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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  • Are seamen owed benefits for lashing accidents?

    maritime injury attorneyContainer lashing—the process of securing containers together on ships—is one of the most hazardous activities of maritime cargo handling. If done properly, lashing prevents containers from shifting during the voyage, even through rough seas or high winds. If the cargo is poorly lashed, containers may fall overboard, cause ships to lose stability, or cause serious and fatal maritime accidents.

    Causes and Compensation for a Maritime Lashing Injury

    Many types of maritime workers could be involved in lashing and de-lashing operations, including stevedores, longshoremen, and deck crews. Seamen who are injured by unsecured cargo at sea will likely seek payment for maintenance and cure under the Jones Act, while stevedores may file claims under The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

    In addition, injured workers may be able to file a negligence lawsuit if the accident involved:

    • Wrong technique. There are a variety of lashing methods and materials used to secure cargo, and using the wrong one can result in grave injuries. A proper lashing will hold not just in port, but is strong enough to overcome the transverse forces of a ship rolling from side to side. A worker who uses the wrong knots, stretches lashing materials around sharp edges, or performs fewer than the standard number of lashings could be placing the whole ship at risk.
    • Worn or improper equipment. All fixed and loose lashing equipment should be in usable condition, including ropes, wires, webbing, bands, straps, chains, and other tensioning devices. In addition to lashings, all connections and hardware (such as lashing rods, turnbuckles, and twist-locks) should be rust-free and working properly.
    • Inadequate weight distribution. Not only must containers be properly tied down, but they must also be placed with the consideration of the effects of their weight. Top-heavy stacking should be avoided, and dunnage should be used to fill the voids and broken stowage between items of cargo.

    Contact Our Maritime Injury Attorneys Today

    If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, you should contact the qualified maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • Should relatives file a wrongful death or survival action after a construction accident?

    construction accident attorneyFamily members are often at a loss after a fatal construction injury. Everything they have come to rely on—from love and support to financial assistance—has suddenly been taken away. While no amount of money could possibly replace a lost relative, survivors have the right to seek compensation from the person or company responsible for the death.

    Wrongful Death and Survival Actions After NY Construction Accident

    There could be many parties whose negligence resulted in your construction accident, including contractors, employers, site owners, or the makers of a defective product. Under state laws, anyone injured by negligence has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. If someone dies as the result of negligence, their right to file a personal injury lawsuit passes to their estate.

    There are a few different kinds of legal claims families can make after an accidental death, such as:

    • Survival actions. A survival action provides payment for the pain and suffering of the deceased person rather than the losses of the family. A survival action may be needed if your loved one succumbed to an injury several hours or days after the incident, or if the incident was particularly traumatizing and painful before death.
    • Wrongful death lawsuits. Wrongful death cases address the grief and financial losses the family has endured, such as the current and future income their loved one was expected to provide, funeral expenses, outstanding medical bills, and the security the family has lost due to untimely death.

    Depending on the circumstances of your loss, you may be able to file both kinds of claims to ensure your economic losses are reimbursed. If you and your family are owed payment and justice for the death of a construction worker, it is vital that you do not try to recover these damages on your own.

    Contact Our Construction Accident Attorneys Today

    Our New York & New Jersey construction injury lawyers can calculate the full 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.

     

  • Who pays compensation to injured dredging workers?

    maritime accident attorneyDredging is a necessary but highly dangerous form of maritime work. Dredges can be used to pull debris and sediment from the bottom of a waterway, excavate or repair seabeds, even collect plants and shellfish. Unfortunately, the specialized equipment on these vessels combined with the risks of working at sea can lead to serious or fatal maritime accidents.

    Getting Payment for an Injury Involving Dredging Work

    Dredges have a wide range of complex moving parts that need careful maintenance and proper training to prevent injury. If you were involved in an accident on board a dredging ship, you could be owed compensation under:

    • The Jones Act. Dredges used in commercial fishing and harvesting may be considered vessels under the Jones Act. This law may provide maintenance and cure payments if you fell overboard, were struck by a crab pot, became entangled in nets or machinery, or suffered a similar injury at sea.
    • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Some dredges use high-pressure water jets to combat shoreline erosion or make shallow waters deep enough for boats to pass through. A maritime injury near the waterline may be covered by the LHWCA, entitling workers to temporary wage replacement, reimbursement for medical care, and disability payments.
    • Workers’ compensation. New York City is surrounded by waterways that regularly require dredging for commerce, maintenance, and construction. Depending on the specifics of your injury, your claim may fall under state worker’s compensation laws.
    • An injury lawsuit. If the shipowner fell short of its duty of care to workers on the vessel, you may be able to file a negligence lawsuit.

