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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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.
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.
I don’t remember much from the day of my construction accident injury. If I don’t remember, can I still get a recovery? Is there still a reason to contact a construction accident lawyer?
When traumatic events, such as a construction accident, occur it is not unusual for the person who was injured to forget what happened in the accident. Whether or not you retained consciousness, you were understandably preoccupied with your own physical safety and, likely, pain. Your priority was not finding out what caused the accident or remembering details of the accident, but rather protecting yourself.
That does not preclude your recovery. You may be able to recover damages for your New York or New Jersey construction accident injury even if you don’t have a clear memory of what happened at the accident scene. An experienced construction injury lawyer will help you by investigating what happened at the accident scene, advising you of your rights and advocating for your full and fair recovery.
Your recovery may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, out-of-pocket costs, lost income, and pain and suffering. However, you and your New Jersey construction attorney may have to fight hard to get the recovery that you deserve.
To find out more about protecting your rights after a construction accident, please contact our construction accident law firm today via our online contact form or at 1-800-362-9329. We also encourage you to read our publication to learn about your rights and how a construction accident attorney may be able to help. Our publication, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone, is available for FREE on our website.
Does My Employer Have to Provide Me a Hard Hat?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that hard hats be provided to all employees when there is a potential for head injuries due to falling objects. The hard hat must comply with certain requirements defined by either the American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection or the American National Standard for Personnel Protection, or be at least effective as hard hats designed to meet those specifications. Hard hats designed for sports or other purposes do not meet these specific construction hard hat requirements.
In addition to OSHA requirements, local or state governments may also have requirements about when hard hats are necessary and the standards that those construction hard hats must meet to prevent construction head injuries.
If you have suffered a head injury on a construction site, then it is important to contact a New York construction accident attorney as soon as possible after your injury. One of the first questions your New York injury lawyer will ask you is about your hard hat. For more information about how a New York accident attorney may be able to help you, please contact Hofmann & Schweitzer at 1-800-362-9329 or via our online contact form.
How Common Are Construction Trench Accident Fatalities?
Cave-ins and other trenching accidents take the lives of construction workers each year in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 271 people lost their lives in trenching accidents from 2000 – 2006. In the period immediately prior to that from 1992 – 2000, 488 people died in trenching accidents in the United States.
These statistics are important and give us an idea of just how dangerous trenching work can be for construction workers. However, each New York accident attorney at Hofmann & Schweitzer understands that for each person who died in a trenching accident died too soon, and many left behind grieving families.
Who is a Competent Person to Check New York Construction Trenches?
Construction trenches are dangerous places where serious accidents can occur. Accordingly, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that a competent person check trenches at least daily to see if they are safe and if potential accidents can be avoided.
According to OSHA, a competent person is one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards, who can identify unsafe, unsanitary or hazardous conditions for construction workers, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures if a problem is detected. Typically, a competent person must be appropriately trained in trench work and have the backing of the employer to make necessary changes.
Our experienced New York construction lawyers know that trenching is dangerous work, but we also know that most trench accidents are avoidable. If you have been hurt in a New York construction accident, you may be entitled to a potential recovery. Please contact a New York construction attorney today at 1-800-362-9329 to schedule a free consultation, and please read our FREE publication, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You're Not Alone, to learn more about your rights.
Who pays for a construction worker’s injuries after a building collapse in New Jersey?
As a construction worker who has been hurt in a building collapse in Teaneck, Jersey City or on any other New Jersey construction site, you are already paying. You are the one who can’t work; you are the one who can’t enjoy the things you used to enjoy; and you are the one who is experiencing the pain.
You’ve Already Paid Enough
The price of the construction accident that hurt you is already too high. You shouldn’t also have to bear the financial consequences of your injury. You shouldn’t have to pay your medical bills and use your life savings or credit cards to pay your rent or utility bills. You shouldn’t be left homeless by your inability to work.
New Jersey Law May Make Someone Else Pay
If you were hurt while on the job at a New Jersey construction site then someone else may have to pay for the injuries you sustained when the building collapsed. In many cases you will be compensated through workers’ compensation. However, if someone other than your employer or one of your employer’s workers caused the accident then you may be entitled to additional damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
While someone else may be legally responsible for paying for your injuries, the responsible person or insurance company may not pay unless you are assertive and serious about protecting your rights. To find out more about how you can do just that, please read our FREE brochure, "Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone," and please start an online chat with us today.
I refused medical care at the scene of my construction accident, but now I’m in pain. Is it too late for me to get help?
The short answer is no, it is not too late for you to get help. Sometimes medical care is not necessary at the scene of a construction accident. For example, you may not have been in a significant amount of pain at the time the accident occurred, or you may have decided to refuse emergency treatment so that you could see your own doctor.
Regardless of Why You Refused Medical Care, You Should See a Doctor Now if You’re in Pain
The most important reason to seek medical care now is also the most obvious reason: you are hurting and you deserve help. You do not want your injury to worsen, nor do you want to suffer if there is a treatment for your pain. The only way to get a proper diagnosis is to see a doctor now. It is not too late.
It Could Also be Important to Your Legal Recovery
We don’t yet know the specifics of your case. We don’t know if you were hurt yesterday or if you were hurt weeks ago. We don’t know if you’ve gone back to work since the time of your accident. However, if you were hurt while working on the construction of a building, road, or other structure then you may be able to recover damages either through the New York or New Jersey workers’ compensation system or through a personal injury lawsuit.
Today should be the day you begin protecting your rights. Once you get the medical care that you need, we encourage you to begin finding out more about your legal rights by watching our free videos and reading our FREE pamphlet, "Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone."