Construction Accidents

Working in the construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations. But, many jobsite accidents could be avoided if all contractors and owners and their agents, subcontractors or other parties, trades and equipment manufacturers acted with care. Our attorneys help you file your workers’ compensation claim and pursue actions against third parties such as owners, contractors, subcontractors or other trades to recover the money and benefits you are entitled to.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. – Fighting For You

$7 Million

Verdict In Construction Accident Case

$5.7 Million

Verdict In Construction Accident Case

$3.4 Million

Verdict In Construction Accident Case

construction hat

New York City construction accident attorneys that are on your side!

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reported a decline in injury rates among most professions within the last two decades, one in ten construction workers are still injured every year. OSHA also reported that 21.4% of all private industry fatalities were in construction, so clearly, construction is a high-risk profession and injuries can be life changing.

As a construction worker, you know how physically challenging your job can be, requiring the highest level of physical stamina and health. Since your livelihood depends upon your body being in top-notch condition, if you are the victim of a construction accident, it’s in your best interests to talk to an experienced New York City construction accident attorney today.

Types of Accidents

Construction work carries with it a multitude of accident risks. Some of the more common accidents involve:

  • Falls – Falls accounted for over 38.8% of the construction fatalities in 2015. Falls are often caused from the failure to provide safety harnesses, fall arrest systems, netting, scaffolds, or other safety devices.
  • Falling Objects – Construction work usually involves the constant risk of workers being struck by falling objects and debris that has not been properly hoisted or secured. Over 9.6% of construction fatalities in 2015 were attributed to employees being struck by objects.
  • Excavation and Trenching – Trenching operations can turn deadly if a cave-in occurs, burying a construction worker under tons of collapsing earth. When this type of accident happens, workers can be injured by inhalation of toxic fumes, explosions, or electrocution when underground utilities are struck, or even die of asphyxiation.
  • Electrocution – Electricity is another danger construction workers face on the job site when working with “live” wires or failing to tag or lock out circuits. Over 8% of construction workers killed in on-the-job accidents were electrocuted.
  • Burns – Construction workers often use welding and other types of equipment that can result in painful and debilitating burn injuries.
  • Heavy Machinery – Construction work involves the use of a variety of different types of heavy, and often dangerous, machinery. Workers are sometimes injured or killed by being run over by heavy machinery weighing tons.

New York Labor Law Provides Special Protections To Construction Workers

While the general rule in New York is that employees cannot sue their employers, New York State has special legal protections to workers who have been victims of construction site accidents.

  • Section 200. This section of New York labor law requires owners and contractors to take reasonable care to protect workers on the job site by providing safe workplaces under their control.
  • Section 240. This section of New York Labor law requires building owners and contractors to provide scaffolds, ladders, and other devices to give their workers proper and adequate protection when involved in erecting, demolishing, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning, or pointing a structure or building. The owner and general contractor is absolutely liable, even if they had no notice, when a construction worker is injured due to the force of gravity (i.e. falling or being struck by a falling object).
  • Section 241 This statute outlines the specific actions as well as specific equipment required on a construction site to ensure the safety of construction workers in the state of New York.

If employers and contractors fail to uphold their duties under these special construction statutes, they can be held liable for injuries that result. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident and feel that your employer may be held directly liable, the experienced NYC construction injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. can walk you through the legal issues that may be involved in your case.

In addition to these special construction statutes, you may also be entitled to benefits under the New York workers’ compensation laws.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The most common route that victims of construction accidents take is making a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation provides much-needed benefits to injured employees. However, it’s important to realize that there are some limitations. For example, workers’ compensation will not reimburse for all lost earnings associated with:

  • Wages
  • Pension
  • Annuities
  • Vacation funds
  • Social Security Disability
  • Loss of household services

Fortunately, even if you are receiving worker’s compensation you still may be able to sue the party responsible for your injuries. Not many people understand that they may not have to settle for just workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the accident, multiple third parties could be held liable, including:

  • The general contractor
  • The construction manager
  • Other contractors and subcontractors
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • The owner of the building or structure

The New York construction accident attorneys of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. have extensive experience in identifying all liable parties in order to help you get the maximum possible recovery.

