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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  • Do I need a lawyer for a construction accident case?

    Construction Worker With an Injured Leg on a Job SiteConstruction site injuries can cause significant complications and limitations for workers. Unfortunately, many employees will be overwhelmed by pain, face pressure to return to work after an injury, and simply do not know their rights after an accident. For these reasons, it is vital that any injured construction worker speaks to an attorney as soon as possible.

    How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Construction Accident Case

    Our construction accident lawyers work hard to get you everything you are entitled to after an injury. We offer free, no-obligation consultations for construction accident victims, allowing you to learn your options and next steps at no cost to you.

    An attorney can be beneficial to you and your family by:

    • Maximizing your benefit payments. If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, you are likely owed workers’ compensation for your medical care and wage losses during your recovery. However, you will have to jump through a number of hoops to ensure your benefits are approved and continue until you are able to return to work. We can also determine if you are owed other forms of compensation as we investigate the facts of the claim.
    • Acting on your behalf. Our attorneys can step in if you are facing employer retaliation or intimidation after an injury, deal with insurance companies and medical bill collectors, and prevent you from saying or doing anything to hurt your claim.
    • Investigating negligence. Many construction accidents are caused by unsafe workplaces, defective equipment, or other preventable conditions. We can determine the exact cause of your injury and hold the responsible party liable for your suffering.
    • Calculating and recovering your losses. An injury on the job can result in high medical expenses, lost income, ongoing treatment, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. We carefully consider all of your past and future losses to get you an amount that will fairly compensate you for your accident.

    Our construction injury attorneys will work to get you the compensation you are owed, and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Can I continue to work in construction after a knee injury?

    Knee Injury Test ResultsWhether your knee was injured suddenly on a job site or worn down by years of repetitive motion, there is no doubt that your ability to earn a living will be affected. The knee is the largest joint in the human body, and any damage to its normal function can impact both your work and home life—even if you are able to resume employment.

    Long-Term Effects of a Construction Knee Injury  

    Construction workers put enormous pressure on their joints every day, relying on them to carry heavy weights and navigate through awkward spaces. Before you return to work after a construction injury, you should be prepared for the long-term consequences of your condition.

    For example, a knee injury can result in:

    • Lost mobility. The knee is vital for the majority of physical actions, including walking, running, crouching, kneeling, sitting, or even standing still. A construction worker’s limited mobility can result in reassignment to easier, lower-paying duties, or force him or her to retire early.
    • Lifting and carrying restrictions. Proper lifting techniques involve using the legs instead of the back. If a worker’s knee is in pain, he risks damaging his back during lifting and carrying, causing a secondary injury.
    • Aggravation of the injury. If you suffer re-injury or aggravation of a previous condition after returning to work, you may be able to receive temporary workers’ compensation benefits for lost workdays related to the injury.

    If your on-the-job knee injury has resulted in chronic pain, arthritis, or forced you to change professions, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for permanent disability. You could also be owed compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if the accident was caused by a third party’s negligence.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can fight to get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • I wasn’t engaged in work duties when I was hurt on my vessel. Does maritime law apply?

    Large Ship and Workers at SeaIf you make your living on or near the water, there is a good chance that maritime laws will apply to your case. The high risk of injury on ships, fishing boats, floating platforms, and barges has led to a variety of federal statutes to provide accident coverage to victims, even if the workers were not “on the clock” when the injury occurred.

    Maritime Laws That May Pay for Off-the-Clock Injuries

    The Jones Act, The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), and general maritime law all provide injury compensation and the right to file a lawsuit, so it may take an experienced maritime attorney to determine which one applies to your case. The details of your case also have a significant bearing on whether or not your injury qualifies for benefits, as well as the amount of payment you could collect.

