Accident and Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Many accident victims are overwhelmed by their injuries, and the thought of a legal case can seem daunting. At Hofmann & Schweitzer, our legal team understands these feelings, and we’ve compiled our thoughts on many common worries here to help you get started finding the answers you need to protect yourself and your family. If you’ve been hurt in a construction, maritime, or railroad accident, browse our FAQs today.

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  • What if I was injured in New York City but live in a different state?

    Two Construction Workers Walking Down a New York City Sidewalk Hofmann & SchweitzerOne of the first things you should do after receiving medical attention for your injury is to file a workers’ compensation claim. This can be done either in the state where the accident occurred, or in the state where you live if you commute to work from outside New York City. However, the state in which you file a workers’ compensation claim can have a huge impact on your construction injury case, so you should not make this decision lightly.

    Benefits of Filing Your Construction Injury Case in New York

    As each state is allowed to create its own workers’ compensation laws, the amount and duration of workers’ compensation benefits can vary widely from state to state. If you live in one state but are injured in another, you can choose which location (called jurisdiction) to file your claim.

    There are many reasons New York City construction workers should consider filing their claims in New York, including:

    Right to sue employer.

    In most states, workers’ compensation claimants are barred from suing an employer under the exclusive remedy doctrine. However, New York laws allow some employers to be sued in work injury lawsuits.

    State labor laws.

    New York State Labor Laws 240, 241, and 200 provide grounds for construction accident victims to sue the general contractor and worksite owner for injuries caused by negligence. These laws can be applied to union and non-union employees, and out-of-state employees, day laborers, and even illegal immigrants.

    Third-party lawsuits.

    If a worker is seriously injured to the negligence of a third party, he or she can file a construction accident lawsuit in addition to collecting workers’ compensation.

    Right to file additional claims.

    Employees can file for workers’ compensation in their home states and in the state where the injury occurred. However, typically one state will pay up to its benefit limits before the other will agree to make up the difference.

    Have You Been Injured While Working On A Construction Site?

    If you've been hurt while working at your construction job you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our New York City law office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.

    You can also read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Who is covered under the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act?

    Oil Rig at Sea Hofmann and SchweitzerThere are many extensions to maritime law that provide compensation to maritime employees injured on land. One such law is the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, commonly known as OCSLA, which allows non-seamen who work on submerged lands under U.S. jurisdiction to be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). Maritime employees whose work is primarily offshore (such as oil rig workers) are covered by OCSLA, making them eligible for benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury.  

    Benefits Provided to Employees Under OCSLA

    Under the OCSLA, federal jurisdiction is extended to “the subsoil and seabed of the outer Continental Shelf and to all artificial islands, and all installations and other devices permanently or temporarily attached to the seabed… for the purpose of exploring, developing, or producing resources therefrom, or any such installation or other device (other than a ship or vessel) for the purpose of transporting such resources.” This allows injuries in these cases to fall under federal statutes (such as OCSLA and LHWCA) rather than state workers’ compensation programs.

    Injury Benefits Under The OCSLA

    Medical care.

    Employees who are eligible for OCSLA benefits may be reimbursed for doctor’s visits, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, physical therapy, assistive devices and equipment, and specialist care arising from a work-related injury.

    Disability payments.

    If your injury is so severe that you cannot work, you may be eligible for partial or total disability payments.

    Vocational rehabilitation.

    If you are unable to return to your previous position as a result of an injury, you could be eligible for employment counseling, vocational testing, and job retraining through the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Death benefits.

    If an employee is covered under the OCSLA and dies as a result of a work-related injury, his or her children and surviving spouse are eligible for death benefits as well as up to $3,000 for funeral and burial expenses.

    If you have suffered from a maritime injury, we encourage you to find out more about your rights to see who may owe you compensation for your recovery. Contact one of our New York and New Jersey maritime accident attorneys today via our online contact form, or call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY and let an experienced maritime injury lawyer provide you with an opinion about how much your maritime injury case is worth. For more information on your case, be sure to download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • What is the Admiralty Extension Act?

    Ships at a Busy New York Dock Hofmann and SchweitzerMaritime laws were created to allow injured workers to recover payment for lost wages and medical bills after an accident at sea. However, when they were first enacted, these laws only applied to accidents and injuries outside of the bounds of state borders. As a result, maritime employees who were hurt on land would only be able to recover compensation under that state’s injury laws. In 1948, admiralty jurisdiction was extended, protecting all maritime employees regardless of where their injuries occurred.

