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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  • I was hurt in a recent New York construction accident. Why is my employer all of the sudden calling me an independent contractor? Is this important?

    It is important. The distinction between being an employee and an independent contractor may determine whether or not you are able to recover workers’ compensation damages for the injuries that you sustained in a New York construction accident. Employees are entitled to workers’ compensation if they are hurt on the job, but independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation.

    Your employer may not change the terms of your employment after you are injured. Thus, if you were an employee prior to the accident then your employer cannot now claim that you were an independent contractor at the time that you were injured.

    Whether you actually were an employee or an independent contractor depends on the facts of your employment situation. It is something that an experienced New York construction lawyer will look into while protecting your right to a fair and just recovery after a New York construction injury.

    If you have been hurt then you need to know the truth and you need to fight for your right to recover damages. Please contact a New York construction accident attorney today to learn more. Our lawyers welcome your inquiry via this website or by calling 1-800-362-9329 to set up an initial consultation. We also encourage you to learn more about your rights by reading our FREE informational pamphlet, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • My husband died in a construction accident and his employer says he will take care of me. Should I trust him?

    You should be cautious about trusting him. As sympathetic as the employer may be to your situation if your husband was killed on an Eastchester, Bay Ridge, or other New York City construction site, it is important to remember that you and your husband’s employer have competing interests. Even if you are both grieving your husband’s death, you are making sure that your family is protected financially, and your husband’s former employer is making sure the accident doesn’t cost his company any more than necessary.

    How to Know for Sure if You Can Trust Him

    If there is a way to settle a wrongful death claim after a fatal construction accident then that is certainly something you want do. However, before you can know if it is possible, you need to know more about your legal rights. You need to be able to identify what a fair settlement would be for your loss.

    In order to do that, you need more information. You can begin gathering that information today by reading our free pamphlet, "Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone," and by browsing the free library articles on this website. That will provide you with valuable information about what kinds of damages you may recover, but it will not provide you with a specific number. In order to know what your specific case may be worth, we encourage you to contact us directly via this website or by phone for an initial consultation.

    You can trust us to make sure that you and your family get the recovery you deserve.

  • 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.