    For example, could you be owed compensation if you were:

    • On the ship, but off-duty? Probably. It’s difficult to ever really be off-duty at sea, since you are always on board the ship and therefore always at work. Under the Jones Act, any injury related to work or the work environment qualifies the victim for maintenance and cure benefits at the very least.
    • Hurt by a dangerous condition on the vessel? Possibly. Jones Act seamen have the right to file an unseaworthiness claim if they are injured due to unsafe conditions on the ship. Workers who are not considered seamen may still be able to file an injury claim for a shipowner’s negligence under general maritime law or the LHWCA.
    • Away from the vessel? Maybe. Both general maritime law and the Jones Act agree that a worker who is injured or becomes ill during the course and scope of employment shall qualify for compensation. If you were performing an action that directly benefitted your employer, you are likely to be owed compensation—even if you were on land, on a different vessel, or on the dock when the injury occurred.

    If you are a maritime worker who is coping with the effects of an injury, our attorneys can determine who may be liable for your accident and what you are owed under the law. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY 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.

     

  • What damages can I recover for injuries suffered in the collision between the ACX Crystal and USS Fitzgerald?

    Our maritime injury attorneys have spent over 40 years fighting for the rights of injured maritime employees nationwide, and are dedicated to helping U.S. Navy service members who were hurt in the 2017 collision with the ACX Crystal. If you or someone you know was aboard the USS Fitzgerald when the incident occurred, please call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or complete our online contact form today.

    Types of Damages Available in a Maritime Injury Lawsuit

    Rescue Boat at Work After the USS Fitzgerald and ACX Crystal CollisionAfter a tragedy at sea, federal maritime laws allow injured employees to file a lawsuit against the party whose negligence caused their suffering. In the case of the collision with the ACX Crystal, a pending USS Fitzgerald crew members’ lawsuit aims to hold NYK Line responsible for the unnecessary injuries and suffering caused by the shipping line’s failure to train a competent crew.

    While every case is different, typical damages recovered in maritime injury cases include:

    • Reimbursement for medical bills, including past doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and ongoing treatment to improve quality of life
    • Disability costs for those whose conditions have reached maximum medical improvement but will never fully heal
    • Lost wages suffered in the days and weeks following the collision  
    • Loss of future income for those who have been discharged from the Navy or will be leaving the service early  
    • Emotional injuries such as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Pain and suffering caused by the collision
    • Punitive damages above and beyond the dollar amount of the victims’ losses to compensate the sailors for unseaworthiness or willful or outrageous conduct

    If you are a service member who was aboard the USS Fitzgerald when it was struck, you may be owed a recovery from the shipping line. However, your right to compensation may be lost forever if you do not file your claim within three years from the date of the accident. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or complete our online contact form today to set up your free case evaluation.

     

  • How long do injured sailors from the USS Fitzgerald have to file a lawsuit?

    While several U.S. Navy service members have already filed injury claims in the 2017 USS Fitzgerald collision with the ACX Crystal, many sailors are still attempting to cope with the effects of the incident on their own. Unfortunately, the deadline to file a lawsuit is fast approaching, and these brave service members may soon lose their rights to compensation forever. If you or someone you know was aboard the USS Fitzgerald when the tragedy occurred, please call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or complete our online contact form today.

    There Is a Limited Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against NYK Line

    USS Fitzgerald at SeaFederal laws require that all maritime injury lawsuits be filed within three years of the date of the accident. In the case of the USS Fitzgerald, the deadline to bring a claim is June 17, 2020. However, injured sailors should not wait to speak to an attorney, since it takes some time to complete the steps necessary to file a claim.

    If you have not already sought representation for your injuries in this incident, you must contact our offices by May 30, 2020, so there is time to file the claim.

    Our maritime injury attorneys can:

    • Listen to your story and advise you on your next steps at no cost to you
    • Help you write down everything you remember about the incident and your recovery to ensure you are fully compensated
    • Ensure you are getting the medical help you need for your injuries
    • Prevent you from making mistakes in your case (such as giving a recorded statement or attempting to go back to work)
    • Protect your privacy while your claim is pending
    • Speak to insurers and medical bill collectors on your behalf
    • Wait until your case is successfully settled before we collect any fees from you

    Our law office has been fighting for injured maritime workers nationwide for over 40 years, including Navy personnel suffering from the effects of a deadly collision. If you are a service member who was aboard the USS Fitzgerald when it was struck, call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or complete our online contact form today to set up your free case evaluation.

