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 Should I Do if My Construction Employer Won't Listen To My Construction Safety Concerns?

    It can be extremely frustrating to notice safety regulation violations or other concerns, and to have your employer not respond appropriately to those concerns. Nobody on your Williamsburg construction site has been hurt yet, but you are worried that a serious injury could occur if action is not taken soon to fix the problems.

    How to Handle This Tricky Situation

    As an employee you walk a fine line. You want to be safe, and at the same time, you want to keep your job. Accordingly, if your employer is refusing to fix the safety violations that you’ve noticed then you need to take action. You could, for example:

    • Rephrase your concerns in economic terms. Explain that fixing the problem may be less costly than paying for the damage done in an accident.
    • Suggest specific changes. Would training or safety equipment fix the problem? Make specific suggestions to your employer instead of just pointing out the problem.
    • If all else fails, look for other work. Your current job may not be worth the risk to your health or your life.

    The exact steps that you take may depend both on your individual employer and on the risks presented by the safety problems on your Williamsburg construction site.

    What to Do if You’re Hurt

    A serious construction accident can occur at any time. You have the right to recover fair damages for your injuries, regardless of whether or not you noticed the safety problem prior to the accident, and regardless of whether or not your employer took actions to fix it.

    To learn more about protecting your rights, please watch our free videos and read our free brochure, "Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone."

  • Why Death on a Construction Site May Not Be an Accident

    Is accident the right word to use after a person dies on New York construction site?

    There are two ways to look at what happened to a construction worker that was fatally injured on a Glen Cove, Long Beach, or other Long Island construction site. Absent evidence to the contrary, you may believe that nobody intended for the construction worker to die. The actions—or inactions—that led to his death were not deliberate, and because the death was not intentional, it may be described as an accident.

    The Problem With the Word Accident

    The incident may have been unintentional, but it may have also been preventable. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary¸ one definition of accident is "a sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury," but an accident may also be defined as "an event that is not planned or intended: an event that occurs by chance."

    Many construction accidents do not occur by chance. Rather, there are often regulations or easily identifiable things that can be done to prevent serious accidents and resulting fatalities. If these safety regulations had been followed then it is possible that the construction worker would not have died.

    What This Means to Surviving Relatives and Coworkers

    Surviving relatives may be able to recover damages for their incredible loss regardless of whether we call the incident an accident or something else. However, it is important for surviving construction workers to understand that it may have been no accident. The incident and resulting death might not have happened by chance—it may have been preventable.

    If you’ve lost a loved one on a Long Island construction site, then it is important to know more about your rights and your possible recovery. Please fill out our online contact form today to find out more.

  • My hand slipped when I was working with a hand tool on a New York construction site. I am embarrassed about my injury. Should I contact a New York construction accident lawyer?

    If you have been injured on a New York construction site, then it is important to contact a New York construction injury lawyer. This is true even if you believe that your own error caused your injury. An experienced New York construction accident attorney can help you get the recovery that you deserve.

    Construction is a dangerous line of work, and the law recognizes that. Accordingly, even if your hand slips and you technically cause your own injury, you may be entitled to a legal recovery pursuant to New York worker’s compensation laws (assuming, of course, that you did not cause your own injury on purpose). Worker’s compensation may cover your medical expenses and a percentage of your lost income.

    If you are hurt, if you require medical treatment, and if you are losing time from work, then it is important to do what you can to do protect your rights because your employer and/or your employer’s insurer may not be willing to give you what you deserve without legal persuasion. For more information, please contact our New York construction injury law firm at 1-800-362-9329 and please read our FREE book, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • What Kind of Recovery Is My Husband Entitled to if He Suffered a Permanent Traumatic Brain Injury?

    We are sorry to hear that your husband suffered such a serious injury in a New York construction accident. This must be a difficult time, not only for your husband, but also for your entire family as you all learn to live with the permanent impact of his injury and face a different future than the one that you had planned.

    Your husband’s specific recovery is going to depend on a number of factors that include:

    • The impact of his injury on his life. The specific injuries that he may recover may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain, and suffering. The amount of these damages will depend on his unique injuries, the amount of care he needs, whether he is able to work, and other factors.
    • Details of his accident. If your husband’s injury was caused by his own actions, the actions of his coworkers, or the actions (or inactions) of his employer, then your husband may be entitled to a New York workers’ compensation recovery. However, if your husband’s injury was caused by a third party, he may be entitled to personal injury damages.

    For more information, we encourage you, or your husband if he is able, to contact an experienced New York construction lawyer today for more information about a possible recovery. You can reach an experienced New York construction accident attorney via this website or by calling 1-800-362-9329, and you can learn more about your rights by reading our FREE pamphlet, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • My husband fell at his construction job, and he is badly hurt. Should I call a New York construction accident lawyer now or do I need to wait for him to be physically able to make the phone call?

    We are sorry to hear of your husband’s construction fall accident, and we hope that he is able to make a full physical and financial recovery. If your husband is physically unable to contact a New York construction injury lawyer after his fall, then we encourage you to make the call for him.

    A formal case may, or may not, have to wait depending on a number of factors including your husband’s physical condition and whether you have the legal right via power of attorney or other means to start a case. Yet, a phone call to a New York construction injury attorney may be important regardless of whether you can start a formal case. A lawyer may, for example, tell you how to best protect your husband’s rights during this difficult time. It can be difficult to know what to do, particularly at a time when you are worried about your husband’s health and physical recovery. However, the steps that you take now may have an important impact on your husband’s recovery.

