Rolling Back ‘Scaffold Law’ Would Impact Construction Workers’ Safety, Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer Says

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New York construction sites could become much more dangerous if the legislature dilutes worker protections under Labor Law Section 240, according to personal injury attorney Scott C. Gottlieb of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP.

Syracuse construction accident attorneys, New York construction injury lawyers

Syracuse personal injury attorney Scott C. Gottlieb

New York’s labor laws provide some of the strongest support for the people who risk their lives to build our cities. There is no need to change that.

Injured construction workers deserve the same safety protections today that they’ve had for the past 130 years, Syracuse personal injury attorney Scott C. Gottlieb said today in response to a push to undo New York’s scaffold laws.

“Construction work continues to carry a significant risk of serious accidents and life-changing injuries, particularly when workers are high above the ground,” said Gottlieb of the Syracuse personal injury firm of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, which represents construction accident victims throughout Syracuse and surrounding areas.

“New York’s labor laws provide some of the strongest support for the people who risk their lives to build our cities,” the veteran Syracuse personal injury lawyer continued. “There is no need to change that.”

Gottlieb pointed to two bills pending in New York’s legislature that would strip injured construction workers of their right to recover damages for injuries suffered in fall accidents at jobsites.

The bills, S. 6816 and A. 2835, would dilute New York’s scaffold law, allowing property owners, contractors and other responsible parties to shift blame for workers’ injuries to the injured workers.

Labor Law Section 240, commonly called the scaffold law, currently gives construction workers the right to a safe workplace. Responsible parties can be held strictly liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths on a construction site without consideration of who was to blame.

Proponents of the new legislation want to weaken the protections afforded under the scaffold law, Gottlieb said.

“Since the scaffold laws were enacted in 1885, New York has been at the forefront of protecting the safety of the workers who perform some of society’s most dangerous jobs,” he said. “Those who are trying to change the scaffold law have failed to make their case for why New York should pare down workers’ rights.”

Money has been at the heart of many of the arguments made in favor of restricting injured workers’ right to recover compensation under the New York scaffold law. For example, a columnist in the New York Daily News recently argued that the protections under Labor Law Section 240 could “add hundreds of millions if not billions” of dollars to the cost of reconstructing the Tappan Zee Bridge near New York City.

Gottlieb said the money argument misses the point of the scaffold law.

“In my practice, I often see the catastrophic injuries that can result from a fall on a construction site. Virtually all of these injuries and deaths could have been avoided if the responsible parties had provided a safe workplace,” he said.

“The costs associated with scaffold law liability serve an important purpose – they provide a powerful incentive to ensure that jobsites are safe. The results could be disastrous if we let the responsible parties off the hook,” Gottlieb said.

Instead of bowing to business interests most concerned about their bottom lines, Gottlieb urged New York lawmakers to stand up for the rights of construction workers in Syracuse and throughout the state.

Gottlieb also said that workers who have suffered serious injuries in construction site falls should contact an experienced workplace accident attorney to find out more about their legal rights, Gottlieb said.

About Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP

Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, handle all types of Syracuse personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and boats. The firm also represents clients in actions for wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. In 2008, the firm reached the $100-million mark in combined lifetime verdicts and settlements. Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, features a nearby office in Syracuse at One Lincoln Center, Syracuse, NY, 13202 (local phone number (585) 546-8120) and serves clients in Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Elmira, Watertown and surrounding areas. For more information, call the firm toll free (800) TALK-LAW or use its online contact form.


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