COVID-19 and Construction Accident Claims

COVID-19 and Construction Accident Claims

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Jun 23, 2020

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

New York City is one of many epicenters of the Coronavirus. Since the beginning of COVID-19, unemployment in the city has wavered, while construction workers have experienced a 40 percent decrease in employment since 2019.

Unemployment is a challenge in the city right now. Not knowing when work will resume is creating fear and uncertainty among millions of residents—and this fear is exacerbated for those with an ongoing injury case on hold.

If you’re a construction worker who’s been injured on the job and hasn’t yet filed due to COVID-19, then it might be the right time to contact an attorney at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers who can get a jump-start on your case. Learn more about the critical role construction has in our bustling city and how you can get the compensation you deserve for an injury as old as three years.

Construction is Considered “Essential” During COVID-19

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on March 7 after 89 state-wide cases were confirmed. Following this executive order, the state underwent lockdown, where thousands of businesses were forced to close their doors indefinitely. Only businesses deemed essential were to remain open, which consisted of hospitals, medical centers, and grocery stores.

New York City Essential Workers Map
Metropolitan areas like New York City are densely populated with essential workers

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But even during New York’s lockdown, certain types of construction were considered essential businesses. Construction is allowed to continue if the individual company was working on any of the following:

  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Transit Facilities
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Schools
  • Affordable Housing

Additionally, construction was allowed to continue if building was essential to the structure or the residents inside it. While businesses were urged to postpone any construction, they are allowed to move forward with the proper social distancing and hygiene techniques.

But even with all these precautions used to avoid spreading COVID-19, this doesn’t change the fact that construction is one of the most hazardous fields in the United States.

Construction Is One of the Most Dangerous Jobs

Heavy machinery, excavation, scaffolding, hundred-story buildings. When done right, construction workers can build amazing things. But all it takes is one slip-up for this to be a recipe for disaster.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies common slip-ups as the “Fatal Four,” which are:

  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object
  • Electrocutions
  • Caught-in/between

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Furthermore, three out of 100 workers experience nonfatal injuries while on the job. Almost half of these cases are injuries that require time away from work. Simply put, injuries on the job site are not uncommon; but that doesn’t mean that recovering from them is a walk in the park. In fact, recovery time—which might include hospitalization, physical therapy, checkups—is difficult because of the required time away from work and the uncertainty behind paying medical bills.

If you’re one of the many hardworking Americans who have been injured while working on a construction site, then there’s good news: Even amidst this worldwide pandemic, there are still steps you can take to file your claim.

How to File a Claim During COVID-19

Filing a personal injury claim against your workplace is likely the last thing you’re thinking of during the current pandemic—but now might be the best time to do so.

Before, life was always busy and constantly on the move. Now, many of us have extra time on our hands. This means that our time is being spent differently, especially for essential businesses like law firms that have the option to remain open to help people like you.

So even if you are laid off or not working now, it might be best to file a claim so you can get the compensation and medical care you deserve during an otherwise stressful time. Here are some things you could consider as you move forward with your claim.

Step #1: Understand the Statute of Limitations

In many construction accidents, there is a statute of limitations that governs your ability to make a claim. The law of limitations sets the maximum amount of time after an accident in which legal proceedings can begin.

In New York, this regulation allows most construction accident claims to be filed for up to three years from the date of the incident. This means that even if your injury was close to three years ago, it’s still not too late—but you have to act quickly.

Step #2: Avoid a Quick Settlement

If you’ve already moved forward with your claim, then the first thing you should know is that you want to avoid a quick settlement. The first offer is usually the lowest because the insurance company wants you to agree to a smaller amount before you understand how severe your injuries are and before you can consult with a lawyer.

In the event this happens, you should stay silent until you contact a trusted attorney. Settlements are final, so always consult with the best construction accident attorneys in New York.

Step #3: Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re wondering how Coronavirus affects construction accident claims in New York, the answer is unfortunately not straightforward. After all, not many lawyers’ doors are open during this time unless essential. With everything shut down, many firms that are open don’t have the right resources.

But this shouldn’t stop you from moving forward with your claim. Many law firms have begun using the technology available to us to consult with clients over video and email. With the right expertise, passion, and resources, your claim can be filed and settled fairly and quickly. When you work with Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, you can expect a fair fight with the right amount of compensation you deserve.

Schwartzapfel® Lawyers Will Fight For You

With over 35 years of experience, several Best Lawyers awards and accolades, and hundreds of won cases, there is no other firm in New York City that will fight for you the way Schwartzapfel® Lawyers will.

Our team is not only passionate about all cases, but we also are proud of being one of the leading construction accident law firms in New York City. So if you are seeking to file a complaint, then contact Schwartzapfel® Lawyers today for a free consultation—because even during COVID-19, we won’t stop FIGHTING FOR YOU®.

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