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Injured Construction Worker Rights

The Law

New York State is concerned about the safety of people working in the construction industry.  To encourage compliance with safety practices, New York has two laws that make the owner of the property on which a worker is injured and the general contractor for the construction project responsible for certain safety violations:

(a) Labor Law §240, known as the “scaffold law” protects workers who fall from a scaffold, ladder or height, or are hit by a falling object, due to the lack of proper safety equipment.

(b) Labor Law §241 protects workers who are hurt at a construction site due to a violation of the Industrial Code, which has requirements for hand tools, power-driven machinery, electrical hazards and demolition operations, among other things.

When a construction worker is hurt on the job, he or she has two separate sources of help:

  1. The injured worker can receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits from his/her employer.  Workers’ Compensation benefits will pay the medical bills and part of the lost earnings.  These benefits are paid by the employer’s insurance company.

  2. There may be a lawsuit for violation of Labor Law §§240 or 241 against the owner of the property and general contractor.  In this lawsuit, the worker can recover lost wages and medical bills not paid by Workers’ Compensation, plus an amount of money for the pain and suffering the worker endures due to his or her injuries.

The Need for Urgency

The law requires the injured worker to take those actions necessary to obtain his or her benefits.  If injured on the job, you should tell the boss about the accident the day it happens if the boss is not present.  If hurt, you should call, or ask a co-worker to call, an ambulance.  If you do not go to a hospital, go see a doctor that day or the next day.  When the doctor asks what happened, you should be specific regarding how you were injured at work.  You should also get the names and telephone number of any witnesses to your accident.

Undocumented Persons

New York courts have been courageous in protecting the rights of individuals injured at construction sites who do not have permission to work in this country.  Even a person who does not have a “green card” is entitled to the same Workers’ Compensation benefits and Labor Law protections as a citizen or permanent resident.

It Does Not Cost You Money to Consult an Attorney

Workers ’ Compensation attorneys are paid a percentage (set by the Workers’ Compensation Judge) that never exceeds 15% of any lost earnings benefits the attorney obtains for the injured worker.

Labor Law §240 and §241 attorneys are paid one-third of any settlement or judgment they obtain for you.  There are costs in brining a lawsuit, but the attorney usually will pay these costs on your behalf and be paid back at the end of the case.


Do not lose your rights.  If injured at a construction site, speak with an attorney knowledgeable in this field of law as soon as possible.

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Contact: Paul H. Schietroma
From Paul H. Schietroma, P.C.

Local Number: 212-714-2100


Serving: New York

Paul H. Schietroma P.C.
1825 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10035

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