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 are my rights if I am injured as a marine construction worker in the State of New York?

    First of all, your employer is responsible for providing benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) which will provide medical treatment for the injuries you sustained at work and will also provide you with compensation payments during your period of disability. Depending on the part of your body that is injured, you may also be entitled to a lump sum award if you have any permanent injuries.

    Depending on the circumstances which caused your injuries and the type of work you were performing you may also be able to pursue a lawsuit under Section 905(b) of the LHWCA, under the General Maritime Law and/or due to violations of the New York State Labor Law.

    Special Rights Under New York Labor Law Sections 200, 240 AND 241

    Some special laws apply to construction workers in New York. Construction and demolition workers are entitled to recover damages caused by a violation of New York Labor Law sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6). Under section 240, if the equipment required by that law is not provided, or fails, there is strict liability against both the owner of the property, and the contractor(s) on the job site, and you are entitled to compensatory damages caused by the violation. This statute is a strong weapon in your arsenal, so much so that even your own contributory negligence will not reduce your recovery. The safety benefits of this statute cover all workers who are injured by a gravity or elevation-related risk. It dictates that various safety devices must be installed and in good working order during the construction or demolition of any structure to protect you from falling or being struck by a falling object.

    Under New York Labor Law, Section 241, additional rights are provided to the construction worker against the property owner and other contractors if they fail to comply with the law. Labor Law Section 241 Subsections (1) through (5) provide for specific actions to be followed, and equipment to be provided, on the job site. And under Labor Law, Section 241, Subsection (6), owners and contractors are required to comply with various regulations adopted by the New York Department of Labor for the construction workers' protection. Finally, under Section 200, owners, architects and contractors must fulfill common law duties to protect construction workers from injury.

  • Does Maritime Law Apply to Me if I Was Injured While Working in the Harbor?

    Maritime law does apply to harbor workers, though different laws apply to harbor workers than to seamen. The most significant law that applies to harbor workers is called the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

    The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act protects workers who are involved in the maritime industry but who do not work on navigable waters or on the high seas. Harbor workers who are injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their injuries pursuant to this law. Damages can include compensation for 2/3 of your average weekly wage for a number of weeks. The number of weeks depends on the body part that was injured.

    In order to recover disability payments pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, it is important to file your claim in a very specific way. The New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.

  • If My Employer or an Insurance Company Offers Me Money. Do I still need a lawyer?

    If my employer, or an insurance company, offers me money after a New York maritime accident then do I still need to contact a New York maritime injury lawyer?

    A maritime employer, or the employer’s insurer, may offer you a settlement soon after your maritime injury. The settlement may sound good to you – especially if you are out of work and need money quickly to pay your bills and medical expenses. Some of these settlement offers may be made in good faith. However, not all of these maritime accident settlement offers will consist of fair and equitable compensation for your accident injuries.

    In order to know if the offer being made is fair and equitable given the specific injuries that you suffered, it is important to contact an experienced New York Jones Act attorney. A New York Jones Act lawyer not only knows what a fair settlement should be under the law, but will also fight for your personal recovery. Your employer and your employer’s insurer do not have a similar obligation to look out for your best interest. Instead, they may be looking out for their own best interests and that may be to get you to agree to a lower settlement amount.

    You have nothing to lose by contacting a New York maritime injury attorney, but you have a lot to lose by not contacting a lawyer. For more information, please call the experienced maritime injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or 1-800-362-9329. We also encourage you to learn more about your rights and possible recovery in our FREE publication, The Legal Rights of Injured Seamen and Other Commercial Mariners.

  • What to Do After a Brain Injury on an Atlantic Fishing Boat

    What should I do when I am discharged from the hospital after suffering a brain injury on my Atlantic fishing vessel?

    Today may be the day that you have been waiting for. Today may be the day that the doctors are finally going to discharge you from the hospital and let you go home. It is a day to be celebrated, but you will soon realize that your journey toward recovery is still going to require a lot of work.