    Contact Our Maritime Accident Attorneys Today

    If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, you should contact the qualified maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

  • Could I have a third-party claim if I suffered an electric shock on a construction site?

    construction accident attorney nycIt depends on who is responsible for your injury. Before you begin a third-party claim, you need to find out why you were hurt and who was responsible for the dangerous condition that caused your electric shock injury.

    How Electric Shocks Happen on Construction Sites

    Electricians and other construction workers are often exposed to electric wires, boxes, and transformers that are in various stages of installation. When electric accidents occur, they frequently happen because:

    • Wiring is not properly grounded yet
    • Wiring is exposed
    • Something falls on wiring
    • Workers come into contact with overhead wires

    Any of these situations can result in a severe injury.

    Third Parties Are Liable for Some Electric Shock Injuries

    If someone other than your employer caused the unsafe condition that led to your electric shock, then you may file a third-party lawsuit. In some cases, the following parties may not employ you but may cause your injury:

    • Contractors
    • Electricians
    • Property owners
    • Wiring and switch manufacturers
    • Equipment manufacturers

    A successful third-party lawsuit may allow you to recover for all of your injuries.

    Get the Recovery You Deserve After an Electric Shock Injury

    Not all electric shocks are the same. The severity of an electric shock injury depends on the voltage exposure, the length of time you were exposed to electricity, your overall health condition, and other factors. Your injuries may include:

    • Loss of consciousness
    • Muscle spasms
    • Numbness and tingling
    • Respiratory issues
    • Headaches
    • Vision and hearing problems
    • Burns
    • Seizures
    • Heart issues
    • Organ damage
    • Compartment syndrome

    Your medical conditions may significantly interfere with your life and continue for a long time. A third-party lawsuit can help you recover for your physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages.

    Contact Our NY & NJ Construction Accident Attorneys Today

    To learn more, please contact our experienced New York City construction accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will help you pursue every possible recovery so that you do not have to suffer a financial loss in addition to your pain and suffering.

     

  • Which injury laws cover oil rig workers?

    NYC maritime attorneysOil rig workers have one of the toughest jobs nationwide, facing hazards as varied as serious falls to hypothermia and drowning. Unfortunately, many oil rig workers, roustabouts, and maintenance employees do not know which agency is responsible for their injury benefits, increasing the chances that they will not get proper compensation for their suffering. The good news is, depending on where you work, your accident costs may be covered by a variety of benefit programs and state and federal injury laws.

    Oil Rig Workers May Be Owed Compensation Under Several Maritime Injury Laws

    One of the first questions you should ask in your maritime accident claim is whether your injury occurred within three miles of shore. If you were working on the continental shelf (such as in the Gulf of Mexico), you may be protected by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). This federal law establishes the U.S. government’s jurisdiction over underwater lands, and could affect your ability to file a claim under:

    • The Jones Act. The OCSLA extends the provisions of the Jones Act to structures connected to the seabed that are within three miles off the coast of any state or U.S. territory. If you were hurt on a permanent or temporary offshore structure, you may be able to collect maintenance and cure payments.
    • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA is a supplementary law created to cover injured maritime workers who do not qualify for Jones Act benefits. Under the LHWCA, you may be entitled to temporary wage replacement, costs of medical treatment, and disability for job-related injuries.
    • State workers’ compensation. If your work occurs within the boundaries of the Outer Continental Shelf, but you were injured on land, your claim may fall under state workers’ compensation.
    • General maritime law. If you or a loved one was injured on a drilling platform, jack-up rig, transport vessel, or helicopter, you may be able to file an injury lawsuit to recover compensation under general maritime law.

