Every year without fail, public debate continues over New York’s unusual but important Labor Law 240 (commonly known as the “Scaffold Law”). Critics call this law an unfair burden on property owners, contractors and insurers. But in reality, it is a critical safety measure with life-saving effects.
Construction workers brave dangerous conditions and dizzying heights to build New York’s iconic skyline. The Scaffold Law was created to protect these workers, who are at an elevated risk of injury or death due to falls. The law allows property owners and contractors to be held strictly liable for accidents involving ladders and scaffolding – but what does that mean for you and your loved ones?
Why Does The Scaffold Law Matter?
New York City sees hundreds of construction-related accidents each year, and those that involve falls from height are particularly devastating. Injured workers are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, in serious accident cases, the amount is often insufficient to cover all medical expenses, lost wages and, in some tragic cases, funeral costs.
Labor Law 240 allows workers to pursue civil claims against negligent contractors or property owners to cover additional expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages. If contractors fail to take adequate safety precautions and you are injured or lose a loved one as a result, the Scaffold Law allows you to pursue adequate compensation.
Opponents of the Scaffold Law say it is unfair to hold a contractor fully responsible when the worker’s own negligence contributed to the accident. However, changing the law could make it more difficult for all eligible workers to secure compensation – even when the contractor is completely at fault.
Making Worksites Safer
In addition to giving injured workers the means to move on with their lives, strict liability provides an incentive to provide safer working conditions. When a worker injury could result in a hefty judgment against a contractor or property owner, that party may be more motivated to prevent accidents however possible. In the debate over Labor Law 240, it is important to remember that lives are at stake.
If you or someone you love has been hurt on a dangerous worksite, you deserve to pursue the compensation you need. At Marder, Eskesen & Nass, our attorneys have been fighting for injured workers for more than 85 collective years. To learn more about your rights after a serious construction accident, please explore our website or contact us to arrange a free, confidential consultation.