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How to Prove Liability in a New York City Construction Site Accident

How to Prove Liability in a New York City Construction Site Accident

If you work on a construction site, you’re aware of the risk and dangers involved. Despite the safety measures you take, many New York City construction accidents can occur as a result of New York State, Department of Labor industrial code violations. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) issued a report this year, revealing that the rate of New York City's construction-related fatalities increased ten percent from 2017-2018, with falls being the most common cause.

If you suffered injuries resulting from a construction site accident, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation medical benefits and lost wages. Although you generally can’t sue your employer in New York State due to Workers’ Compensation laws, you can still pursue legal action to hold a third-party liable for your accident. There are causes of action for negligence and causes of action for New York State Labor Law violations.

Construction Site Owner or General Contractor Liability

General contractors and property site owners have a duty to ensure a safe construction site. They must also take measures to prevent any foreseeable construction accidents, including providing adequate safety gear. Strict liability applies under Labor Law § 240 or Labor Law § 241 if construction injuries arose due to failure to provide the worker with necessary safety equipment to protect them from certain dangers. Under strict liability, negligence does not need to be proven if the injury arose as a result of this labor law violation.

Subcontractor Liability

There are often several contractors on a construction site at once. Subcontractors also have a duty to ensure a safe job site. If a subcontractor created a dangerous condition on the site that caused your injuries — or knew of one and failed to warn or remedy it — they may be held liable for negligence.

Engineer or Architect Liability

Building engineers or architects may also be held responsible for construction worker injuries in certain circumstances. An engineer or architect must ensure that their structure design or construction plan is safe and compliant with the necessary safety codes. If a flawed building design, unsafe demolition plan, or failure to comply with safety standards caused your injuries, liability may fall on the responsible engineer or architect.

Liability for Defective Machinery or Equipment

Sometimes, New York City construction accidents occur as a result of faulty machinery or equipment. While liability in these cases may fall on the party responsible for maintaining the machinery, it can also fall on a manufacturer. A manufacturer might be held liable for your construction injuries as a result of:

· Poorly designed machinery
· Failure to adequately warn of danger
· Improper manufacturing
· Distributing or selling the machinery with the knowledge it had a defect

Under the theory of products liability, any party within the chain of production might be held liable for negligence based on the above criteria — in addition to the manufacturer, liability can attach to a product supplier, wholesaler, or in some cases, a retailer.

Proving Third-Party Liability in a New York City Construction Accident

Generally, in a personal injury action, liability is established by demonstrating that a third-party was negligent. However, if you raise certain labor law violations in your construction accident lawsuit, strict liability may apply if you weren’t provided with certain safety gear or equipment — in this case, negligence does not need to be established.

To prove liability, a court may consider evidence including medical records, OSHA incident reports, witness accounts, photos, architectural plans, business records, and any other relevant documents. You may be awarded for economic damages beyond Workers’ Compensation benefits and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. If a loved one was lost, you may be able to pursue compensation in a wrongful death action.

Contact a New York City Construction Accident Attorney

Proving liability in a construction site accident is complex. If you were injured, or a lost a loved one, in a New York City construction accident, you should contact a New York City construction accident attorney immediately who can protect your legal rights and advise you of your legal remedies. A personal injury attorney who handles construction site accidents can help you recover maximum compensation for your construction injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages.

The Popick Law Firm has over thirty years of experience in obtaining compensation for victims of construction site accidents. Located in Fresh Meadows, NY, The Popick Law Firm handles Queens construction accidents and personal injury cases as well as those that occurred in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact The Popick Law Firm today for a consultation.