FAQs Construction Accident Lawsuits

New York Construction Accident Resources and Information

Workers injured in construction accidents have suffered losses and should be compensated. New York law requires that construction sites be safe for workers. Moreover, there is a legal duty to warn workers of any defects or hazards at the site, including any hazards inherent in the work being performed. If you have been injured at work due to unsafe working conditions, a skilled construction injury attorney can tell you about your legal options.

There are many reasons to rely on an experienced work injury attorney after a construction accident. Review the answers to some common questions below, and then call the New York City construction accident lawyers at Tolmage, Peskin, Harris, Falick. Call 866-502-9091 or email us for a FREE case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Construction Accident Questions

Construction accidents in New York are covered by an often-confusing set of liability laws. The information below will provide you with an introduction. For more details, contact our New York law firm.

What Is the New York Scaffolding Law?

New York state has a unique law protecting injured workers. Informally and collectively known as the Scaffolding Law, it is actually several sections of the New York statutes that require contractors and property owners to adhere to certain safety requirements on construction sites. New York Labor Section 200 imposes a general duty on contractors, owners and their agents to provide a safe workplace for workers and lawful visitors on a construction site. Section 241 (6) imposes safety obligations on contractors, owners and their agents involved in construction, demolition or excavation work. Section 240 governs the use of scaffolding and other devices for use by employees, "in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure," but does not apply to routine maintenance. Scaffolding that is more than 20 feet high must be properly secured with a safety rail that allows for the delivery of materials. When evidence and eyewitness testimony show that a scaffold was not properly secured or outfitted, the contractor, owner or agent is liable for injuries that result. An experienced New York construction accident attorney can explain how these laws affect your case.

What Are the Basics of Construction Accidents and Workers' Comp in New York?

Injured construction workers are often eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits. They can obtain medical care and reimbursement for associated costs (such as travel) for all reasonably needed treatment. However, injured workers may be required to use a specific, company-approved doctor. In addition to medical care, injured workers may be able to obtain:

  • Disability pay: If the injured worker must take time away from work either temporarily or permanently due to medical reasons related to the injury, he or she may be entitled to disability payments. There are specific maximum and minimum limits to the pay rate. Injured workers may qualify for different types of disability pay: temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability and permanent partial disability. Temporary total disability is the most common type of disability and is available during the period of time workers need to heal before they can return to their jobs.
  • Rehabilitation: There are two types of rehabilitation benefits: physical and vocational. Generally, physical rehabilitation is intended to help injured employees overcome the consequences of the injury. This can include physical therapy and other treatments that help an employee return to the type of work he or she was doing before the injury. If the injury is so severe that an employee will be unable to perform the duties of his or her old job, then vocational rehabilitation may be available. This type of rehabilitation focuses on job training so the worker can return to the workforce in a new capacity.
  • Death benefits: If an employee suffers an injury at work or while performing job-related work and dies from that injury, the employee's surviving family members are entitled to death benefits.

If you are injured while working construction, you should take the following steps:

  • Report the injury to your employer. If possible, report the injury in writing and keep a copy of the report for your records.
  • Complete a claim form. No matter how the employer learns of the incident, it must offer the injured worker a claim form immediately. Until this claim form is completed, the employer has no obligation to provide benefits. Make sure it is filled out completely and correctly. Keep a copy of the claim. It is then the employer's responsibility to notify the workers' compensation insurance company.
  • File the claim as soon as possible. Those seeking to claim workers' compensation benefits should do so quickly. Any delay on the injured worker's part could lead to potential delays or even a loss of benefits. Immediately reporting injuries and filing a claim as soon as possible increases the likelihood that benefits will begin quickly.
  • Contact a construction accident attorney.

Are There Common Types of Construction Accidents?

Any type of accident at a construction site can cause injury or death. Listed below is some information about common types of construction accidents.

Crane accidents

In New York City, crane accidents are a very common type of construction accident due to all the skyscrapers and major constructions projects occurring each and every day. For additional information on crane accidents and related NY construction laws visit our crane accident page.

Falling objects

Construction workers need to protect themselves from falling objects, a common problem at worksites. Falling construction materials, tools and equipment can cause serious and even fatal injuries. If a worker is hurt or killed on the job by a falling object, it is important to learn about the compensation available. Our NYC law firm handles cases involving injuries caused by falling items such as:

  • Bricks, concrete slabs, boards, drywall, pipes, beams, glass and other types of construction materials
  • Power and hand tools such as hammers, knives and chisels as well as heavy equipment such as mixers, generators and forklifts
  • Loads dropped from cranes, cherry pickers and lifts

Cases involving injuries caused by falling objects can be complex, especially because it can be challenging to determine who was responsible. Our New York City scaffolding accident attorneys have the knowledge and experience to determine liability.

