
New York’s labor laws provide broad protections from unsafe construction and maintenance practices to workers and their families, visitors and the public.
The two laws impose absolute liability on the parties (construction company, property owner and/or contractor) responsible for maintaining a safe work environment.
Generally, it does not matter whether or not the injured worker acted negligently, unless their negligent conduct was the sole cause of injury.
Why does the New York State labor law exist?
The original New York Labor Law Statute, Section 18, was enacted in 1885. It imposed criminal liability on anyone knowingly or negligently providing a faulty scaffold, hoist or ladder to workers. In 1897, the statute was amended, deleting “knowingly or negligently” and creating the current strict liability standard.
New York enacted these laws before the federal government had enacted federal protections or workers’ compensation programs. (New York enacted the country’s first comprehensive workers comp laws in 1910.)
What is distinctive about the New York labor laws?
New York is the only state in the country which imposes strict liability for accidents occurring at a construction site. Under strict liability, the proof required for recovery is relatively simple and defenses are limited. Risk mitigation is not relevant.
Why did New York create these laws?
The Court of Appeals has explained that “the legislative history of the Labor Law, particularly sections 240 and 241, makes clear the Legislature’s intent to achieve the purpose of protecting workers by placing ‘ultimate responsibility for safety practices at building construction jobs where such responsibility actually belongs, on the owner and general contractor’… instead of on workers, who are ‘scarcely in a position to protect themselves from accident.’” (Zimmer v Chemung County Performing Arts, 65 N.Y.2d 513, 493 N.Y.S.2d 102 (1985), at 520-1)
What is an example of a labor law verdict from Parker Waichman?
Tiziano Sozzi: $2.19M labor law verdict