    How the Admiralty Extension Act Benefits Your Maritime Injury Case

    The Admiralty Extension Act (AEA) of 1948 brought admiralty and maritime jurisdiction inland, allowing the federal laws to include cases where damage on land is caused by a vessel on navigable water. Victims who suffer property damage or injuries due to a ship’s contact with land or objects near the shore have a right to bring claims under admiralty law, as do maritime employees injured on land by their vessel (or some appurtenance of the vessel).

    The AEA ensures that maritime injury laws extend to employees who are:

    • Injured on land while working near their vessels
    • Injured after a ship on navigable waters caused damage onshore
    • Hurt as a result of a vessel colliding with land or a land-based structure
    • Injured while performing work on bridges and piers
    • Injured during the loading, unloading, or storage of vessel cargo

    If you have suffered from a maritime injury, we encourage you to find out more about your rights to see who may owe you compensation for your recovery. Contact one of our New York and New Jersey maritime accident attorneys today via our online contact form, or call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY and let an experienced maritime injury lawyer provide you with an opinion about how much your maritime injury case is worth. For more information on your case, be sure to download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • When is a construction worker’s car accident considered a work injury?

    A car accident can result in many complications that can keep construction workers off the job for months, including broken bones, traumatic brain injury, joint damage, neck and back injuries, or spinal cord injuries that can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. If you were involved in a crash while in the service of your employer, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for medical costs and lost wages resulting from the accident.

    Construction Worker With an Orange Cone on the Side of the Road Hofmann & Schweitzer.

    Common Causes of Work-Related Car Accidents in the Construction Industry

    Employers will only provide workers’ compensation benefits for vehicle accidents that are “work-related,” but the definition of work-related can vary from workplace to workplace. Although any injury sustained at the work location is often covered, employees also qualify if they are injured during work-related travel or if they are away from the job site in order to do a task that benefits the employer.

    Employees may be able to collect workers’ compensation for a construction motor vehicle crash if they were:

    Hit By A Car While Working 

    If a driver strikes a worker who is standing near the roadway, the injured employee can not only collect workers’ compensation, but may also be entitled to file a lawsuit against the driver for pain and suffering damages.

    Driving A Company Vehicle 

    An employee who is driving a delivery van, truck, bulldozer, or other vehicle may collect compensation when these vehicles are involved in an accident. In addition, the worker may file a third-party lawsuit if the injury was caused by poor vehicle maintenance or defective parts.

    Struck By A Company Vehicle 

    If an employee is struck by a co-worker who is operating a car, truck, dump truck, or other heavy equipment moving in and out of the construction zone, his or her injuries would be covered by workers’ compensation.

    Performing Tasks For An Employer Or Co-Worker 

    Workers may be denied benefits if they are injured when they are “off the clock,” such during lunch breaks or while traveling to and from work. However, there may be an exception for off-the-clock injuries if the injured worker was running errands for an employer, such as picking up coffee and bagels for the whole team before work, or dropping off a package for the employer on a lunch break.

    Traveling Between Sites 

    Employees may be covered if they were asked to drive their own vehicles to pick up additional construction materials, shuttle co-workers to the owner’s other work sites, make work-related deliveries, or bring clients to view a property.

    Have You Been Injured While Working On A Construction Site?

    If you've been hurt while working at your construction job you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our New York City law office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.

    You can also read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • What is my maritime injury case worth?

    Lawyer Calculating Compensation in a Maritime Injury CaseThis is often one of the first questions that our clients ask us. Whether they are injured maritime workers or they have lost a loved one in a maritime accident, the people who come to us want an end to their financial and emotional burdens and proper payment for their pain and suffering.

    Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to how much a person may recover by filing a maritime injury lawsuit. Every case has its own variables, facts, and legal issues that will determine the potential value of the case. That said, there are certain types of damages that can be recovered, and typical factors that influence these kinds of cases.

    Factors That Can Affect Compensation in a Maritime Injury Case

    While each case is different, many of our clients are able to recover compensation for monetary losses related to the injury. This often includes medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, past wage losses, and the ability to earn a living in the future. There may also be an amount recoverable for pain and suffering damages.

    At Hofmann & Schweitzer, we examine the details of your case and estimate the value of the claim based on:

    • Liability. A case will not be worth anything if an injured party cannot prove fault. We examine whether negligence can be proven, and whether the strength of the evidence is sufficient to convince a defendant to settle or convince a judge of negligence.
    • The severity of the injury. We examine the total and combined costs of the injury, including how much they have already cost and how they are likely to impact the seaman’s future. If the injury has resulted in disability, we must estimate losses that result from the seamen’s inability to work again, or vocational losses caused by early retirement or changing jobs.
    • Defendant’s financial condition. The amount and limits of the defendant’s insurance greatly impact potential recovery, as does the defendant’s conduct with regard to safety and adherence to state and federal laws.

