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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  • My coworker made a mistake that resulted in my construction accident injury. My coworker is also my friend. I don’t want to get him in trouble, but I need to recover for my injuries. As a construction accident lawyer what do you think I should do?

    The first thing that you should do is to contact our experienced construction accident attorneys so that we can give you all of your options during this difficult time. We understand that your coworker is your friend and that construction sites are dangerous places. We understand that you have been hurt and that while you care about your friendship, you also need to plan for your future.

    In many cases, it will be possible to both keep your friendship and plan for your future. You may be entitled to compensation from the New York or New Jersey workers’ compensation system. These damages will be paid through an insurance company. They will not come out of your friend’s pocket, nor should his wages be affected. Alternatively, if a third party who was not your employer was negligent and that negligence caused your injury, then you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover additional damages that would not be available in a workers’ comp claim.

    For more information, please contact our experienced construction accident attorneys in New York and New Jersey. We can be reached today via our website or by calling 1-800-362-9329. We also invite you to learn more about your rights and possible recovery by reading our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • What if My Husband Won't See a Doctor After a Construction Injury?

    This is the man who would never go to the doctor. It is the man you had to beg to take an over the counter medication to treat a minor injury.

    Now that your husband has been seriously hurt working construction on Staten Island, he may be refusing to go back to the doctor after his initial treatment in the emergency room. You know that he needs ongoing care and that he is suffering, but how are you going to get him to accept that he needs help?

    How to Convince Your Husband to See a Doctor After a New York Construction Injury

    There’s no one size fits all answer, but here are some ideas to get your husband the medical care he needs. It can be very difficult to see your husband suffer and remain out of work when his pain and recovery time could be shortened or eased with medical care. While there is no single solution that works for everyone who has been hurt on a Staten Island construction site, you might consider:

    • Making sure he understands the consequences for himself, for you, and for your family if he fails to continue getting medical care.
    • Finding a construction worker your husband respects who has also been hurt and has sought treatment. Reach out to other construction families you know if you do not yet know someone.
    • Letting someone else try talking to him. Maybe there is a buddy, a clergy member, or someone else who can get through to him.

    Of course, you know your husband best and should consider any ideas you have to get him the important medical care that he needs.

    Let Us Help You Help Your Husband

    We’ve successfully represented injured New York construction workers for many years. We understand that this is a difficult process for many people, and for many families. Please share some of our success stories and videos with your husband so that he has a better idea of what is at stake and can hear firsthand about some other construction workers’ recoveries. And, if we can help you, please reach out to us via this website.

  • Who Investigates New York City Construction Accidents and Why?

    The construction accident that caused your injury has already happened. The damage can’t be undone, but the investigation into why the accident occurred and how it could’ve been prevented may be just beginning. As an injured construction worker it is important to know about the investigation of New York City construction accidents and what the investigations may mean for you.

    Three Possible Sources of New York Construction Accident Investigations

    After your accident injury, the following investigations may take place: 

    • OSHA. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may investigate what happened.
    • The construction company. Your employer, or the construction company responsible for the accident, may conduct an internal investigation or hire an attorney or outside consultant to handle the investigation.
    • Local or state officials. The New York City Department of Buildings, for example, may investigate New York City construction accidents.

    While you may be interested in the outcome of all of these investigations, it is important to remember that none of these investigators are looking out for your best interests.

    Call a New York Construction Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

    You have the right to have your own investigation done after a serious New York City construction accident. You have the right to hire an experienced New York construction accident attorney who will not only investigate the cause of the accident and determine what really happened but who will also advise you of your legal rights and zealously advocate for your full and fair recovery.

    For more information about your rights and about how to protect your possible recovery, we encourage you to contact a New York construction lawyer today via this website or by calling us directly at 800-362-9329. We also invite you to learn more by reading our informational pamphlet, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone, which is available for FREE on our website.

  • Can Railroad Switching Accidents Be Serious?

    While the majority of train and engine workers are not hurt or killed in railroad switching accidents, switching accidents are not uncommon and can be serious. Thus, while we encourage you not to worry, our New York railroad lawyers do have several safety suggestions for your family.


    First, we recommend that your husband ask questions of his employer. He should make sure that all applicable safety regulations and recommendations are being followed including, but not limited to, appropriate training for all employees and mentoring for less experienced employees.

    Second, your husband should understand how to report a potential safety hazard before he, or someone else, is injured or killed in a New York railroad switching accident.

    Finally, we encourage both you and your husband to know how to contact an experienced New York railroad attorney if your husband is injured or killed. The railroad may not be forthcoming about your family’s rights after an accident and may offer a settlement that is too low for the damages suffered. A New York train lawyer can help your family understand what happened and zealously advocate for a full and complete recovery.

