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Proposed revision of New York Scaffold Law fuels debate

For the longest time, the Scaffold Law has provided protection for construction workers in New York who suffer injuries due to fall accidents while working. The liability for accidents covered under the Scaffold Law mainly rests on the property owners and contractors, as they are required to provide workers' compensation and insurance in these cases. But this practice might soon come to an end as a proposition to adjust the Scaffold Law is made, which puts construction-worker negligence into the equation. Hence, contractors would no longer have absolute liability in falls and injuries.

Groups supporting the amendment have emerged, saying that the Scaffold Law is particularly harmful to smaller construction firms. It requires them to allot large amounts of money for their workers' insurance, which can drive up the costs of construction. These are added to their clients' charges and are even imposed on taxpayers.

Those who are against the amendment have asked the insurance companies to be transparent with their claims and financial statements. They insist that there is no data showing a significant increase in insurance premiums because of the Scaffold Law. They also stress that construction workers' rights will be put in jeopardy if the law protections are decreased.

Whether or not this proposed bill will be put into action, a construction worker's rights should never be downplayed. Involvement in a construction site accident means you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation for your medical expenses and loss of wages. Your case should be thoroughly investigated to prove that the your employer’s – or a third party’s – negligence contributed to your injury to make sure that you get all the benefits due to you.

Source: timesunion.com, "Jousting over Scaffold Law fate," Casey Seiler, Feb. 12, 2014

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