    We encourage you to find out more about your rights if you have suffered from a maritime injury. Contact one of our New York and New Jersey maritime accident attorneys today via our online contact form, or call 800-362-9329 and let an experienced maritime injury lawyer provide you with an opinion about how much your maritime injury case is worth. For more information on your case, be sure to download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • What is the Public Vessels Act?

    United States Government Ship in Harbor Hofmann & SchweitzerThe Public Vessels Act (PVA) is a federal maritime law that was enacted to grant compensation to injured parties onboard U.S. government ships. Before the PVA, workers injured on “public” vessels (owned or operated by the federal government) could not sue for damages because the United States was immune from injury lawsuits. Today, domestic and foreign workers who are injured while working on a government-owned vessel can sue the government to recover medical payments, lost income, and other damages.

    What Maritime Workers Should Know About the Public Vessels Act

    The PVA applies to maritime cases where an injury occurred during the course of employment by the government, on board a government-operated vessel, or a government-owned vessel that is operated by a private contractor. Citizens of other countries may also qualify to file lawsuits under the PVA, as long as similar laws exist for the benefit of U.S. citizens in the non-U.S. citizen's country.

    In order to recover compensation under the PVA, an injured worker will have to:

    Show proof of negligence.

    Just as in other types of injury cases, an employee will have to prove negligence to win maritime injury compensation. This includes providing evidence that the U.S. government's negligence contributed to a worker’s injury or death.

    Overcome the discretionary function exemption.

    The government may be exempt from liability in cases where the worker had the ability to use his or her own judgment in performing the action that led to an injury. An experienced maritime law attorney can carefully examine federal laws or policies to determine whether the worker had an element of choice in performing his or her duties.

    File before the statute of limitations.

    Although there is a three-year period in which to bring claims under general maritime law and the Jones Act, Public Vessels Act cases must be filed within two years after the injury or death occurs.

    If you have suffered an injury aboard a government vessel, our maritime personal injury attorneys can determine who may be liable and what you are owed under the law. Contact us online or call (800) 362-9329 today to speak with a maritime lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights today.

     

  • Can I pursue a third-party claim and a workers’ compensation claim?

    Injured Construction Worker on the Ground Hofmann & SchweitzerNew York construction workers should file for workers’ compensation as soon as possible after an injury in order to get payment for their medical bills and lost wages. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited in how much compensation they provide—and the amount received may not cover the full costs of a serious construction accident. In these cases, a third-party claim could provide additional payment for a worker’s pain and suffering, permanent losses, and reduced quality of life.

    Third-Party Injury Cases That May Be Filed After a Construction Accident

    Construction employees can file third-party injury claims while they are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but they should be aware that the two claims are very different. For one thing, employees are required to prove fault in an injury claim in order to receive damages. In addition, the negligent party will have to make a case to refute the charges against him or her, which may involve going to court.

    Common examples of third-party injury cases include:

    Personal injury.

    While construction workers are generally limited in their ability to sue an employer after a work injury in New York, they may be eligible to file an injury lawsuit against the general contractor, subcontractor, or owner of the property.

    Wrongful death.

    In addition to collecting workers’ compensation death benefits, surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent party to recover a construction worker’s medical care related to the fatal accident and permanent loss of income and support.

    Product liability.

    Injuries or deaths involving construction equipment could lead to a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment. A manufacturer may be liable if the equipment was defective, poorly designed, assembled improperly, inadequately tested, or did not warn users of the risks involved.

    One caveat with pursuing a third-party claim is that courts generally do not allow double recoveries for the same injury. Simply put, if your workers’ compensation benefits paid for your medical bills and your third-party settlement includes payment for medical bills, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company may place a lien on the proceeds of your injury case. However, the workers’ compensation insurance company is only entitled to recoup the benefits they have already paid to an injured worker.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can get you the compensation you are owed. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today. We also invite you to read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • What is the status test for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?

    Large Ship Being Loaded While DockedSince 1927, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) has provided federal benefits to some maritime workers who are hurt on the job. According to Section 2(3), only maritime workers who are performing certain job-related tasks are eligible for LHWCA benefits.

