New York Construction Accident Lawyer Educates: Employer Liability on NY Scaffold Law

04/11/2010 // White Plains, New York, USA // Calano & Culhane // New York Construction Accident Attorney – Thomas A. Culhane, Esq.

New York City —” target=”_blank” alt=”New York Construction Accident Lawyer”>New York Construction Accident Lawyer writes: It has been long a settled law that the New York State Labor Law Section 240, also known as a Scaffold/Ladder Law is an “absolute liability” statute. In essence this means where a worker is provided with a device listed in Labor Law 240 (scaffolds, ladders, hoist, etc.) and/or where the device was not constructed, placed or operated so as to provide “proper protection” or where the worker was not provided with such device but should have been, than the Section 240 defendant will stand liable for all resulting injuries irrespective of whether the worker was comparatively negligent and provided that the injuries were sustained in an “elevation related” accident.

While Labor Law 240 may seem rather clear cut and straightforward its application has been the subject of many court rulings which at times are at variance with one another and require close scrutiny for the practitioner.

There are however two instances in which the plaintiff’s culpable conduct can bar recovery under the “absolute liability” statute known as the Labor Law Section 240. The two instances are (1) where plaintiff’s negligence was a “sole proximate cause of the accident” and (2) where plaintiff was a “recalcitrant worker” who refused the used and available safety device. The problem a practitioner confronts in determining what conduct will and will not bar recovery is that, while the Court of Appeals has taken a decided turn towards the right since 2003, it has not clearly delineated how much of its prior rulings in the 1990s remain good law. There were a number of cases that for a long period of time were the standard for determining Labor Law 240 liability. These cases include Haimes v. New York Telephone Company, 46 NY2d 132 (1978), Gordon v. Eastern Railway Supply Co., Inc., 82 NY2d 555 (1993), Hagains v. State of New York, 81 NY2d 921 (1993), Stolt v. General Foods Corp., 81 NY2d 918 (1993). There are however more recent cases Blake v. Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, 1 NY3d 280 (2003), Robinson v. City of New York, 22 AD3rd 293 (1st Dept. 2005), Montgomery v. Federal Express Corporation, 4 NY3d 805 (2005). These cases and cases decided subsequent to these cited must be carefully read and understood to determine the applicability of the Labor Law 240 standard. The law firm of Calano & Culhane has been front and center supporting plaintiffs’ rights resulting from Labor Law 240 violations and has established themselves as experts in the field of construction liability.

It is of supreme importance for injured workers to be confident that counsel they retain are fully conversant in this ever evolving area of personal injury liability. While many firms offer a wider range of services the New York Personal Injury Lawyers of Calano & Culhane limits its practice to personal injury cases with a significant portion of those cases involving catastrophic construction accident cases.

To learn more about New York Personal Injury Attorney Thomas A. Culhane, Esq. Visit

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