    For more information about how to help your family, we encourage you to read our FREE publication, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone, and to contact an experienced and compassionate New York City construction accident lawyer at 1-800-362-9329.

  • Will I Work Again if I am Injured and Make a Claim Against My Maritime Employer?

    Many maritime workers shy away from filing legitimate injury claims when they are hurt in maritime accidents because they are afraid that they will be blacklisted or blackballed in the industry. In other words, they are afraid that nobody will hire them again because they’ve filed a claim.

    It is important to understand that not every maritime employer blacklists or blackballs maritime employees who make legitimate claims. It is often maritime workers who file frequent and frivolous lawsuits who are blacklisted.

    However, if you have a legitimate claim, then you should not only file it with impunity, but you should file it with the expectation that you will recover the damages that you need and deserve.

    For more information about your potential right to damages and how filing a claim may impact your ability to work in the maritime industry in the future, please contact a maritime injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer, 1-800-362-9329 or via our online contact form. Our maritime accident lawyers will give you an honest opinion about whether your maritime injury claim will hurt your chances of working again.

  • I was injured by cables loosened by high winds on a construction site. Can I still recover damages even though the accident was technically caused by an act of God?

    Yes. Your employer and others working on the construction site had no control over the wind; however, they did have control over what work was done in the windy conditions. It was not the wind itself that caused your accident but rather the work that you did in the windy weather that led to your injury.

    Employers Should Know Better

    We may all poke fun at meteorologists, but the reality is that there are many ways a construction employer can reasonably anticipate windy weather and the danger it creates. Specifically, construction employers may:

    • Check the weather
    • Subscribe to the New York City Department of Buildings weather advisories
    • Halt construction at the first sign of dangerous winds

    If the windy weather had been anticipated and work on your job site had been temporarily suspended, you would not have been hurt in a fall, by falling debris, or by downed wires or trees. But you were and you deserve a recovery.

    Making a Claim

    If your employer allowed work on the job site and you were hurt, you may have a workers’ compensation claim. You may be entitled to damages for medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. However, if it was a third party who caused your construction accident injury, you may be able to recover additional damages such as all of your lost income and pain and suffering.

    What you should know now is that you were not the one who caused your accident, and it was not an act of nature or God that was responsible for your injury. Instead, it was the employer or employers who allowed work to continue in dangerous conditions.

  • What kinds of maritime accidents result in Jones Act claims?

    If you have a maritime job and you were hurt at sea then you may be wondering if the Jones Act applies to your potential recovery. The Jones Act does not define specific accidents that are covered by the law. For example, the Jones Act does not say that a seaman who slips on deck and breaks a leg can always recover damages. As a result, if you’ve been hurt at sea, it is up to you to figure out whether the Jones Act applies to your case based on the cause of your injury.

    The Jones Act: General Rules for Recovery

    The Jones Act allows injured seamen to recover damages for injuries that occur because of:

    • The negligence of the employer or another employee
    • A defect or problem with equipment that was caused by the employer

    The injury may occur while the seaman is working or while he is living on the boat.

    Accidents That May Be Covered by the Jones Act

    Some examples of accidents that may be covered by the Jones Act include those caused by:

    • Bad weather that should have been anticipated
    • An assault by another employee
    • Failure to supervise
    • Failure to provide medical assistance promptly
    • Failure to provide appropriate equipment for the job
    • Failure to make sure that equipment is in proper working order

    The injuries that may result include:

    • Broken bones
    • Head or brain injuries
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Muscle, tendon or joint injuries
    • Internal injuries

    Of course these lists are not exhaustive. If you have been hurt and have questions about your potential recovery then it is important to consult an experienced Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible. Please start a live chat with us today to learn more.

  • What Is Considered Pain and Suffering After a Maritime Accident?

    Pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify or even to explain because it is so highly individualized. However, in order to recover financial damages for pain and suffering an injured maritime worker and his New York Jones Act attorney must explain pain and suffering in order to recover damages.

    Generally, physical pain and emotional suffering are considered pain and suffering for maritime law purposes. Often, the testimony of a doctor is critical to a seaman’s recovery of damages. A doctor can testify as to the reasonably anticipated future impact of the injury for the worker and how painful the injury may be. Similarly, the worker and the worker’s family and friends may testify to the emotional suffering experienced by the worker and how the physical pain and limitations expected in the future may continue to contribute to that suffering.

    Pain and suffering damages are important parts of your legal recovery after a maritime accident. Lawyers in New York can help you understand what is considered pain and suffering after your accident and can help you get the recovery you deserve.

    For more information, please contact an experienced New York Jones Act lawyer today at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY (1-800-362-9329), and please read a complimentary copy of our publication: The Legal Rights of Injured Seamen and Other Commercial Mariners which is available for free on our website.

  • What Should I Do to Collect Compensation After a Deckhand Injury

    If you are an injured deckhand then the steps that you take after your accident are very important to your ultimate recovery. There are three things that you should do as soon as you are injured. The first thing that you should do is to seek medical treatment for your injuries. The Jones Act Law does not require you to see a doctor chosen by your employer. You may be treated by any qualified doctor of your choice. Then, you should report your injury to your employer. However, you should not give a recorded statement or sign any papers without the advice of your New Jersey or New York maritime attorney.

    Finally, it is important to consult with an experienced New York and New Jersey Jones Act lawyer who knows how to investigate your case, negotiate with your employer, and pursue damages in court if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached.

    If you are a deckhand who has been hurt in a maritime accident, then you need to protect your right to potential compensation. Call the New York City maritime lawyers at Hofmann & Schweitzer today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY.