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Court Discusses Liability Under New York’s Scaffold Law

Generally, people who suffer harm in the workplace cannot pursue personal injury claims against their employers and instead are limited to recovering workers’ compensation benefits. They can seek damages from other parties that may be responsible for their harm, however. Further, in some instances, the law allows for the absolute imposition of liability for harm suffered while working. This was illustrated in a recent New York case in which the court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff due to the defendant’s violation of New York’s scaffold law. If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you might be owed damages, and it is smart to meet with a Syracuse personal injury attorney to assess your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who worked for a plumbing company, suffered injuries when he fell while installing a shower curtain rod in a bathroom. He did not have adequate room to use an A-frame ladder and instead stood on the rim of the bathtub. The bathroom did not have artificial lighting and was dim. The plaintiff struck his head on the rod and fell to the floor.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the general contractor and lessee, asserting, among other things, that there were liable under New york’s scaffold law. The court granted the motion with regard to the scaffold law claim, and the defendants appealed.

Liability Under New York’s Scaffold Law

On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed. The court held that when the plaintiff fell from the edge of the bathtub, he suffered harm that flowed directly from the force of gravity. Further, the court found that the edge of the tub served as the functional equivalent of a scaffold, triggering New York’s scaffold law.

The court declined to adopt the defendants’ argument that the plaintiff should be liable for failing to use safety instrumentalities or devices, as he could not effectively use them due to the conditions of the worksite. In such cases where a plaintiff is forced to make adaptations at a work site, such adaptations cannot be used as a defense to a scaffold law claim if they are the direct result of the defendant’s failure to provide adequate safety measures to begin with. Based on the foregoing, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Talk to a Trusted Syracuse Attorney

Construction sites carry a high degree of risk, and parties that increase that risk by failing to institute property safety measures should be deemed responsible for any harm that arises out of their negligence. If you were hurt in a fall on a construction site, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue. The trusted Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the best result possible under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.

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