Locked In

Q: I was employed by a painting subcontractor to work at a school.  One evening, a coworker and I were locked into the school’s gated sports-stadium area.  We walked the perimeter of the surrounding six-foot fence – looking for another exit and calling out for help.  Then, we decided to exit the area by scaling the fence.  My buddy made it, but I slipped and fell to the ground.

A: Labor Law § 200 codifies the common-law duty of an owner or contractor to provide employees with a safe place to work.  Your attorney is likely to argue that the locked gate constituted a dangerous condition and that the general contractor negligently scheduled and placed workers onsite such that they could be locked into the stadium area at night.

Where a claim is based on a dangerous condition on the premises, an owner or contractor is liable where it created the dangerous condition or had actual or constructive notice of its existence.  A GC has constructive notice of a defect when it is visible and apparent, and has existed for a sufficient length of time before the accident such that it could have been discovered and corrected.

Your attorney also will maintain that your act in scaling the fence was a natural and foreseeable response to the condition created by the GC’s negligence.  A defendant is liable for all normal and foreseeable consequences of its acts, and you need not demonstrate that the precise manner in which the accident happened or the injuries occurred was foreseeable.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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