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Have you fallen and can’t get up?

While the title is the tag line of a commercial, we represent people who have fallen on the job and have sustained injuries.

Here we talk about falling from a ladder or a height – – or if something falls upon you – – while you are performing construction or renovation on the home or building of someone else.

Suppose that you are employed for a painting company, or any construction company, and are injured when you fall from a ladder while renovating a cottage located on a residential estate . Can you sue?  If your employer has workers compensation insurance, normally you are barred from suing your employer.

How about the owner of the cottage? What, you might ask, did the owner do wrong that would subject him/her to responsibility for your accident and injuries? While the owner might not have done anything and might not have even been around, New York State law says there still might be a case to be made.

This is because of the injured workers friend, Labor Law §240 and its cousin, §241[6].  These 2 statutes impose duties upon owners to comply with certain safety practices for the protection of workers.  Gravity is often involved as would be the case if a worker falls from a ladder or if something falls on a laborer. Liability can very strict if this happens during construction of a commercial property, as is often the case in Orange County.

And if this happens at a one or two family home, such as the cottage, do the same protections apply? Well, then, there is an exemption to this strict liability. There is, however, an exemption to the exemption. Homeowners who use their one or two family premises entirely and solely for commercial purposes do not qualify for the exemption.

Were you injured due to the effects of gravity, either by falling or having something fall upon you, while performing construction? Whether or not you have a case can only be evaluated after you consult with a competent attorney who will put your facts together with the law and provide you with a legal conclusion.

Robert M. Lefland is Senior Counsel with the firm and practices Personal Injury and Appellate Practice. He can be reached by phone at 866-303-9595 toll free or 845-764-9656 and by email.


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J&G Law, LLP