Ladder accidents

Ladder accidents do not only happen at home; they are a common cause of construction site injuries. Our law firm handles injury cases arising from ladder accidents caused by:

  • Using the wrong ladder for the job
  • Using a ladder incorrectly: climbing while holding objects, climbing with wet or oily boots or shoes, or not securing the ladder at the top and bottom
  • Using a ladder that was poorly maintained or defective: climbing a ladder with bent or missing rungs, damaged feet or hooks, or weak uprights
  • Using a ladder without being trained

Accidents involving falls from ladders, whatever the cause, can result in serious injuries or death. Our attorneys can help you determine your legal options.

Defective equipment accidents

Using construction equipment with manufacturing or other types of defects can cause serious injuries, include crushing injuries, broken bones, burns, spinal cord injuries and head or brain injuries. These types of injuries can also be fatal. If you were injured or a loved one was killed because of a defective tool or machine or because of poorly manufactured construction materials, find out how our New York law firm can help.

Electrical accidents

Electrical accidents can cause death as well as serious burns, head or brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and damage to internal organs. Broken bones after being thrown by the force of electrical contact from a ladder or other high place are common. These accidents can be the result of poorly maintained or defective power tools and equipment, requiring employees to work outside during lightning storms, and damaged or defective wiring. Identifying the responsible party after such accidents can be challenging. A knowledgeable construction accident lawyer can make all the difference.

Toxic exposure

Construction workers are exposed to a variety of chemical agents, many of which are toxic. It is important to know what you have been exposed to so you can obtain treatment promptly and correctly. Diesel fuel, benzene, solvents in general, lead, asbestos, silica and heavy metals are commonly found at construction sites. Such substances can exist in the form of particulates, gas, mist, dust, liquid or vapor. Workers can be exposed by skin or eye contact, ingestion or inhalation. Exposure can result in a variety of cancers, skin diseases, breathing problems and liver problems. Having the right protective equipment is critical to avoid being exposed to toxic levels of chemicals found at building sites.

Trenching accidents

Trenching accidents happen when the walls of a ditch, trench or hole in the ground collapse. Such accidents can be prevented by shoring up the walls of a trench and ensuring that the dirt around the top of the trench cannot fall in. Construction workers are killed or seriously injured when trench walls collapse or material falls into a trench. Workers can be buried and suffocate or suffer significant head and brain trauma as well as broken bones, spinal cord compression and crush injuries.

Vehicle accidents

Any construction site is a busy place, with trucks of all sizes coming and going. Workers are vulnerable to injuries and death from on-site vehicle accidents. Road construction crews are at particular risk of being injured by drivers who go too fast, ignore warning signs and make wrong turns. Construction workers operating vehicles and heavy equipment are also vulnerable to vehicle accidents caused by careless drivers or other heavy equipment operators. Learn more.

What Are the Most Frequent Construction Accident Injuries?

Construction site workers can be injured or killed in almost all types of accidents. Common injuries that occur among employees at building and road construction sites include:

Head and brain injuries

Head and brain injuries can be the result of falls, explosions, falling debris and equipment, and worksite assaults. Victims may suffer debilitating injuries that cause cognitive difficulties, memory loss, tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and balance problems. Having proper fall protection equipment can prevent many head and brain injuries. Learn more.

Spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries, which can result from many types of construction accidents, can cause paraplegia, quadriplegia and other forms of paralysis. People who suffer spinal cord injuries can experience severe disability. Learn more.

Broken bones

Broken bones, also called fractures, are most commonly caused by falls or a heavy object striking a limb or another part of the body. Although treatment is usually straightforward, multiple or complex fractures can be difficult to repair and extremely painful and require long recovery times. Construction workers who suffer from multiple or complex broken bones can expect to be out of work for a considerable amount of time.

Loss of Limb/Amputation

Amputations are frequently the result of getting a limb caught in machinery. Other times, a limb can be so badly damaged in an accident that amputation is the only option. Crush injuries and injuries from machinery that malfunctions are also common causes. Construction workers who have had limbs amputated will probably be unable to return to the same type of work once they are healed.

Burns

Burn injuries can be the result of explosions, welding accidents, chemical exposure and building fires, among other causes. Severe burn injuries can be life-threatening not only because of the burns themselves, but due to smoke inhalation and infection. Workers who suffer serious burns can expect a long recovery, multiple surgeries and disfigurement. Learn more.

