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.

  • Page 1
  • Am I a seaman?

    Are You Considered a Seaman Under the Jones Act?Many injured maritime workers are unsure whether they qualify for “seaman” status under the Jones Act. This is an important issue, since only seamen are qualified to receive benefits under the Jones Act, including maintenance and cure benefits after an injury. While the definition of seaman varies somewhat, there are many factors a court will consider in determining seaman status.

    Am I Considered a Seaman Under the Jones Act?

    Generally speaking, a person who spends the majority of his or her time as a crew member aboard a vessel that floats on navigable waters is considered a seaman. However, each of these requirements should be examined closely to discover whether or not the Jones Act applies. For instance, benefits may or may not be awarded depending on:

    • You. A seaman must spend a significant amount of his or her employment contributing to the mission of his or her vessel. In most cases, this will mean spending at least 30 percent of work time aboard the vessel (or on several vessels in a fleet) and the rest of the work time helping to complete the vessel’s mission.

    • Your vessel. While nearly any kind of ship or boat can be considered a vessel under the Jones Act, the vessel must be afloat, capable of moving, and in operation to qualify an employee for benefits. It is important to recognize that a vessel does not actually have to be at sea or even moving for a crew member to be a seaman, but it must be capable of moving under its own power. For example, a ship in a drydock is not capable of moving and is therefore not covered under the Jones Act. Similarly, a newly-constructed vessel that is not yet in commercial operation does not meet the "in navigation" requirement, and is exempt from Jones Act coverage.

    • Your location. The Jones Act only covers employees on vessels that travel on navigable waters. “Navigable” waters are those that are used for interstate or foreign commerce, such as oceans, rivers, and lakes that act as a means of travel between states or countries.

    If you work on the water but not on a vessel in navigation, you may still qualify for compensation under maritime laws. The New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help determine how much you could be owed in benefits. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule your free consultation. 


  • Is a concussion a serious enough injury for me to contact a New York slip and fall lawyer after an accident?

    Concussions, like other types of traumatic brain injuries, are unique. The injury, and the required recovery, may differ from one individual to another. Thus, for some New Yorkers a concussion may be a serious enough injury to require a call to a New York slip and fall attorney, while for others the call may not be as important.

    Generally, you may be able to recover damages for a concussion sustained in a New York or New Jersey slip and fall accident if the property owner’s (or manger’s) negligence caused your injury and you sustained damages as a result. For example, if you were out of work and lost income for several weeks after your concussion, or if you have medical bills to repay after a concussion, then it is important to contact a New York City slip and fall attorney for help getting the damages that you deserve.

    If you have any hesitation about whether or not to call an attorney after a slip and fall concussion injury then we encourage you to call. You have nothing to lose by making the phone call, but you may lose your right to a fair recovery if you wait and do not contact a New York City fall injury attorney.

    For more information about your rights and possible recovery we encourage you to contact us today at 1-800-362-9329 or via our website.

  • What can I expect when I meet with a New York construction accident attorney?

    When construction workers are injured or fall ill on the job, the law offers avenues to obtain the medical care and compensation that will help support their recovery. Many times, however, injured workers never find that resolution because they fail to retain experienced legal representation. There are many reasons why workers hesitate to reach out for legal help. They may not think they are eligible to file a legal claim or worry they cannot afford one, or they are concerned about possible repercussion to their employment. For some, they simply don’t know what to expect, and the fear of the unknown is overwhelming. Here, we offer some useful information about talking or meeting with a construction injury lawyer. Find out what you will discuss, what your responsibilities will be, and more.

    Expect to Discuss Your Situation and Ask All Questions

    As you prepare for your first meeting with a lawyer to discuss your construction accident injury, it is important to know what information you will need to share. You can expect to discuss:

    1. Your accident. We want to know everything that happened to you. We want to know what you noticed at the scene of the accident, who was there, what was said, and how you were hurt.
    2. Your injuries. We want to know what the doctors have told you about your current diagnosis, about your treatment, and about your prognosis.
    3. Your questions. We want to answer all of your questions so that you know what happens next and so that you are not left wondering anything about your possible case. Feel free to ask about the legal process, compensation available, your future job prospects, and anything else that may be worrying you.

    At this meeting, injured workers should be honest and straightforward about their case. Not only is this necessary for preparing the strongest possible case, there is no risk in offering information. Even if you do not decide to move forward with a claim, your discussion is confidential and will remain between you and the attorney.

    Many Attorneys Offer Free, No-Obligation Consultations

    At Hofmann & Schweitzer, our legal team offers injured workers free, no-obligation consultations. You do not have to pay anything to have an initial meeting or phone consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. If you do not think legal representation is right for you after that meeting, you are free to walk away. Additionally, many law firms offer free resources and informational tools to help you learn more about your rights and legal options.

    If you or someone you love has suffered a construction site injury, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Hofmann & Schweitzer to learn more about your rights and find out how we may be able to help. Call our New York office to schedule a consultation and have your questions answered.

  • Can I collect workers compensation if I am injured on the job?

    It depends on your maritime status. Sometimes you are limited to what is called maintenance and cure which governs the worker's right to compensation for his injury under a federal statue called the Jones Act. However, many persons injured working on fishing vessels, floating platforms, barges, etc. and who have received benefits under either state or federal workers compensation programs may still be entitled to recover under the Jones Act for your injuries. It is important that you contact a qualified maritime attorney to discuss your options.