    Contact Top NYC Maritime Attorneys

    If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, you should contact the qualified maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • Can I sue a hiring company for causing a construction accident?

    construction attorney near meConstruction employees can work for a variety of employers throughout the course of their careers. Some may work multiple part-time jobs, while others work for a single employer but are occasionally sent out to help another company perform work. In order to ensure workers have fast access to workers’ compensation benefits after a construction injury, New York State relies on the “special employment” rule for borrowed workers.

    The “special employment” doctrine, sometimes called the “borrowed servant” doctrine, says that if you are employed by Company X, but are lent to Company Y and suffer an injury due to Company Y’s negligence, you can’t sue Company Y as long as Company X has provided you with your workers’ compensation benefits. However, there may be situations where you could have a valid claim against Company Y.

    When an Alternate Employer May Be Liable for a NY Construction Injury

    While any third-party company could share liability for worksite injuries, you will need to determine whether the state’s “special employment” doctrine applies. In general, if the third-party company had the same degree of control over your work as your employer, you will likely be considered a “borrowed servant.”

    On the other hand, you may have a claim if your injury was caused by:

    • A negligent temp agency. There could be many different negligent parties working on a construction site at once, including temporary workers employed by a hiring agency. These staffing companies could be liable for inadequate training or failing to perform background checks on their temp workers.
    • A negligent coworker’s employer. If you were injured on Company Y’s worksite by a worker who was sent by a different employer (Company Z), liability could fall on Company Z if they did not have proper indemnity in their contract with Company Y.
    • A negligent subcontractor or construction agency. In order to hold a third party legally responsible in an injury claim, you will still have to show that the negligent person owed you a duty of care, failed to provide an adequate level of care, and that their breach of this duty directly caused your injury.

    Contact Experienced NYC Construction Attorneys

    Our New York construction injury lawyers can calculate the full 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.

     

  • Am I getting the full amount of maintenance and cure?

    Injured seamen rely on their maintenance and cure payments to sustain them during their recovery, so it is vital that their employers pay the full amount owed for these benefits. Employers typically pay medical providers directly for the costs of treatment, relieving the burden of cure. However, employers may not be as faithful when it comes to covering all of a seaman’s maintenance payments.

    You Should Keep an Eye on Your Maintenance Payments

    In the past, maritime employers and insurers were only liable for a minimal amount of maintenance to injured workers. For years, employers could pay as little as $10 per day ($300 Maritime Worker Sitting on the Couch With a Knee Injuryper month), regardless of the seaman’s actual living expenses. Today’s courts have put a stop to this, and require maritime employers to pay for a recovering seaman’s actual household expenses.

    Your employer should issue weekly or bi-weekly maintenance payments to cover your:

    • Housing. Your employer has an obligation to pay for your room and board while you are recovering from a work-related injury at home. This includes rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance.
    • Food. All of the meals you eat during recovery should be covered by an employer. This may include reimbursement for grocery bills and reasonable fast food or restaurant expenses.
    • Utilities. Employers are required to pay the costs of utilities that are necessary for a healthy living environment while you recover. Water, electricity, and gas are considered necessary household expenses, but cable, internet, and telephone services are typically not covered.

    The law requires a maritime employer to make timely and accurate payments for maintenance and cure. If you are still waiting or have been denied benefits for a maritime injury, your employer could be held liable for punitive damages for failing to pay maintenance and cure.

    If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, you should contact the qualified maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today to or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • Should I claim workers' compensation or file a work injury lawsuit?

    Workers' Compensation Computer Screen With Gavel and Scales of JusticeIf you were injured on a job site, one of the first things you should do is file for workers' compensation for your construction injury. As a construction employee in the State of New York, you are guaranteed benefits for your lost wages and medical benefits after you are hurt at work. However, if someone other than the employer caused your injury, you could also be eligible to file an injury lawsuit against the negligent party.

    You May Collect Workers' Compensation While Filing a Work Injury Lawsuit

    State workers' compensation laws only prohibit you from suing an employer after a construction site injury. They do not prevent you from filing suit against third parties, such as a negligent subcontractor or building site owner. It may even be in your best interest to pursue both workers' compensation claims and a third-party lawsuit, as workers' compensation benefits only provide limited payment for employee losses.

