Court Determines Contractors Not Negligent for Death on Worksite

Handling workplace-injury cases can sometimes become a headache for any business owner. But dealing with a death on your premises is another story. Often times, this can lead to lengthy and intense investigations where people will try to prove that you were somehow negligent and partially responsible for that person's death.

Our Houston readers can see this exemplified by a case that was recently ruled on in New York where the widower of a deceased woman tried to hold several contractors responsible for her death. While the widower insisted that the contractors were responsible for the fatal accident that killed his wife, a New York appeals court disagreed.

The man claims that he and his wife were hired to hang wallpaper in an office building across the street from a garage the contractors were working on. The man says that after driving into the parking garage, their vehicle began to skid on a patch of ice, which caused the vehicle to slide towards the incomplete park of the structure. Although the man was able to get out of the vehicle, his wife was not and she plunged along with the vehicle 32 feet to the ground below. The man sued the contractors for negligence and accused them of Labor Law violations.

But a four-judge panel disagreed with the man's arguments and instead sided with the contractors. As the judge's explained, the contractors "did not create the dangerous condition that caused the accident" and further pointed out that because the man and his wife had not begun work wallpapering, they could not be covered under the sections of Labor Law the man cited in court.

As many of our readers know, accusations of negligence or wrongful death can be stressful because you must prove these accusations false. But as this case points out, sometimes your case can be helped by the evidence at hand, which can ultimately prove that you were not negligent or responsible for a death.

Source: Courthouse News, "Negligence Claims Tossed in Tragic Garage Case," Jeff D. Gorman, Mar. 3, 2014

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