Worker safety is important in New York. Our laws make that absolutely clear. If a construction worker is injured on a job site due to unsafe conditions or practices, the owner, contractor or the agents they have hired to carry out their work can be held legally responsible.
If you have been injured while working at a construction site, demolition or excavation site or lost a loved one in a work site accident, attorney Daniel R. Santola and the legal team of Powers & Santola, LLP, can help you to hold the right people accountable. Contact us today to learn more. Our construction accident lawyers serve clients in Albany, Syracuse and throughout New York State. Our consultations are always free.
Holding Owners and Contractors Responsible for Construction Accidents
Under New York’s workplace safety laws, construction site owners and contractors have a duty to follow safety regulations, including providing workers with proper safety equipment. Four different provisions of New York’s labor laws can be relied on to hold these parties legally accountable when they fail to live up to their duties:
- New York Labor Law §200 – This law places a duty on owners and contractors to protect the health and safety of “all persons employed therein.” In order for an owner or contractor to be sued under this law, the actual injury and other damages must be the result of an accident or incident that occurred at the work site, and it must be established that the owner or contractor controlled that area or had notice of the defective and potentially dangerous condition.
- New York Labor Law § 240 (1) and 241-a – These laws require that owners, contractors or their agents furnish or erect adequate safety devices that are in place to protect construction workers from hazards associated with working at elevations or working around elevator shafts or stairwells. The owner or contractor can be held liable regardless of whether they had control or supervision of the site. In other words, even if a subcontractor has been hired to carry out work at the site (for instance, a roofer), the owner or contractor cannot escape liability. If a party leases property and has work performed on the property for its benefit, that party is treated the same as an “owner.”
- New York Labor Law § 241 (6) – This law places a duty on owners, contractors and their agents to provide a safe and reasonable job site to all persons who are legally present on the property. Like a § 240 (1) claim, an owner or contractor cannot escape liability for non-compliance with safety standards by arguing that the work was done by a subcontractor.
These laws do not limit the worker to recovering only workers’ compensation benefits.
For example: An owner hires a general contractor, who then hires multiple subcontractors to do the actual work. If a worker is injured because one of the subcontractors did not comply with safety regulations, the owner and general contractor are responsible to the injured worker for all injuries and damages.
Here is another example: A crane collapses and falls, injuring members of the masonry team. The masonry workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. However, in addition to these benefits, the masonry workers can also hold the project owner liable for the full amount of their losses.
For the owner of a project, New York law sends a clear message: If an accident happened on your project, there are no excuses. You are responsible.
The worker’s responsibility is to use the safety equipment provided. If none was provided, or if the provided equipment was inadequate or broken, the owner and all contractors hired to do the work hold responsibility for the accident. They cannot place blame on the worker.
Contact a New York Construction Accident Attorney
If you were injured at a construction site in Albany, Syracuse or another work place in New York State, even if you live out of state, contact a construction accident lawyer who will seek maximum compensation for your workplace injuries. The legal team at Powers & Santola, LLP, is ready to answer your questions and protect your rights. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.