Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Construction Accident?

According to New York’s workplace safety laws, construction site owners and contractors are obligated to abide by various safety regulations to avoid construction accidents and injuries. Keep in mind, these laws do not limit the injured worker to recovering only workers’ compensation benefits.

The following are the state provisions related to construction site accidents:

  • New York Labor Law § 200 – Owners and contractors have a duty to protect the health and safety of “all persons employed therein.” In order for an owner or contractor to be sued under this law, the injury must be caused by an accident or incident which happened at the work site. Additionally, the injured party must show that the owner or contractor controlled that area or had noticed the defective and potentially hazardous condition.
  • New York Labor Law § 240 (1) and 241-A – Owners, contractors or their agents must provide safety devices to protect construction workers from the dangers associated with working at great heights or around elevator shafts or stairwells. If an accident and/or injury occurs, the owner or contractor can be held accountable regardless of whether they had control or supervision of the site.
  • New York Labor Law § 241 (6) – Owners, contractors, and their agents are obligated to provide a safe and reasonable working environment to all persons who are legally present on the property. Similar to a § 240 (1) claim, an owner or contractor cannot avoid liability for non-compliance with standards by arguing that the work was done by a subcontractor.

So if an owner hires a general contractor, who then hires multiple subcontractors to perform and supervise the work, the owner and general contractor can still be held liable if a worker is injured because one of the subcontractors did not comply with safety laws. On the other hand, if a worker is injured by defective machinery, the injured worker can recover workers’ compensation benefits and hold the project owner liable for the full amount of their losses.

For more information, request a free consultation with our New York City personal injury attorneys at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP today.

Categories: Construction Accident