New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Litterbugs are Liable

Posted on Dec 11, 2015 in Construction Accidents, Workers' Compensation

It might seem like a trivial detail, but litter is actually a serious thing, and it’s even more serious in places where it might present obstacles for busy workers.

We’ve all seen those municipal signs claiming a $300 or $500 fine for littering or dumping. Government planners are trying to instill an understanding in people that littering is a serious thing. But at the same time, too few companies understand that litter or untended debris on a job site could turn into something much, much bigger.

Site Debris: A Serious Liability

For people outside of the justice system, it might seem ludicrous to think that littering could generate lawsuits totaling thousands or even millions of dollars. But for an injury lawyer, it’s extremely simple.

In fact, there are documented cases in New York law where local courts awarded huge settlements because someone slipped on debris at a worksite or other work space. Companies have a responsibility to provide a safe work space for their employees, and that means keeping important work areas clean and free of obstacles, whether that’s a work floor, stairwells or other spaces.

Consider the following scenario: Various contractors and subcontractors go in to work on the building. Each one of them brings in materials and equipment, and each one leaves something behind when they go. Over time, the debris builds up. You might have bits and pieces of drywall, pieces of wallpaper or other finishing material. You might have tools scattered across the floor or some piece of equipment left sitting in front of the door. What all of these scenarios have in common is that someone littered — and someone could’ve gotten hurt.

This is what we mean when we say “litterbugs are liable.” Simply put, someone who left litter or debris lying on the floor has created an unsafe work situation for others. In some cases, where a company doesn’t maintain oversight of this type of littering, the company can also be found liable.

It’s important to understand that this isn’t just a question of trying to be a stickler and going after defendants for money. Injured workers have a legitimate right to compensation for the cost of medical bills, lost wages and more. These rights are codified in New York State labor law, and pursued by legal professionals in the course of a work injury case. The goal is to make sure the injury victim benefits from the best representation, as well as the best chance at just and equitable settlements or other compensation.

RMFW – A Top-Notch New York Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Hurt in a New York construction accident? Talk to the professional injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, a firm that brings a dedicated approach to each client’s case. We will be by your side through the entire process, helping to do the required legal fact finding that will support a personal injury case. Let us help you exercise your rights under the law.

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