    On the other hand, there are many types of damages available in third-party claims, such as:

    • Lost future wages. Workers' compensation offers long-term disability benefits after an injury, but these may fall short of the potential salary you might have earned in your lifetime had your career not been cut short.
    • Emotional distress. A severe physical injury can cause added stress, psychological trauma, and bouts of depression and anxiety about the future. A third party may be compelled to compensate you for your mental and emotional suffering.
    • Pain and suffering. Some injuries are especially heinous, causing continual pain and inconvenience that robs the victim of a normal life. Workers who are unable to do the things they once enjoyed, are unable to have children, cannot live independently, or have lost a loved one may be owed significant compensation as a result.

    Our construction accident attorneys can tell you who could be liable for your pain and suffering and calculate the full 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.

     

  • Could unsafe stairs or ladders qualify as unseaworthiness?

    top NYC maritime attorneysLadders, steps, and gangways cause countless injuries and deaths on the water every year. Since these access points are vital to the operation of a ship, any defective ladders or stairways could make the vessel unseaworthy.

    Global Safety Standards for Stairs and Ladders on Vessels

    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has created a number of safety standards for ladders and steps on a variety of vessels. The IMO specifies guidelines for:

    • Portable ladders. Free-standing portable ladders must not be over 5 meters long, built to be adequate and strong enough for the job, and used at an angle between 60 and 75 degrees from horizontal.
    • Hatches and openings. Ladders that provide access to elevated passageways or vertical openings from the vessel’s bottom must have easily accessible passageways, ladders, or treads. Treads must have lateral support for feet, and permanent ladders must be inclined at an angle of less than 70 degrees to prevent falls.
    • Signage and markings. All ladders and gangways must be clearly marked with the maximum safe loading limit and maximum permitted angle of use. The safe loading limit warning should include both the total of persons the equipment can accommodate and the total maximum weight.
    • Construction. Ladders, steps, and gangways must be made from sound materials with adequate strength to support crew members (such as steel or similar compounds). Ladders and handrails must be secured to decks and superstructures. Any flights of ladders must not be longer than 9 meters in length, and include resting platforms to prevent injury.
    • Caution. Seamen must be trained to use all means of access (such ladders and steps), with care. This includes crew safety training to warn against exceeding weight limits of ladders and gangways or using unsafe means of access.
    • Maintenance. All access equipment must be free from any noticeable defects, properly maintained, and inspected regularly. Ladders, steps, and other means of access must not be painted in a way that hides cracks, corrosion, or other defects.

    A maritime employer who did not follow these guidelines or take action to replace a defective ladder could be found negligent. If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, the maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer can explain your next steps and what you are owed under the law. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today to or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • Do I need a lawyer to file a third-party claim?

    Top NYC construction attorneys

    Compensation in third-party construction injury cases is awarded in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, allowing you to collect full value for your injuries. However, they can be difficult to prove and hard to negotiate in settlement talks, so you should definitely have an attorney on your side.

    Your Lawyer Is Vital in a Third Party Construction Injury Claim

    A third-party claim is a type of lawsuit filed against someone other than an employer whose negligence played a part in your injuries. In construction site accidents, third parties could include general contractors, sub-contractors, equipment operators, property owners, or the manufacturers of defective equipment.

    Our attorneys can be invaluable after a construction site injury when it comes to:

    • Getting you the benefit payments you need to survive. New York provides injured workers with guaranteed benefits under workers’ compensation after a construction site injury. You do not have to file a lawsuit or prove that anyone was negligent in order to collect workers’ compensation. However, you will have to meet certain filing and injury reporting deadlines in order to receive payment. We can ensure that you receive your rightful benefits while you are unable to work after an injury on the job.
    • Explaining your rights and options. New York construction is governed by a mix of federal, state, and local statutes. We can determine your rights under both U.S. and NY Labor Laws to find the best way forward for your case.
    • Discovering who was at fault. Construction sites are bustling workplaces, with the potential for numerous people to be named in third-party cases. In addition, an injured construction worker may even be able to directly sue an employer for a work-related injury in New York if the employer was willfully or recklessly negligent, attacked the employee physically, or failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
    • Negotiating on your behalf. Workers’ compensation may not be enough to adequately compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disability. We can calculate your past and future losses, deal with insurance companies and medical bill collectors, and prevent you from saying or doing anything to hurt your claim.

    Contact Top NYC Construction Accident Attorneys Today

    Our construction accident attorneys 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. 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.