Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reported a decline in injury rates among most professions within the last two decades, the workers in the construction industry still maintain the highest injury rates. Clearly, construction is a high-risk profession.
As a construction worker, you know how physically challenging your job can be, requiring the highest level of physical stamina and health. As a construction worker, your livelihood depends upon your body being in top-notch. As such, if you are a victim of a construction accident, your livelihood could be at stake.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured
Sometimes construction injuries are the result of dangerous working conditions. Other times, injuries result from the failure to provide adequate – or any – safety equipment. Some injured construction workers mistakenly believe that the accident is their fault, such as when a worker falls or slips off of a ladder or scaffold, falls through a hole, or trips on garbage or debris. So the worker does nothing. However, the law says that it is not your fault and that in addition to collecting worker compensation benefits, you can file a claim and pursue litigation.
If you have been injured in a construction accident and have a claim, you will need an experienced construction accident attorney to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve. To collect all the money you deserve, don’t just settle for Worker’s Compensation benefits. Call us immediately at 1-888-575-6410.
Types of Accidents
There are a multitude of dangerous risks involved in construction work. Some of the more common accidents involve:
- Falls. Falls are very common on construction sites and can result in serious injury or even death. 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 have not been properly hoisted or secured.
- Excavation and Trenching. Trenching operations can turn deadly if a cave-in occurs, thus burying a construction worker under tons of collapsing earth. When this type of accident occurs, workers can be injured by inhalation of toxic fumes, explosions, electrocution when underground utilities are struck, or even die of asphyxiation.
- Electrocution. Electricity is a danger that construction workers face on the job site when working with “live” wires or failing to tag or lock out circuits.
- 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
While the general rule in New York is that employees may not 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 construction 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 construction workers proper and adequate protection when involved in erection, demolition, 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.
Section 200 of the New York labor statute codified the common-law duty imposed upon an owner or general contractor to provide construction site workmen with a safe place to work (Allen v Cloutier Constr. Corp., 44 N.Y.2d 290, 299). Implicit within this duty to provide a safe work site is that the party alleged to have that responsibility must have the authority to control the activity bringing about the injury to enable it to avoid or correct an unsafe condition (Reynolds v Brady & Co., 38 A.D.2d 746).
What About Workers’ Compensation?
Many victims of construction accidents believe that Workers’ Compensation will compensate them for their losses. However, Workers’ Compensation pays for only a small fraction of the losses you have suffered. For example, it will not reimburse you for all your lost earnings, loss of pension, loss of annuity, loss of vacation fund, loss of social security disability, or loss of household services.
Fortunately, even if you are receiving Workers’ Compensation, you still may be able to sue the party responsible for your injuries. Therefore, the best course of action for injured construction workers to take is to not just settle for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers’ experienced construction accident attorneys to hold the party responsible for your injuries accountable and get all the compensation you are entitled to. Culpable parties can include:
- The General Contractor
- The Construction Manager
- Other Contractors and Subcontractors
- Equipment manufacturers
- The owner of the building or structure
What Can You Recover?
The advantage of a third-party lawsuit as opposed to Workers’ Compensation claim 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:
- 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
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
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 (3) 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 practically possible after the accident.
Contact Schwarzapfel Lawyers P.C. – Your NYC Construction Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a construction accident, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. for experienced counsel and representation. With over 150 years of experience, we have the expertise and know-how to help you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to. To get started, contact us online or call us at 1-888-575-6410.