    To reach a New York railroad accident lawyer after a switching injury or fatality, please call 1-800-362-9329 or complete our online contact form for more information.

  • 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 premises liability 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.

  • My employer told me that he only has to pay me $8 per day while I am out of work. How can this be true?

    What your employer is talking about is called maintenance. Maintenance is an amount of money sufficient to pay the reasonable cost of food and lodging while a seaman recovers from his illness or injuries. The courts have held that a seaman is entitled to his actual cost of living expenses not a arbitrary amount determined by your employer. However, if there is in place a collectively bargained-for rate of maintenance, as negotiated by the employer and the seafarer's labor union, the CBA rate will be enforced.

  • The forklift operator keeps telling me he didn’t see me before he hit me. Is that a defense after a forklift accident on a construction site?

    What the forklift operator is telling you may or may not be true. However, for purposes of this question and answer we will assume that the forklift operator is telling you the truth. He didn’t see you before you moved the forklift and caused you serious injury.

    That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Recover

    You may be able to recover damages for the injuries you sustained in a construction site forklift accident—even if the forklift operator truly didn’t see you prior to the accident and feels horribly about what happened. Here’s why:

    • Who was at fault may not matter to your workers’ compensation claim. Instead, you may be able to recover benefits regardless of who was at fault.
    • "I didn’t see you" may not be a defense if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit against someone who does not work for your employer. Who was at fault does matter in this type of action. Thus, you and your lawyer will need to consider whether the forklift operator was negligent and whether it was that negligence that prevented the operator from seeing you prior to the accident. If the forklift operator was negligent then you may be able to recover for the damages you suffered in the accident.

    Don’t let the forklift operator’s statement prevent you from getting the recovery that you deserve. Instead, find out the truth about your recovery from someone who is on your side. Read a copy of our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone , today to learn more.

  • Who Should I Submit My Medical Bills to That Resulted From an Injury on the Job?

    Construction workers and Dockbuilders injured while working are entitled to disability benefits administered under either the New York State Workers' Compensation Law or under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, depending where the accident occurred. Doctor and hospital bills are submitted directly to the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. The right to workers' compensation does not require proving someone else was at fault for causing the accident. In that respect, payment of these benefits and your medical bills is "no-fault". If you are injured when not working, you may be entitled to some disability benefits under the New York State Disability Law.

  • What happens when a safety violation is found on a Manhattan construction site?

    What happens next depends on who finds the safety violation and whether anyone was hurt because of it.

    For the moment, let’s consider what happens if a government agency, such as OSHA or the NYC Department of Buildings, finds a safety violation on a Manhattan construction site before an injury occurs. The safety violation may be found as the result of a routine inspection or because a construction worker, or other person, reported the suspected violation to the government.

    In either case, the government may impose fines, require that the safety violation be remedied, and issue a stop-work order on the site. These consequences are designed to both prevent Manhattan construction site accidents and deter construction companies from committing future safety violations.

    Sometimes, safety violations are only found when there is an investigation to find out why a Manhattan construction worker was injured. In these cases, the government may issue the same consequences that were described above. Additionally, the injured construction worker may be able to recover damages from through the New York workers’ compensation system or a personal injury lawsuit.

    Safety regulations exist to protect construction workers and, accordingly, safety violations on Manhattan construction sites must be taken seriously. If you suspect a safety violation on your construction site then we urge you to talk to your supervisor and/or the government to get the situation remedied before someone gets hurt.

    If you’ve already been hurt then we extend our best wishes to you for a full and fast recovery and we encourage you to read our FREE pamphlet, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone, to find out more about what to do next.

  • My husband didn’t die immediately after his commercial fishing injury. How does that affect my family’s rights?

    Sometimes the head injury, spinal cord injury, or other injury suffered on a commercial fishing vessel seriously hurts a fisherman, but it doesn’t kill him right away. Instead, he may suffer for days, weeks, or even months before the injury becomes fatal.

    This situation is often devastating for the surviving family members. You are not only mourning the loss of your loved one, but you also had to watch him suffer.

    It Is Important to Know Your Rights

    Even if your husband didn’t die immediately after the injuries he suffered while fishing for cod, shrimp, or other fish off the Atlantic Coast, your family may still be able to recover damages for his death. The law that applies to your family’s case will depend on a number of factors, including where your husband’s injury occurred.

    However, the outcome may be the same. If you can prove that your husband died as a result of the injury that he suffered at sea then you may be able to recover damages for his death. These damages may be important to your family. The damages may help you maintain your standard of living by compensating you for the income your husband can no longer earn and by paying for his medical bills, funeral costs, and other damages.

    To learn more about what you can do to protect your family’s future during this difficult time, please start an online chat with us today. We would be pleased to give you more information about your rights so that you can make an informed decision about the future.