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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

When an Owner & Contractor Will Be Liable For a New York Construction Accident - No Matter What


As we previously noted in "The Most Formidable Defense to a New York Construction Site Accident Case" and 'Despite Finding That Worker Covered By NY Labor Law 240(1), Court Dismisses Case," the number of successful construction site accident cases in New York is dwindling.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon, but the most important of them is that the courts are interpreting New York's worker protection statutes more strictly. (See, e.g., "New York Construction Site Accidents: Why Fewer Cases Are Succeeding"). Another reason is that the courts have shown an increasing willingness to apply the rule that when a worker is solely at fault for his own accident, his New York Labor Law claim will be barred (see, "A Fatal Mistake That Can Ruin Your New York Construction Site Accident Case").

That said, there are circumstances when New York's courts will still go so far as to hold a building owner or contractor liable for a construction site accident - no matter what. And that is when the building owner or the contractor do not provide the worker with the necessary safety equipment, and the worker is necessarily exposed to a gravity-related risk.

In these cases, the court will be left with only 2 questions:

(1) Was this the type of work that is covered by NY Labor Law 240(1); and,

(2) Was the worker a member of the class of people who are protected by NY Labor Law 240(1)?

If the answer to these two questions is yes, then the defendants will almost certainly be held liable for the worker's injuries as a matter of New York law.


Jonathan Cooper
Employment Litigation and School Negligence Lawyer