State Liable for Worker’s Injury Under Scaffold Law

By: Scott Hobson

A recent case decided by the Fourth Department of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the Scaffold Law applies to “gravity related” injuries, even those caused by an object falling from a negligible height.

In deciding the case, Dipalma v. State of New York, the Appellate court affirmed the Court of Claims decision to hold the State liable for injuries to a worker caused by a box sliding off a forklift. The worker, an employee of a contractor hired by the state, was performing repairs on a section of the Scajaquada Expressway in Buffalo.

Dan Corbin, Director of Research for the Professional Insurance Agents, was quoted in a recent article in the Daily Record detailing the case.

“Interpretations of that statute are out of control. It’s not serving the purpose for which it was intended,” he said.

Corbin, who has also authored articles on the law said much has changed since it was enacted (in 1885) and noted it should be negligence-based, not subject to a vicarious liability standard.

“Things have changed since this was put into effect,” Corbin said. “We don’t need this statute for a select group of workers. It seems ridiculous that so many employees could lose an arm or a leg and be restricted to workers compensation benefits but a guy at a construction site gets to sue for general damages and pain and suffering.”

Read the full article here.


For more information on ‘Scaffold Law’ reform visit .

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