Few jobs are more inherently dangerous than that of a New York City window washer. These workers toil on the skyscrapers making up New York’s landscape. Those workers who survive a window washing accident may face permanent disability or a long period of rehabilitation and recuperation. When your life turns upside down due to a window washing accident, seek legal help right away.

A New York construction accident attorney at Friedman Levy can help protect your rights and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

NYC Labor Law §202

Under New York Labor Law §202, the owner, lessee, and manager of any public building, as well as every contractor, must provide a safe way to clean the windows and exterior of the property. Without providing such safety equipment, window and exterior building cleaning cannot take place. The safety devices and equipment require approval by the Industrial Board of Appeals. The building owner must comply with the Industrial Board of Appeals. Under the law, workers are required to use these safety devices.

Keep in mind that §202 does not apply to dwellings of six stories or less located anywhere in New York State. It also does not apply to any building less than three stories in those municipalities with a population under 40,000.

Common causes of window washer accidents

Window washing accidents often happen due to insufficient or defective safety devices used in window washing. Common causes of window washer accidents include:

  • Scaffolding collapse
  • Ladder tipping
  • Defective safety equipment, such as harnesses or safety belts
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Defective guard rails
  • Defective suspension ropes
  • Improper worker training
  • Overhead power line shock

The majority of window washer accidents involve falls, but any contact with a power line can result in electrical shock or electrocution. Window washer accidents may also occur due to weather conditions, such as wind, high temperatures, and inclement weather.

Then there are situations where the worker checks the scaffold and finds frayed suspension lines or other issues. If the supervisor says to use it anyway, the odds of an accident increase due to potentially defective equipment. Perhaps the scaffold appeared in good condition, but manufacturing defects caused it to give way.

Common injuries

Falling from a height, or having an object fall on you from a height, usually leads to devastating injuries. Common window washing accident injuries include:

  • Fractures
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury

Unfortunately, many people succumb to the injuries received in a window washing accident. When this happens, surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who may be liable for a window washing accident?

Liability for a window washing accident depends on the unique circumstances of each case. However, under §202, an injured worker may sue the owner, lessee, manager, or general contractor. That holds true even if they were not negligent.

Usually, window washing accidents fall under New York’s workers’ compensation regulations. Injured employees receiving workers’ compensation benefits cannot sue their employer. The injured party may still file a personal injury lawsuit against the building’s owner, lessee, manager, or contractor.

Another law applies to window washing accidents. That is Labor Law §240(1), the New York Scaffolding Law, which applies to work done at elevated heights. Under the Scaffold Law, the owner, lessee, etc., cannot avoid liability even if the worker was negligent. That last provision does not apply to §202.

Violation of either law means the injured worker can bring a claim against those parties holding liability.

If the accident occurred due to a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer or the company providing the materials for its construction could prove liable.

Why it is important to hire a lawyer

When it comes to window washing accidents, you need representation by an attorney specializing in these types of accidents, including fall accidents, with an in-depth understanding of New York’s labor laws. You need a lawyer with expertise in determining who may prove to be at fault for a window washing accident under the unique circumstances.


Compensation, or damages, in a window washing accident may include:

  • Medical expenses, present, and future
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

Contact a New York City window washing accident lawyer

If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a New York City window washing accident, contact Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green today. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. After reviewing your claim, we will let you know your options.

Since we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation for your injuries. Hablamos Espanol.