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Who is Responsible For a Construction Accident?

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Worker safety is important in New York. Our Safe Place to Work laws make that absolutely clear. If a worker is injured on a job site, chances are it is due to a safety rule violation. New York Labor Laws requires that all workers are provided with a safe place to work, making those in control of the work responsible for injuries caused by violation of the laws. Often the term Construction Accident is used to describe some of these laws, however, the term “Construction” has a much broader meaning than the word might suggest. For instance, stringing computer cables above a drop ceiling, installing a wall clock, repairing a furnace, installing cable and phone lines, power washing the front of a building, even removing show off the roof of a building with a shovel have all been held to be forms of construction work.,

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, Rochester, and throughout New York State. Our consultations are always free.

Holding Owners Contractors
and their Agents Responsible

Under New York’s laws, everyone who is in a position of control over the work sit or the work itself must provide a safe place to work. When an injury occurs as a result of an unsafe condition or practice there Four Three different provisions of New York’s labor laws that can be relied on to hold these parties legally accountable.

New York Labor Law §200 – This law places a duty on all those who have control over the work place or how the work is performed to provide equipment, site conditions and practices which will ensure worker safety. This law covers all types of workers and is not limited to construction. It has applied to manufacturing, transportation, mining, communication installation and maintenance, as well as food preparation and service industry. In order for a party to be held responsible under this law it must be shown that the party was in a position of control over the unsafe condition or practice which gave rise to the injury.

  • New York Labor Law § 240 (1) and 241-a – These laws require that all 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 general 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 roofing company), the owner or general contractor cannot escape liability by claiming they hired an independent contractor to perform the work If an owner leases property to another the owner is still responsible for violation of these laws caused by work done by or through the tenant.
  • 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 employed at the site. . Like a § 240 (1) claim, the owner or contractor or their agents 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 Powers & Santola Today

If you were injured at a construction site in Albany, Syracuse Rochester, Buffalo 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.

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