     

  • Who can be held liable for a failure to comply with OSHA regulations?

    OSHA Safety Process BookWhile it may not be possible to remove all hazards from a construction site, employers and general contractors have a duty to provide reasonable protection against injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a number of safety laws specifically for the construction industry—and a violation of these regulations could form the basis of a construction injury claim.

    Common OSHA Violations That Lead to Construction Injuries

    Employees who are hurt due to an unsafe workplace are not only eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, they may be able to file third-party claims to hold negligent parties responsible for a construction injury.

    Construction workers are often injured as a result of a failure to protect against:

    • Falls. OSHA has strict employer standards for safety when performing work at height, including installation of guard rails and toe-boards on all open-sided platforms, floor hatches, scaffolding, runways, and bridges spanning water or dangerous machinery.
    • Machinery accidents. The heavy machinery present on a construction site is a common cause of fatal injury. The most effective ways to prevent injuries include equipping all machines with guards and emergency shut-offs, and properly training employees on the risks of using each type of equipment. If guards are removed or employees do not receive adequate instruction, the employer may be held liable for medical costs as well as permanent disability and death benefits.
    • Sudden release of energy. Injuries resulting from an unexpected startup or release of stored energy include steam burns from turning a release valve, crush injuries to coworker attempting maintenance, or electrocution from improper wiring.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can fight to get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Who pays for the costs of a construction site fall injury?

    Construction Working on the Ground After an AccidentAfter an injury on the job, construction employees should be covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are cases where workers’ comp may not cover the full costs of an injury. When this happens, employees should speak to an attorney about filing a third-party claim to recoup the full amount of their lost income, medical bills, and permanent disability.

    Compensation Options After a Construction Site Fall

    Falls are the biggest cause of injury and death on New York City construction sites. In fact, falls cause so many injuries that the state has enacted several laws to protect construction workers and give them grounds to take action when a preventable accident occurs.

    After a fall, a construction worker may be able to file an injury claim against:

    • A general contractor. Section 200 of the state labor law allows employees to hold contractors responsible for safety defects that cause injury. This can include failing to secure proper protective equipment, modifying equipment (such as removing railings), or failing to arrange the worksite in a way that reduces the likelihood of falls.
    • A product manufacturer. Workers who are injured by defective equipment (such as poorly-assembled ladders or faulty harnesses) may sue the manufacturer directly.
    • The property owner. New York’s “Scaffold Law” allows injured workers to sue a property owner if a fall resulted from improper precautions during work at height.
    • An employer. If the employer failed to secure proper workers’ compensation insurance, the employee can file a lawsuit directly against the employer for the costs of an injury.
    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • Does maritime law cover my case if I was hurt when my vessel was docked?

    Docked Shipped Where Many Injuries Have OccurredMaritime laws allow compensation for a worker’s medical bills, lost wages, living expenses, and out-of-pocket costs, but determining which law applies to your case can be a difficult process. Seamen, oil rig workers, and harbor employees could potentially be covered under different maritime statutes, each one with its own guidelines and benefit requirements—and these claims become even murkier if a worker has been injured on a docked vessel.

    Dock Injury Compensation Under Maritime Law

    Docks are bustling environments, filled with sailors, harbor workers, passengers, cargo containers, heavy equipment, and vehicles. Since they involve the constant movement of tons of cargo and hundreds of people, it is no wonder that docks and piers are the sites of many severe and fatal injuries for maritime workers.

    Potential compensation for dockside injuries may depend on:

    • Role of the worker. A worker who is assigned to a specific vessel (or spends a significant portion of his or her time on the vessel) may be considered a Jones Act seamen, allowing a victim to collect maintenance and cure benefits.
    • Condition of the vessel. If a seaman or harbor worker is injured due to a dangerous condition on the ship, he or she may be able to make a claim for negligence on the part of the shipowner. A vessel may be deemed unseaworthy due to faulty machinery (such as cranes or lifts used for loading cargo), improper training, inadequate gangways, or any other condition that posed an unreasonably high risk of injury.
    • Nature of the work. Jones Act employees may be able to claim compensation if they were injured on the dock, but were performing an action in service of the vessel, such as unloading or refueling. Likewise, if a harbor worker had been invited aboard a docked ship and suffered a fall onboard, he or she may file a claim against the shipowner for negligence.

