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Labor Law 240 — Falls from Heights

How Does the “Scaffolding Law” Protect New York Workers?

Labor Law 240Falls from heights during construction work often involve falls ladders or scaffolds. However, the differences in falls can be substantial. Workers on ladders may be feet from the ground, whereas workers on scaffolds could be many stories off the ground.

This type of work at heights is so dangerous that the State of New York passed a law, called Labor Law 240, to offer extra protection to laborers, who do construction work at heights.

Labor Law 240 has additional safety regulations that apply when scaffolding or staging is more than 20 feet off the ground or floor. Scaffolds or staging at these heights require safety rails. The scaffolding or staging also must be fastened to prevent it from swaying. Scaffolding should be sturdy enough to bear four times the weight that is placed on it, when in use.

Equipment that Labor Law 240 Requires for Safety Protection

By law, all contractors, owners and their agents (except owners of one and two-family dwellings) involved with construction or building maintenance work must furnish or erect equipment to give laborers proper protection. Equipment includes:

  • Scaffolding
  • Hoists
  • Stays
  • Ladders
  • Slings
  • Hangers
  • Blocks
  • Pulleys
  • Braces
  • Iron
  • Ropes
  • Other protective devices

What Types of Work Does the Scaffold Law Cover?

The Scaffold Law protects workers doing the following work involved with buildings and structures:

  • Erection
  • Demolition
  • Repairs
  • Alterations
  • Painting
  • Cleaning
  • Pointing

Are Many Workers at Risk for Scaffolding Injuries?

OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) estimates that 65 percent of construction workers in the U.S. work on scaffolds. Close to three quarters of scaffold accidents resulted from the following:

  • Planking or support gave way
  • Employee slipped and fell
  • A falling object struck the employee

Falls from heights can create a crippling injury. Any worker who sustains an injury of this type should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help with recovering compensation. For more information, see our Ladder and Scaffold Accidents page.

Car Accident Insurance Limits: When Can You Pursue a Lawsuit?

Fazzini Law Personal Injury Website

How Does Establishing Fault Affect a Car Accident Case?

New York has no-fault automobile insurance. Regardless of who was at fault for causing an accident, insurance covers expenses up to $50,000 (or more, if the no-fault coverage purchased has limits greater than $50,000).

However, what happens when an injury is extremely serious or when costs exceed $50,000 insurance limits? When this occurs, you can sue an at-fault party for damages through a lawsuit.

Serious Injury Threshold in a Car Accident Under NY Insurance Law

Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law defines what constitutes a serious injury in car accident cases.

Any one of the following is considered a serious injury:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature, which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

What If You Were Partly at Fault in Causing the Accident?

During the case, a judge or jury assigns both parties a percentage of fault for causing the accident. If the other party was not 100% at fault for the accident, can you still bring a lawsuit? In New York, the answer is “yes.”

Pure comparative negligence law is the basis for personal injury cases in New York. Under this law, your percentage of fault in causing the accident reduces your recovery amount by that percentage. For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 50% at fault, the most you could recover would be $50,000. Even if you were 99% at fault you could still recover damages, but in this instance, you could only recover $1,000.

In a car accident case, your attorney must prove the other party had some percentage of fault in order to recover compensation for damages.

If you have questions about your car accident and recovering damages, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The initial consultation is free, and you owe nothing unless the attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.

 

Fazzini Law Personal Injury Website

Biometrics and Employee Identification

New York City Has Proposed a Biometrics Privacy LawNew York City Has Proposed a Biometrics Privacy Law

Biometrics is a new technology identification system being used by a variety of industries for various purposes. The primary means of identification include:

  • Fingerprints
  • Handprints
  • Retinal scans
  • Facial recognition
  • Iris scans

Businesses have started using biometrics for time clocks, for entry to secure areas and to login to phones and computers. To this degree, biometrics directly relates to employment situations.

States with Biometric Privacy Laws

While new technology is often uncharted territory from a legal perspective, three states have already adopted biometric privacy laws: Illinois, Texas and Washington. What the laws have in common is requiring consent before collecting biometric information. Illinois law is the most restrictive and requires employers to destroy the employee’s biometric information after a certain period of time if no longer employed by the business.

New York City Proposed Biometric Privacy Law

The National Law Review published an article in January 2019 that described the proposed bill under consideration by the New York City Council. The bill would require businesses to give notice to customers if they are collecting biometric identifier information, and it included a provision that if a person’s information was collected, retained, converted, shared or stored in violation of the law, the person had the right to take legal action.

Under the proposed NYC law, business owners using biometrics would be required to do the following:

  • Post a clear and conspicuous sign in plain language that explains the business is collecting, retaining, converting, storing and sharing biometric information.
  • Business must also make the following available online:
  • How long they are retaining or storing the information
  • The type of biometric information collected
  • Purpose of the collection
  • Privacy policy regarding biometric information
  • Whether they are sharing information with third parties

At this point, employers should be aware of the fact that a biometric privacy law has been proposed. Currently, NY State Labor Law Section 201-a states that unless allowed by law, no employer can require a person to be fingerprinted as a condition for securing employment or continued employment.

Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates stay up-to-date with legal changes that affect employment. We represent business owners in employment litigation matters.

JUSTICE FOR CHILDHOOD VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW ABOUT NEW YORK’S 2019 CHILD VICTIMS ACT

Christopher L. Van De Water, Esq.On Thursday, February 14, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law one of the most important pieces of Civil Rights legislation in years, the Child Victims Act, ensuring that child abusers are held accountable in a civil court of law.  Finally, those survivors who have endured unimaginable pain and abuse have a path not only to justice, but perhaps also healing and closure.  As Governor Cuomo himself succinctly stated on that date: “This bill brings justice to people who were abused, and rights the wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for too long.  By signing this bill, we are saying nobody is above the law, that the cloak of authority is not impenetrable, and that if you violate the law, we will find out and you will be punished and justice will be done”.  In short, the Child Victims Act provides long-awaited relief to child victims of sexual abuse by amending New York State’s antiquated laws to ensure that perpetrators of sexual abuse offenses on children are held accountable for their actions, regardless of when the crime occurred.   Under the former law, victims of sexual abuse as children had to bring a lawsuit within three year’s of the victim’s 18th birthday, an injustice that led to many victims finding the strength to come forward only learning too late that they were time barred from bringing a civil action against the heinous perpetrators of these crimes.  No more says the New York legislature!  A one-time window has opened for victims to file civil lawsuits for the immense emotional fallout associated with cases involving the sexual abuse of a child.

Here is what you need to know NOW about this important legislation and how it affects a victim’s exercise of their rights in a court of law. The Child Victims Act:

  • Allows victims of these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit any time before they reach 55 years of age;
  • Provides victims whose claims have been time-barred with a new opportunity for their day in Court by opening a one-time one-year window for them to finally commence a lawsuit;
  • Increases the amount of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable by extending New York’s statue of limitations to allow for criminal charges to be filed until a victim turns 28;
  • Eliminates the need to file a Notice of Claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor;
  • Requires judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors; and
  • Authorizes the Office of Court Administration to promulgate rules and regulations for the timely adjudication of these revived actions in a Court of Law.

The one-time one-year look back period opens during the summer of 2019, so it is very important for victims of child abuse to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to discuss their rights and develop a plan for your vigorous representation.  Stay tuned for more from the Courts on the promised procedural rules and regulations, which will be integral in successfully litigating these cases and will likely be tailored toward early resolution and settlement.

Author: Christopher L. Van De Water

The Van De Water Law Dirm-Christopher Van De Water