  • Who Will Pay My Damages if I Am Hurt in a New York or New Jersey Railroad Crossing Accident?

    That depends on who is injured and who caused the accident. Assuming that the railroad is liable for the accident, the railroad is legally obligated to pay damages resulting from the accident. If the injured party is a railroad worker, the Federal Employee Liability Act ( FELA) would hold the railroad responsible for damages. Even if the injured party is a train passenger or motorist, the railroad may still be liable for personal injury damages.

    Damages may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.

    For more information about who may be responsible for paying your damages after a New Jersey or New York railroad crossing accident, please contact a New York FELA attorney or a New Jersey railroad lawyer for a free consultation. The railroad injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can be reached at 1-800-362-9329 or via our online contact form.

  • Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?

    Some slip and fall injuries result from a simple case of bad luck for which no one is to blame, but some slip and falls are caused by the negligence of others. If you have been involved in a slip or trip and fall accident in New York or New Jersey, then it is important to know when you may have a potential lawsuit and when you do not.

    Generally, you may be able to recover damages if the reason that you slipped or tripped and fell was because a property owner or manager failed to correct a problem that the owner or manager knew, or should have known, about prior to your accident. Your New Jersey and New York slip and fall injury attorney will look to see if the property owner or manager had a legal duty of care to prevent your injury and whether that duty of care was breached; thus, resulting in injuries from a slip and fall accident.

    It is always important to contact a New York and New Jersey fall injury lawyer after an accident so that your lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you as to whether you have a slip and fall case.

  • Is There Some Kind of Report That Should Be Filled Out if Im Hurt in a New York Slip and Fall Accident?

    Maybe. Unlike motor vehicle accidents, New York slip and fall accidents are typically not reported to the police so there is unlikely to be any official police report of the accident, though it is possible in some cases. Also, if you were hurt on the property of a private residence there is unlikely to be any official report of your accident injuries.

    However, if you fall and get hurt at a New York store or business, then there may be a report of your accident injuries. Some, but not all, stores and businesses have internal policies that require workers to fill out injury reports if anyone is hurt on the property.

    If an accident report exists, then your New York slip and fall attorney will get a copy and review the report. However, the absence of such a report does not mean that you cannot recover damages. Whether or not there is a report, your New York slip and fall lawyer will carefully investigate your potential claim and advise you of your legal rights and possible recovery.

    For more information about your rights after a New York slip and fall, please contact a New York injury lawyer at 1-800-362-9329.

  • Is It Important for Me to Get Medical Care After a New York Fall

    Yes. It is important to see a doctor or to visit the emergency room if you slip or trip and fall in New York. Prompt medical care is important for several reasons.

    First, some injuries are asymptomatic and difficult for an individual to detect immediately following an accident. For example, in some cases it can be difficult to know if you've suffered a traumatic brain injury without medical tests and a proper medical diagnosis. In addition, a fast diagnosis can lead to early treatment and may result in a greater chance of recovery.

    Second, seeking medical care may be very important to your recovery. Not only will the other side want medical proof that you suffered an injury, but they will want to know that you suffered the injury because of the fall.

    If you have been hurt in a New York slip and fall, then it is important to contact a New York slip and fall lawyer after you get the medical care that you need. The experienced New York slip and fall attorneys would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation. Please contact us today at 1-800-362-9329.

  • Can I Recover Damages if I Hurt My Tailbone in a Slip and Fall Accident?

    Yes, you may be able to recover damages if you injure your tailbone in a New York or New Jersey slip and fall accident, or any other type of accident. A tailbone injury (also known as a coccyx injury) can be extremely painful and healing can take some time. If you suffer this type of injury because of someone else’s negligent or intentional act, then you may be entitled to damages.

    Your New Jersey or New York fall injury lawyer will evaluate your case and represent you in settlement negotiations and litigation. If someone else’s failure to exercise reasonable care resulted in your injury, then your lawyer will advocate for your financial recovery which may include compensation for unpaid medical bills, rehabilitation costs, out of pocket expenses (such as household or childcare help necessitated by your injury), lost income and pain and suffering.

    For more information about how to recover damages for a tailbone injury, please contact the experience New Jersey and New York premises liability lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer for a free consultation.

  • How Common Are Drowning Deaths?

    Do I Need a New York Slip and Fall Lawyer if My Child Has Died in a Pool Accident?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accidental drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for the entire population and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 - 14.

    In 2007, there were 3,443 unintentional drowning deaths in the United States - excluding boating related drowning. The majority of these drowning deaths come in the warm summer months.

    According to the CDC, one of the primary reasons for these deaths is lack of supervision in the water or barriers to water. If your child has been hurt, or killed, in a pool on someone else's property, then you may be able to collect legal damages if the accident was caused by the property owner or manager's negligence.

    For more information about your potential recovery and your legal rights please call a New York slip and fall attorney at 1-800-362-9329. An experienced and compassionate New York accident lawyer will talk to you about your potential case and help you decide what steps to take next to protect your rights.

    *Source: CDC, Unintentional Drowning Fact Sheet May 16, 2011