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Understanding NY Labor Law 240

Posted in Workers’ compensation on September 30, 2021

Understanding NY Labor Law 240

Construction is one of the most important industries in New York City. Every day, seemingly countless construction projects are ongoing across NYC.

Because construction workers play such a vital role in New York, our state’s and city’s laws are designed to protect them. One of the laws that are somewhat unique to our state is Labor Law 240. This strict but essential law establishes the degree to which contractors and property owners must ensure the safety of construction workers on scaffolding. It also ensures that workers who are injured on scaffolding have a proper means of seeking compensation for their medical bills and related losses if they’re ever injured in accidents.

NY Labor Law 240: What You Need to Know

NY Labor Law 240 enforces various requirements for contractors, property owners, and other relevant parties when employees are working on scaffolding. Examples of these requirements include the following:

  • Scaffolding must be able to support four times the maximum weight needed “to be dependent therefrom or placed thereon when in use.”
  • Scaffolding that is more than 20 feet from the ground and has an overhead support must have a properly-fastened safety rail. This safety rail must rise at least 34 inches from the main floor of the scaffolding.
  • The safety rail must cover the full length of the scaffolding.

Most states do not have such laws. This law also places strict liability on the company responsible for ensuring that workers using scaffolding are protected when accidents do occur. In virtually all cases, if workers are injured on scaffolding, they can seek compensation for such losses as their medical bills. They may typically do so by filing a claim to collect from their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

This is usually the case even if some might argue that an employee’s own negligence contributed to their accident. Because working on scaffolding can be so dangerous, the law is written to help workers recover compensation from the liable party in all instances when accidents on scaffolding happen.

Seeking Compensation After an NYC Scaffolding Accident

New York law requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. This form of insurance allows a victim to seek compensation when they are injured in an accident that occurs on the job.

Workers’ compensation insurance may compensate an injured employee for such losses as:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of ongoing medical treatment (for example, physical therapy)
  • Lost wages if an employee’s injuries prevent them from returning to work for a period of time
  • Disability benefits
  • Funeral costs if an employee dies as a result of a workplace accident

Again, NY Labor Law 240 generally holds those responsible for organizing construction projects liable when accidents on scaffolding occur. However, it’s worth noting that sometimes scaffolding accidents happen because another party was negligent. For example, a scaffolding accident might happen because the company that manufactured the scaffolding overlooked a defect.

It’s also worth noting that sometimes the amount of money workers’ compensation insurance provides isn’t necessarily enough to fully compensate a victim for their losses. For instance, workers’ compensation insurance in NY does not compensate a worker for intangible losses such as pain and suffering.

This highlights one of the many reasons it is wise to seek representation from an attorney if you are ever injured in a scaffolding accident. An attorney can review your case and conduct an investigation to identify all negligent parties. If another party’s negligence caused an accident, filing a separate claim or lawsuit might be an option to allow you to seek additional compensation beyond what workers’ compensation may provide.

Even when this does not appear to be an option, hiring a New York City construction accident lawyer is advisable after an accident. While you focus on your recovery, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company. This optimizes your chances of arriving at a fair settlement.

Construction workers have helped NYC become one of the most impressive cities in the world. They deserve to be protected accordingly. NY Labor Law 240 is just one measure that ensures they are.

To learn more, call one of our convenient locations nearest you for assistance.

New York City law office at (212) 564-2800,
Brooklyn law office at (718) 802-1600.

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