    What to Do Now

    The very first thing that you should do is celebrate. Today is a good day. It is the day that you are able to return to your family and your home. You deserve to relax and enjoy yourself.

    Tomorrow, however, there will be work to be done. Tomorrow, and in the days, weeks, and months following your return home, you will need to protect your physical recovery and your financial recovery. Specifically, you can:

    • Keep getting the medical care that you need to recover to the maximum extent possible.
    • Follow your doctor’s orders—even when it is hard.
    • Talk to a lawyer about your legal options and how to protect your possible financial recovery. Do not rely on your employer to do this for you.

    These steps may not be easy to take, but with the help and support of your family, doctors, and lawyer, you may be able to recover from the brain injury you suffered on your Atlantic fishing boat.

    Want to Learn More?

    Please read a free copy of our publication, The Legal Rights of Injured Seamen and Other Commercial Mariners, and please contact us directly via this website for a personal consultation.

  • Employer Put Me at Unnecessary Risk on a New York Commercial Fishing Trip. What should I do if I’m hurt?

    I think my employer put me and my crewmates at unnecessary risk on a recent New York commercial fishing trip. What should I do if I’m hurt?

    If you are hurt after a New Jersey or New York commercial fishing trip, then it is important to get the medical care and legal help that you need. An experienced New York Jones Act lawyer can help you make sure that your legal rights and potential recovery are protected.

    Your employer has a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect you and your crewmates from reasonably anticipated dangers. A commercial fishing employer who does not take those precautions may have sent you on a voyage that was unseaworthy. If you are a seaman pursuant to the Jones Act, you may have a legal claim if your employer failed to provide a seaworthy vessel for your voyage.

    In order to protect your rights, it is important to consult a New York Jones Act attorney before trying to negotiate a settlement directly with your employer or your employer’s insurer. We don’t want you to worry about how you are going to pay your bills or get the medical care that you need. Instead, we want to help you get the recovery that deserve.

    For more information, please contact a lawyer at our New York maritime law firm. We can be reached directly at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or 1-800-362-9329. We also encourage you to read our FREE publication, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

  • Who Pays Medical Bills After Commercial Fishing Accident

    I was hurt working on a lobster boat. How can I get my medical bills paid quickly?

    The doctors providing your treatment are going to bill for their services. They understandably want to be paid for the medical care that they have provided you. They may be calling or writing you because you are the patient. However, if you were hurt working on a lobster boat in the North Atlantic then you might not be the one responsible for paying the bills.

    Here’s What You Can Do

    First, it is important to understand that the federal Jones Act may apply to your situation because you are a commercial lobsterman. That means, in part, that your employer is responsible for paying your medical costs, or “cure,” if you are hurt. You should forward any medical bills to your employer (while keeping copies for yourself).

    If your employer fails to pay for the medical care that you received from a qualified doctor or is unwilling to pay your medical bills up until the time that you have reached the maximum medical cure, then it is important for you to consult with an experienced Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible.

    How a Lawyer Can Help

    Generally, a lawyer can make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the recovery you deserve. More specifically, some employers may take your claim more seriously if you have a lawyer representing you and may agree to pay your medical bills. If the employer is unwilling to pay, a lawyer can take legal action to get you the recovery you deserve.

    For more information about protecting your potential recovery, please read our free publication, The Legal Rights Of Injured Seamen, Dockbuilders, Dredgemen And Other Commercial Mariners: Ten Important Questions Answered , and please follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on important news facing injured lobster fishermen and other seamen.

  • What Should I Do Right Now if I Was Hurt in the January 9 2013 Seastreak Ferry Accident

    Your life has likely not gone exactly as you expected if you were hurt in the January 9, 2013 Seastreak Ferry accident at the Wall Street Pier in New York City. It can often be confusing and overwhelming to know what to do next if you have been hurt in such a crash.

    How can you protect your future? How can you take care of your family? How will you recover? These may be just some of the questions going through your mind. You know that the actions that you take next are going to influence the answers to those questions, and you want the steps that you take to be the right ones.