Environmental illness

Environmental illnesses are not only the result of exposure to chemicals. Workers can come in contact with a number of elements that can cause illness or disease, including mold, bacteria in soil, diseased animals, air pollution and airborne particulates.

Are There Different Types of Construction Accident Claims?

Like other workers, construction workers injured on the job can obtain compensation for their injuries, lost wages, medical expenses and other costs associated with their injuries. However, it is important to have knowledgeable legal counsel to obtain maximum benefit. Injured construction workers may be able to receive compensation from more than one source, but coordinating multiple claims requires in-depth knowledge.

Workers' Compensation Claims

New York provides injured workers modest benefits and wage replacement if they were hurt on the job. The benefits are paid from employer-funded workers' compensation insurance. Although benefits are supposed to be paid without regard to fault, in reality, filing a workers' comp claim may be surprisingly difficult.

Third-Party Personal Injury Claims

If you were injured on the job by a third party - someone who is not your employer - you may be able to file a lawsuit against that third party for compensation. Examples of a third party include a subcontractor, a motorist, the owner of a property or the agent for the property. Our law firm will investigate the accident and consult with safety experts to determine whether the third party violated applicable city, state or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws and regulations. It is particularly important to explore whether you are eligible for a third-party claim if your injuries were severe, as workers' compensation benefits from your employer are generally modest. For additional information, visit our page on third party claims.

Product Liability Claims

Construction workers injured by defective or malfunctioning equipment, building materials and vehicles used on the job may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, retailer/supplier or other entities involved in the design, manufacture, packing or marketing of the item. These are complex claims that often require extensive investigation to identify the liable party. Having a knowledgeable product liability lawyer can help. Learn more .

Wrongful Death Claims

Losing a loved one unexpectedly in a construction accident is devastating. Family members left behind seldom know about their legal options and rights. At our law firm, we help people obtain compensation after they have lost loved ones in construction accidents. Receiving money does even not begin to make up for the loss, but it can reduce anxiety about the future and send a message to the negligent party that misconduct and carelessness are not tolerable. There are different sources of compensation for which you may be eligible, and our New York wrongful death attorneys can advise you about your options. Learn more.

Are You Ready to Discuss Your Claim?

Obtaining as much information as you can is important when thinking about a construction accident lawsuit. Nothing can replace the in-person counsel of an attorney with experience handling cases like yours. Our New York City firm offers free consultations so you can ask questions about your eligibility to file a lawsuit and other matters that include:

Why Should I File a Lawsuit After a Construction Accident?

If you have been injured in a construction accident, we can help you get the compensation you may deserve for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. To do this, however, you may need to file a lawsuit. The lawyers at Tolmage, Peskin, Harris, Falick have vast experience handling cases involving construction accident injuries and workplace safety. We can help you hold the negligent party responsible.

How Do I Find the Best Construction Lawyer in New York City for My Needs?

When looking for an attorney to help with your construction accident claim, keep in mind that a lawyer's experience with cases like yours may give you an advantage. In addition to experience, you should look at past results and the depth of the firm. Developing a construction accident lawsuit can be expensive, making it important to find a firm with the resources to develop your case fully. At our law firm, we have many years of experience and are well-known in courthouses throughout New York. To learn more, visit our page about selecting an attorney.

Filing a Construction Accident Lawsuit in New York

Filing a construction accident lawsuit in New York City is even more complicated than starting a personal injury lawsuit after a slip-and-fall or motor vehicle accident. In addition to the usual processes involved in a lawsuit, a construction accident case must explore workers' compensation and other sources of compensation. Learn more about filing a lawsuit.

Who Can I Sue After a Construction Accident?

It can be challenging to identify the party responsible for your construction accident injury or for the wrongful death of a loved one. You may be able to file a third-party lawsuit or a workers' compensation claim. If your injury was caused by a defective product, you may be able to sue the manufacturer or another entity in the production chain. If you were injured in a vehicle accident while on the job, you may be able to collect from the other party's insurance company. Determining who you can sue after a work accident is best done in consultation with an attorney.

For Further Information: Construction Accident Resource Links

Because construction accidents are a significant cause of workplace injury, there are numerous local, state and federal online resources available to keep you informed about issues related to workplace safety and protective gear. To learn more, visit our Construction Resources page.

Contact Our New York City Law Firm

When you are ready to speak with an attorney, consider contacting Tolmage, Peskin, Harris, Falick. Our NY construction accident lawyers have a wealth of experience helping injured workers. Call 866-502-9091 or email us for a FREE case evaluation.

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