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New York Court Discusses Liability for Falls on Construction Sites

Accidents frequently occur at construction sites, and in many instances, they cause significant harm. While ordinarily, people seeking damages for personal injuries must prove another party’s negligence caused their harm, New York has laws that allow for the imposition of strict liability for certain harm encountered on construction sites. Specifically, the scaffold law requires contractors and site owners to provide certain protections to workers, and if they neglect to employ the required safety measures, they may be deemed responsible for any harm that arises. Recently, a New York court discussed the scaffold law, in a matter in which it granted summary judgment in favor of an injured contractor. If you sustained losses due to an accident caused by another party’s carelessness, it is smart to talk to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer about your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was a plumber mechanic, was working on the property owner’s construction site. The property owner’s related company acted as the construction manager for the project, the construction of townhouses, and hired subcontractors to install concrete and plumbing at the project, and the plumbing subcontractor, in turn, subcontracted their work to the plaintiff’s employer.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was performing a walkthrough of the project to determine what needed to be done. He stepped on a metallic plate between two townhouses to move from one house to another. The plate moved, causing the plaintiff to fall ten feet. He suffered injuries in the fall and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner, contractor, and subcontractors. All parties subsequently moved for summary judgment in their favor.

New York’s Scaffold Law

The court addressed the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to liability, which was based on New York’s scaffold law. The court explained that the scaffold law provides, in pertinent part, that all owners and contractors involved in the erection of a building or structure must furnish scaffolds, ladders, slings, and other devices to provide proper protection to employees.

The court elaborated that the law was enacted to prevent the type of incidents in which a scaffold or other protective device was inadequate to protect a worker from harm caused by the force of gravity. The duties imposed by the scaffold law are nondelegable. Liability will be imposed on contractors and owners where a hazard contemplated by the law exists, but the owner fails to use or provide an adequate safety device.

In the subject case, the court explained that the safety device provided by the defendants, namely the metal sheet, was inadequate to prevent the plaintiff from falling. Thus, the court granted summary judgment in his favor.

Consult a Skilled Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Construction accidents often cause life-altering injuries, and people that carelessly fail to take the measures necessary to prevent such harm should be held accountable. If you sustained injuries in a construction accident, you might be owed compensation, and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers have ample experience proving liability in construction accident cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach us by calling 833-247-8427 or by using our form online to set up a meeting.

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