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New York Court Of Appeals Limits The Blame The Plaintiff Defense In New York Construction Accident Cases

June 23, 2010

The New York Labor Law requires that construction site owners and general contractors provide devices to protect construction workers from a fall while performing construction at a height. The Labor Law is often called the Ladder Law or the Scaffold Law. Our New York construction accident lawyers have won numerous cases on behalf of injured construction workers who had construction accidents because there were no safety lines, safety belts, harnesses or yo-yos in order to tie off lifelines, stanchions ior safety cables in the accident area.

New York construction accident lawyers who represent injured construction workers, under the ladder law have been recently been facing claims that the injured worker’s actions were the only cause of the construction accident. New York injury lawyers who handle construction accident cases call this the “blame the victim defense”.

Recently the New York Courts have held that liability under Labor Law 240 (the New York ladder law) does not attach when the safety devices that plaintiff alleges were absent were readily available at the work site, albeit not in the immediate vicinity of the accident, and plaintiff knew he was expected to use them but for no good reason chose not to do so, causing an accident. In such cases, the New York Courts have held that the plaintiff’s own negligence is the sole proximate cause of his injury. Recently the New York Court of Appeals gave New York construction lawyers a new weapon in the fight for the injured construction worker. The Court of Appeals tightened the standards for this defense by holding that a foreman’s testimony that safety devices were available for use at the project site, and that the injured construction worker violated a standing order to use certain equipment. The Court found the affidavit was insufficient to defeat an injured construction workers case were the foreman did not prove that the injured construction worker had actually been told had been told to use such safety devices. While the foreman referred to a “standing order” issued to the project foremen, directing workers to “have a harness on and be tied off,” he could not say whether the order had been conveyed to the construction workers. Thus, New York construction lawyers must hold these defendants to these heightened standards to protect our injured construction worker clients.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph