New York’s Legal Landscape Makes Finding General Liability Insurance a Challenge
If you’ve attempted to obtain insurance as a contractor or property owner undertaking a construction project in New York, you’re probably already familiar with how challenging it can be to obtain a general liability insurance policy in the Empire State. New York stands out as one of the nation’s most difficult insurance landscapes for general and trade contractors and property owners. Read on to learn about the unique challenges of providing insurance coverage in New York, and ways that contractors can reduce the risk of injury on the job.
New York’s construction laws make obtaining insurance a challenge
As in most other states, those injured on the job in New York who work for an independent contractor may not sue their employer, but instead will seek damages through the workers’ compensation system. Where New York differs is in its century-old Scaffold Law. This law imposes liability on general contractors and property owners for any injuries suffered by workers as the result of gravity-related accidents. Even where workers were instructed to use a harness but refused to do so, or given strict instructions on ladder use that they ignored, the employee is unlikely to bear any of the responsibility for their injuries. This law provides a way for a great number of injured workers to file a lawsuit against their general contractor or property owner.
As a result of these laws, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York reports that pure premium losses are 300% higher than anywhere else in the US for construction projects in New York. These costs affect not only the bottom line of insurers and contractors, but of government entities and taxpayers.
Steps contractors and property owners can take to mitigate the risk
One way to address the high costs associated with insuring New York construction sites is to implement measures geared toward reducing the frequency of accidents. For one, contractors should make attempts to hire experienced workers. Job site managers should also hold daily meetings where workers are reminded to make use of the safety equipment provided to them, and to comply with safety policies. New York insurers, general contractors and property owners are also advised to find experienced and knowledgeable legal help when obtaining insurance coverage or facing claims based on laws that heavily favor plaintiffs.
If you or your organization is in need of skilled legal help in the area of insurance coverage or other commercial litigation in New York, contact the knowledgeable, professional, and seasoned Long Island insurance coverage litigation attorney Richard A. Fogel for a consultation, at 516-721-7161.