New York Labor Law Section 241(6) Protects Construction Workers

For anyone working on construction sites, knowing how the law protects you is important. Construction sites are, by their very nature, dangerous. Workers are constantly exposed to dangerous working conditions, including defective power tools, fall hazards, insufficient safety devices, falling objects, and electrical hazards. When a worker gets injured and cannot work, New York’s Labor Law Section 241(6) provides a means of recovery for individuals injured at construction sites beyond the relatively low compensation available through Workers’ Compensation Law, which often does not provide sufficient funds to support the injured employee. 

Labor Law Section 241(6) provides that when a person who is lawfully at a construction site is injured due to a violation of New York’s Industrial Code, the building owner and general contractor can be responsible for the injury. The law developed as a way for the State of New York to protect construction workers from hazardous work conditions. Without this protection, construction workers would be at the mercy of their employer, the general contractor or the building owner. If a worker were provided with inadequate equipment or exposed to a dangerous workplace, the worker generally would not have the authority or financial security to insist on safer working conditions. Before these provisions of New York’s Labor Law were enacted, when those workers were injured, they often ended up relying on public assistance because they could no longer work.  Section 241(6) of the Labor Law was designed to shift the cost of covering injured workers away from the State of New York and instead to the parties most able to control working conditions and pay for workers’ injuries – the building owner and general contractor. 

Trief & Olk handles a wide variety of construction accident cases, from defective power saws, to nail gun cases, to falls from ladders and scaffolds. One of the more unusual cases involved a construction executive who suffered an electric shock at a construction site because of a dangerously installed wire. Trief & Olk won its Labor Law Section 241(6) claim against the building owner without the need for a trial by presenting evidence that, as a matter of law, a specific section of the Industrial Code concerning electrical hazards, Industrial Code 23-1.13, had been violated. Defendant then attempted to deny that plaintiff suffered an electric shock, but plaintiff presented ample evidence to refute that theory, including opinions from the defendant’s own medical experts, five of whom wrote in their reports that the plaintiff suffered an electric shock or had objective symptoms consistent with electric shock.

If you are a construction worker or a person who was lawfully at a construction site and suffered an accident, Trief & Olk is available to answer your questions. Feel free to leave us a submission via our website or call us directly to discuss how we may help you.

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Expansion of Damages In Wrongful Death Awaits NY Governor Hochul’s Approval

Historically, New York State has not permitted recovery for grief and sympathy for the family members that have lost someone due to any form of negligence. This may be changing.

The New York Senate and Assembly recently passed Bill S74A, also known as the Grieving Families Act, and it is hoped and expected that Governor Hochul will sign the bill into law. If passed, the law would significantly expand the damages available in wrongful death actions in a number of ways:

  • The statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death action would be extended from two years to three years and six months.
  • Emotional damages will be allowed if the party causing the death is found liable for causing that death.  The current law only allows recovery of economic damages, such as economic hardship caused by the income lost as a result of the death.  The current law does not permit recovery for damages of grief, sympathy, and loss of companionship or consortium, but this would change with passage of the new law.
  • Close family members will be permitted to recover damages suffered from the death of a family member that was caused by negligence.  Under the current law, only distributees of the estate (including parents, spouses and children) were permitted to recover.
  • The new law would take effect immediately and apply to pending actions already commenced. 

If these significant alterations to the wrongful death statute are signed into law as expected, we anticipate a significant increase in recoverable damages in wrongful death cases for all currently pending and future lawsuits. 

Trief & Olk represents individuals in a wide variety of personal injury accidents, including wrongful death actions.  If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence and another party, contact Trief & Olk by telephone or our website submission form to find out how Trief & Olk can help you.