    This Is Known as the Status Test

    Generally, in order to qualify for LHWCA benefits, a worker must perform maritime-related job duties. Some maritime workers who are eligible for LHWCA benefits include:

    • Longshoremen
    • Shipbuilders and repairmen
    • Shipyard workers
    • Waterfront crane operators
    • Terminal workers
    • Maritime construction workers
    • Civilian workers on overseas military bases
    • Workers on oil wells, natural gas wells, and other offshore facilities dealing with the natural resources of the Outer Continental Shelf
    • Civilians employed in post exchanges on military bases and those who are paid to boost the morale of United States military troops

    Some of the workers who are not covered by the LHWCA include:

    • Workers covered by the Jones Act
    • People who perform office tasks such as secretarial work
    • Security personnel
    • Maritime workers who got hurt while they were drunk
    • Maritime workers who meant to hurt themselves or others
    • Government employees
    • People who work in businesses near harbors and ports and who are covered by state workers’ compensation laws

    These people may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits in other ways. However, if you are one of the people who does qualify for LHWCA benefits pursuant to the status test, then it is time to consider whether you also meet the requirements for the situs test found in section 3(a) of the law.

    Find Out If You Qualify for LHWCA Benefits ASAP

    Your time to file for federal workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to the LHWCA is very short. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our New York longshoreman injury lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation about your rights. We will make sure that you pursue a fair and just recovery pursuant to the right law. Call us or start a live chat with us now to learn more.

     

  • What is the situs test for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?

    Ship Receiving Various Repairs While DockedThe Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal workers’ compensation law that provides benefits to some maritime workers who are hurt on the job. In order to qualify for LHWCA benefits, an injured maritime worker must meet the specific eligibility requirements of the law.

    Where Were You Injured?

    The situs test involves where you were when you suffered your injuries. When the LHWCA originally became law in 1927, it only applied to maritime workers who were hurt on boats that were on navigable waters. Over the years, this definition was found to be too limiting. It excluded maritime workers who were on land but who were working on building, fixing, loading, or unloading vessels.

    Today, the LHWCA applies to maritime workers who are hurt on, near, or adjacent to navigable waters. It includes people who are on:

    • Vessels, but are not considered seamen pursuant to the Jones Act
    • Piers
    • Wharves
    • Drydocks
    • Oil rigs
    • Natural gas drilling platforms
    • Marine railways
    • Terminals
    • Building ways

    Maritime workers who are far from the water will, therefore, not be eligible for LHWCA benefits because of the situs test.

    The Situs Test Is Just One LHWCA Requirement

    You may meet the requirements of the situs test, but to qualify for LHWCA benefits, you are also going to have to meet the status test. If you satisfy the requirements of both the situs test and the status test, then you may be able to receive compensation for a good portion of your income and compensation for all of your injury-related medical expenses.

    To learn more about your rights and about whether you may qualify for LHWCA compensation, please contact the experienced longshoreman injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer today. You have a very short amount of time to file an LHWCA claim, and you don’t want to miss the deadline. Call us or reach out to us via this website today to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • How much does a maritime injury lawyer cost?

    Green Piggy Bank on Top of a CalculatorMost injury victims hesitate to seek legal representation because they are unsure whether they can afford an attorney. The truth is that for many injured maritime workers, the amount they stand to gain is far greater than the costs of an attorney’s fees—and most of the legal costs can be paid after the case has been settled.

    How Maritime Injury Lawyers Charge for Their Services

    Some attorneys charge clients by the billable hour, assessing a flat fee for each hour spent working on the case. However, this method may not be ideal for injury victims who are struggling financially after to an accident. As a result, injury attorneys offer alternative fee structures to give victims access to their legal rights without incurring any upfront costs.

    Injury attorneys can serve clients in ways that will not place an unreasonable burden on the victim, including:

    Contingent Fees

    The majority of injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, meaning the attorney receives a portion of the amount he or she recovers for the victim. The attorney covers all upfront expenses, including filing fees and court costs. If the victim’s case is not successful, the victim will only have to pay the attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses—the victim will not owe the attorney any fees.

    Expenses After Settlement

    Legal expenses (such as hiring experts to testify, hiring an investigator or photographer, document copying, and records requests) are not part of an attorney’s fees, and must be paid whether or not the case is successful. However, in a contingency fee arrangement, these costs can be deducted from the settlement rather than paid out of the victim’s pocket.

    Free Initial Consultations

    Injury attorneys will want to make sure a maritime injury or Jones Act case is valid before agreeing to represent the client. By offering a free consultation, the attorney can determine whether the maritime employee has a right to recover legal damages, and victims can get the legal advice they need at no cost to them.

    Our nationwide maritime injury lawyers have experience in all aspects of maritime law and personal injury law, and can advise you on your rights free of charge. Contact us online or call (800) 362-9329 today to speak with a maritime lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights today.