Types of Damages Recoverable In Construction Accidents

The advantage of a third-party lawsuit as opposed to worker’s compensation is that the victim of a construction accident can recover additional money. By filing a third-party lawsuit, an injured construction worker may be able to be compensated for both past and future damages, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost income
  • Loss of income from Social Security
  • Loss of annuity/pension
  • Loss of healthcare benefits
  • Loss of value of household services
  • Medical benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium if a spouse, parent or child has been negatively affected by the worker’s injury

Construction Accident Claims Have Strict Deadlines

There is a limited amount of time you have to file a construction accident lawsuit in the state of New York. This time limit, also known as the Statute of Limitations, is three years from the date of injury. Since there is a limited duration of time to file a lawsuit related to your construction accident and injuries, it is essential that you contact an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

What to Do If You Have Been Injured

If you have been injured in a construction accident, there are a few things you can do to protect your rights:

  1. Get immediate medical attention for your injuries.
  2. Report the accident to your employer within 24 hours.
  3. Preserve any evidence pertaining to the accident that you can.
  4. Take pictures or ask others to take them for you.
  5. Don’t make any statements to insurance companies or investigators until you’ve consulted with a reputable construction injury attorney.

We’re Fighting For YOU

Don’t settle for just worker’s compensation benefits. If you have been injured in a construction accident and have a claim, you will need an experienced New York construction accident attorney to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve. With more than 150 years of combined experience and a proven track record of success, the construction injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. are well-prepared to handle all your legal needs. Contact us today at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!

When I got hurt on the site, Schwartzapfel Lawyers rebuilt my life.

Without a doubt, THE best firm and group of attorneys myself and my son, who is their client, ever have had the pleasure of doing business with. Complete expertise from start to finish. The nicest attorneys and staff that treat you like family and are with you every single step of the way…
– Doreen Schmitt
My lawyers…went to bat for me today and hit it out of the park! I was hurt on a construction site that changed my life forever. After realizing that the right thing was not being done i decided to seek counsel and everything they had told me has come true. My worries are no longer about my finances, but only to get better. I thank you both and all your team for your caring and professionalism!
– George Pratt
My husband has dealt with other lawyers in the past and never had a good outcome so after getting injured on the job, he was really scared to put his and our lives into another’s lawyers hands just so he could get screwed yet again, but this law firm proved to be different and showed us that they will FIGHT FOR YOU. Everyone at Schwartzapfel’s office did a phenomenal job and We can’t thank them enough. We recommend them 100% .
– Kelly Haggerty
“I think that Schwartzapfel’s firm exceeded my expectations as to what a law firm would do.”
– Dominic Figurito

Construction Accident FAQs

I’ve been injured on my construction job. Can I sue my employer?

New York State law prohibits employees from suing their employers for injuries sustained in a construction accident. However, there are a few exceptions. When a construction accident is the fault of an employer, an injured worker is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. If someone other than the employer is also at fault for your injuries, such as the owner of the property, the landlord, the managing agent, the superintendent, the general contractor, the subcontractor, or anyone else other than your employer, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit to recover additional money. In addition to Workers’ Compensation benefits, you can receive money for your pain and suffering and economic loss, your lost wages, your loss of pension or annuity, your loss of vacation funds, your loss of Social Security income, and your loss of household help.

What if my employer isn’t the only one at fault for my injury?

Most workplace injuries on construction sites are caused by factors other than those caused/created by the employer. Often, the action is the fault of the owner of the property, the landlord, the managing agent, the superintendent, the general contractor, or the subcontractor. These accidents usually occur due to the fault of a third party, not the employer. We can file a lawsuit against those parties to collect money that cannot be recovered under Workers’ Compensation. Those additional funds can include money for your pain and suffering and economic losses, including your lost wages, your loss of annuity, loss of pension, your loss of vacation funds, your loss of Social Security income, loss of health insurance, your loss of household help, and other damages.

What are some of the causes of construction accidents?

