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My Two Cents

Should We Limit Jury Verdicts for Labor Law 240?

by Gerard A. Strauss, Esq. on 05/27/14

Recently, the New York Times reported that efforts are underway in Albany to limit jury verdicts for injured workers under NY's Labor Law 240 (a/k/a the “Scaffold Law”).

As far as I am concerned, this would be a terrible mistake. Labor Law 240 protects thousands of workers who perform extremely dangerous jobs. Unsafe scaffolds and ladders can lead to serious injury and even death. The New York Times reports 136 New York construction workers died between 2003 to 2011 in falling accidents.

Qwners and contractors should not sacrifice safety for profit. The Scaffold Law encourages employers to hire contractors with strong safety records, instead of looking for one that costs the least, with safety considerations pushed to the side.

The strict liability standard that is in force requires the injured worker to prove there was an unsafe elevation device. Insurance and business groups’ claims that workers can collect large settlements when they are at fault for the accident are overblown and often untrue.


 

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