    If you were injured on a docked vessel, our injury attorneys can determine who may be liable for your accident and what you are owed under the law. 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.

     

  • Who is responsible when an injury results from improper safety equipment?

    Construction Worker Holding an Orange Hard Hat on a Construction SiteAlthough safety measures prevent hundreds of construction worker deaths every year, some employers still prioritize speed over safety. Employees who are injured due to lax construction site safety are not only eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, they may also have a negligence claim against the site owner, construction manager, contractor, or even the employer.

    Liability for Injuries Due to Faulty Construction Safety Equipment

    The first thing an employer should do is perform a hazard assessment for the job site and the specific work being performed. For example, if painting or welding is taking place on the facade of a structure, employers are required to install and provide safety harnesses and adequate scaffolding.

    Construction worker injuries can often result from safety violations such as:

    • Failure to provide PPE. Both state and federal laws require construction employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). A 2008 OSHA ruling mandated that employers pay for certain personal protective equipment for all of its workers, including metatarsal foot protection, rubber boots with steel toes, hard hats, hearing protection, non-prescription eye protection (goggles and face shields), welding PPE, all firefighting PPE (helmets, gloves, boots, proximity suits, full gear), and any necessary prescription eyewear inserts or lenses for full-face respirators. If a worker provides his or her own PPE, the employer has a duty to ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the worker from the specific hazards of the workplace.
    • Failure to provide adequate safety equipment. Contractors and employers can be liable when equipment fails or is never issued, but also for their failure to instruct employees on the proper use of safety equipment, failing to ensure compliance in wearing PPE and following safety measures at all times, failing to ensure attendance for safety training sessions, failing to inspect safety equipment regularly, and failing to repair or replace any safety measure that has been reported as faulty.
    • Unsafe working conditions. Site owners may be held partially responsible for allowing an unsafe work environment to continue operating, especially if the owner has a degree of influence of control over the work being performed. Common oversights such as a lack of emergency first aid kits or the required number of fire alarms or extinguishers can lead to code violations and potential liability in an injury case.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can fight to get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • I live in New York, but I was hurt off the coast of a different state. Can you represent me?

    Map of the United StatesOur maritime law offices are based in New York City, but we can fight for clients injured in New Jersey, off the Eastern Seaboard, or even halfway around the world. Our knowledge of federal and state injury proceedings allows us to recover the highest amount of compensation possible for medical bills, lost wages, living expenses, and out-of-pocket costs.

    Benefits of Hiring a Maritime Injury Lawyer Close to Home

    Maritime employees are covered under federal benefit laws. Not only do these workers have access to generous work injury programs, but they also have the freedom to choose the state in which to file an injury claim.

    There are many benefits to filing your maritime injury claim in New York, including:

    • State laws. If you are a resident of New York, some state laws may apply to your case, such as state workers’ compensation and maritime construction injury laws. In addition, there could be a variety of time limits that apply to the filing of your claim, especially if the claim is filed against a state government or municipality.
    • Maximizing compensation. We can investigate the incident and determine who can be held liable under both federal and state laws. For example, state laws give victims the right to file claims against product manufacturers for an injury caused by a faulty piece of equipment, but also allow victims to collect maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act. An injury attorney in the state where you were hurt may only be familiar with that state’s injury statutes, potentially leaving money on the table.
    • Local advantage. A legal team that is close to home relieves many travel-related burdens, especially for victims who are coping with a disability after an accident. We are also familiar with local doctors and hospitals who have experience treating occupational diseases, chemical exposure, slipped discs, and other maritime injuries.

    If you are a New York resident who was hurt at sea, our injury attorneys can determine who may be liable for your accident and what you are owed under the law. 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.