Construction accidents can be caused by numerous factors including:

  • Falls from any height
  • Falls from roofs
  • Falls from ladders
  • Falls from scaffolds
  • Falling debris
  • Falling objects
  • Trips and/or slips and falls
  • Failure to provide safety equipment
  • Scaffolding accidents
  • Crane and hoist accidents
  • Collisions with equipment
  • Lift equipment failure
  • Trench collapse
  • Explosions
  • Electrical accidents
What persons, businesses, or entities may be responsible for my accident?

Depending upon the nature of your accident third parties at fault for a construction accident may include:

  • Property owners
  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Landlords and managing agents
  • Building superintendents
  • Equipment manufacturers
Why would I file a lawsuit if I qualify for, or am already collecting, Workers’ Compensation?

The benefit to a third-party lawsuit is that an injured construction worker can collect money for damages that you would never be entitled to collect through Workers’ Compensation including compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering (both past and future)
  • Lost wages not covered by workers’ compensation
  • Loss of annuity
  • Loss of pension
  • Loss of Social Security income
  • Loss of vacation funds
  • Medical expenses not covered by workers’ compensation or denied by workers’ compensation
  • Loss of consortium — spousal or parent-child relationships that have been negatively impacted by the injury
  • Loss of parental guidance
  • Loss of household help

Construction Accident Articles

steven schwartzapfel

Steven Schwartzapfel

Our founding partner Steven J. Schwartzapfel understands the frustrations and heartbreak of living with a serious physical disability. His father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and often needed assistance with everyday activities. This childhood experience sparked Steve’s passion for helping injury victims and shaped Steve’s approach to legal practice. Our attorneys advise you in the same manner as we would our own family member. We provide honest, helpful advice and treat you with the honor, dignity, respect and compassion you should expect from a genuinely caring, concerned and committed attorney.
• National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
• Top 5% of Practicing Lawyers according to New York Times Super Lawyers

30+ Years

fighting HARD & Winning

We aggressively prosecute a clients action and get the money and benefits our clients deserve, as quickly as possible.

98%

SUCCESS RATE

Having worked for the insurance companies we know all the tactics they’ll use to deny, delay and disclaim a legitimate case.

NO FEE

UNLESS WE WIN

That’s right. No fee unless we win. Not wanting or being able to pay upfront fees should not stand in the way of seeking the justice you deserve.

When tragedy strikes, Schwartzapfel strikes back.

Types of Construction Accidents

Falls – Falls accounted for over 36% of the construction fatalities in 2013. Falls are often caused from the failure to provide safety harnesses, fall arrest systems, netting, scaffolds, or other safety devices.

Falling Objects – Construction work usually involves the constant risk of workers being struck by falling objects and debris that has not been properly hoisted or secured. Over 10% of construction fatalities in 2013 were attributed to employees being struck by objects.

Excavation and Trenching – Trenching operations can turn deadly if a cave-in occurs, burying a construction worker under tons of collapsing earth. When this type of accident happens, workers can be injured by inhalation of toxic fumes, explosions, or electrocution when underground utilities are struck, or even die of asphyxiation.

Electrocution – Electricity is another danger construction workers face on the job site when working with “live” wires or failing to tag or lock out circuits. Over 8% of construction workers killed in on-the-job accidents were electrocuted.

Burns – Construction workers often use welding and other types of equipment that can result in painful and debilitating burn injuries.

Heavy Machinery – Construction work involves the use of a variety of different types of heavy, and often dangerous, machinery. Workers are sometimes injured or killed by being run over by heavy machinery weighing tons.

New York Labor Law Provides Special Protections To Construction Workers

While the general rule in New York is that employees cannot sue their employers, New York State has special legal protections to workers who have been victims of construction site accidents.

Section 200. This section of New York labor law requires owners and contractors to take reasonable care to protect workers on the job site by providing safe workplaces under their control.

Section 241 This statute outlines the specific actions as well as specific equipment required on a construction site to ensure the safety of construction workers in the state of New York.

Section 240. This section of New York Labor law requires building owners and contractors to provide scaffolds, ladders, and other devices to give their workers proper and adequate protection when involved in erecting, demolishing, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning, or pointing a structure or building. The owner and general contractor is absolutely liable, even if they had no notice, when a construction worker is injured due to the force of gravity (i.e. falling or being struck by a falling object).