    Fortunately, you do not have to guess what steps you should take during this difficult time. You and your family do not need to bear the burden of going through your recovery alone. Instead, you can contact an experienced doctor and a New York maritime injury attorney for help.

    Together, your doctor and New York maritime injury lawyer will work hard to advise you about what to do step by step. Your doctor, for example, will diagnosis your injury and come up with a treatment plan that will be carefully monitored and changed, as needed. Your New York maritime attorney will advise you of your legal rights, your options, your potential recovery, and the steps that you need to take to safeguard your potential recovery.

    For more information about what to do if you were hurt in a Maritime Accident, please call our New York maritime injury lawyers today at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or 1-800-362-9329.

  • Three Reasons Safety Equipment Can Fail on a Ship

    How can I find out why the safety equipment failed on my ship?

    As a seaman, you have the right to work on a reasonably safe vessel, and your maritime employer has a responsibly to keep the ship in a reasonably safe condition. That includes having properly maintained safety equipment on board the vessel every time you are out on New York Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.

    If the safety equipment on your vessel failed and you were injured then you may have the right to recover damages pursuant to the Jones Act or another federal maritime law. Damages for your injuries may include compensation for maintenance and cure. In other words, you may be entitled to your living expenses while you are unable to work out on the Atlantic Ocean, and you may be able to have your medical expenses paid up until the time that you reach the maximum medical improvement or cure.

    But Why Did the Equipment Fail?

    As part of the investigation into your maritime accident, you and your lawyer may look at why the safety vest, life raft, or other piece of safety equipment failed. For example, you might consider whether:

    • The equipment was appropriately inspected and maintained.
    • There was a defect in the manufacturing of the equipment.
    • You and other crewmembers received appropriate training about how to use the equipment.

    You deserve to have the answers you need after a maritime injury. To learn more about how to get those answers, please read our FREE report, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights , and please contact us via this website.

  • What Happens if You Can't Work After a Construction Injury?

    We understand your concern. Whether you love doing construction work and/or you are financially dependent on your construction income, it can be difficult to think about never going back to a construction site.

    3 Things to Keep in Mind

    If you’ve been injured then it is important to remember three things:

    • First, if you have been recently injured then we urge you to talk to your doctor. You may be able to return to construction work. You may have the opportunity to build another house in Paramus or to work on another development in Newark.
    • Second, you may be able to recover the income you can’t earn. You may be able to recover at least a portion of the income you can’t earn if you are out of work temporarily or permanently. However, you may have to advocate for a fair recovery of lost wages.
    • Finally, you may be able to train for another job that you can do if you are permanently injured. Talk to your family and friends and think hard about your interests in order to find something that suits you well.

    You may or may not be able to get back to the construction site, but either way, your life isn’t over.

    Your Life Will Go On

    Not only will your life go on, but it can continue to be a good life that you want to live. For more information please read our free brochure, "Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone" and please read our case results to find out what other injured construction workers have done after they’ve been hurt.

  • What Can I Do if I've Been Seriously Burned on a New York Construction Site?

    Burns are painful and serious injuries, as you know all too well. It can be hard to imagine that there will ever come a time when you may be able to recover from this type of accident injury. Yet, you can recover, and it is that goal of recovery that should motivate your post-accident actions.

    You have two different primary “recoveries” to be concerned about after a New York construction site burn. The first and most important recovery is your physical recovery. It is important that you get emergency medical treatment, see doctors who specialize in serious burn injuries, and follow-up with the medical treatment and rehabilitation services that those doctors suggest.

    At the same time, you need to protect your financial recovery. You will be out of work as you recover from your injury, and you may be unable to pay your bills or enjoy the same lifestyle that you did when you earned a regular income. A New York construction accident lawyer may be able to help you get the financial relief that you deserve.

    It is important to assemble a team to help you with all of your recoveries. At a minimum, you should have a doctor leading your physical recovery team, and a New York construction attorney leading your financial recovery team. For more information about your legal and possible financial recovery, please contact an experienced New York construction accident attorney today at 1-800-362-9329 and please read our FREE informational brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.