Last month, reform legislation was introduced in the New York Senate to reform the state’s Scaffolding Law. The current law holds contractors and property owners absolutely liable for workplace injuries, regardless of fault.New Yorkremains the only state to still have such a law on the books.
Citing the fiscal challenges faced by municipalities in the current economy, advocacy groups have pressed the issue with Governor Cuomo, who seems ready to support them.
Rather than facing strict liability, as employers do now, the bill under consideration would apply comparative negligence, which means that employees would be held accountable for their contribution to the accident. For example, employees may lose their ability to receive compensation to cover the cost of injuries if the employer proves they did not follow safety regulations or were intoxicated.
The bill also opens the door for interpretation regarding the employee’s adherence to instructions. It enables construction companies to build a case against the worker in order to limit their own liability.
For injured parties, this could mean their ability to receive compensation for their injuries will be greatly reduced. This will be done as a way to impact the bottom line, while workplace safety is negatively impacted.
If you have been injured in a scaffolding fall or other workplace accident, contact an experienced construction accident attorney in New York to discuss your case and the next steps in recovering damages.