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 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.

  • I lost my leg in a construction accident. What is a fair recovery for my injury?

    We are so sorry to hear about your injury and loss. You ask a very important question and we believe that you deserve to know the truth about your possible recovery.

    A fair recovery is going to look different for almost every person who has lost a leg in a New Jersey construction accident. Some of the factors that may influence your possible recovery include:

    • Who was responsible for your accident. If you, a co-worker, or your employer were responsible then your recovery may be through the workers’ compensation system. However, if a third party caused the accident then a personal injury lawsuit may be possible.
    • How much you were earning before the accident. You may be able to recover some, or all, of your earnings.
    • The cost of your medical expenses. Generally, your medical expenses should be recovered.

    Of course, we can’t provide you with an exact number that should be considered a fair recovery for New York or New Jersey construction amputation injuries because each case is unique. Accordingly, we encourage you to learn more about your rights by reading our FREE pamphlet: Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone. You can also call us directly at 800-362-9329 to talk about what your individual compensation may look like. We wish you the best of luck with your recovery.

  • Can I Recover Damages For Injuries on My First Day of Work?

    I was hurt on my very first day working construction in New York City. Can I recover damages for my injuries?

    Yes, your right to recover damages for your construction accident injuries is the same as someone who has been on the job much longer, although the amount that you are able to recover will be unique to your injuries.

    Generally, there are two ways in which you may be able to recover damages for your construction accident injury. Whether you were hurt in a Lower East Side fall, an Upper West Side crane accident, or another type of Manhattan construction accident, you may be able to recover damages through the New York workers’ compensation system or through a personal injury lawsuit. How you proceed will depend on the unique facts of your accident case and the steps you take in the days following your injury.

    What to Do Now

    You may have conflicting feelings about whether to pursue action since you are a new employee. However, you need to know that protecting your legal rights after a construction accident injury should not prevent you from working in the construction industry in the future. Accordingly, you should:

    • Report your injury to your employer.
    • Seek immediate medical attention.
    • Follow your doctor’s orders.
    • Learn more about your legal rights.

    You can get started today by reading a free copy of our brochure, "Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone," and by contacting us directly for an initial consultation about your rights and possible recovery.

  • Do I Have to Be Part of a Union in Order to Recover Damages if I Have Been Injured in a New York Construction Accident?

    No. New York law does not require that you be part of a union in order to recover fair and equitable damages for your New York construction accident injury.

    Union membership decreased in 2011 among private sector construction workers in New York. According to a February 2012 article in Crain’s New York Business, 23.7% of private New York construction workers were part of a union in 2011 compared to 27.5% in 2010. That means that the majority of private construction workers in New York are not members of a union.

    Regardless of union membership, our New York City construction injury lawyers believe that construction workers should be able to recover damages for their injuries. We understand that you are out of work at a time when your bills are continuing to come in and your days are spent going to medical and rehabilitation therapy appointments. We understand that your family is depending on you, and we encourage you to depend on us so that we can help you through this difficult time.

    Our experienced New York construction accident attorneys encourage you to contact us directly via our website or at 1-800-362-9329 for a free consultation – regardless of your union membership. We also encourage you to learn more about your rights and about what to do after a construction injury in our free publication, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • I understood the rules and expectations for handling chemicals on our construction site, but some of the workers didn’t because the information was only presented in English. Is that a problem?

    Yes. That could be a problem. Construction employers should make reasonable efforts to make safety information available in languages and formats that workers understand. The failure to provide that information in the appropriate languages or other formats could result in an accident.

    If you have been injured in a construction chemical accident because other workers did not understand the safety protocols, or for any other reason, then it is important to contact an experienced New Jersey construction injury lawyer as soon as possible.

    Your construction injury attorney will investigate what happened to you and help you recover the damages that you deserve. Damages may include compensation for your past, current and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, and other costs related to your construction accident injury.

    These are not costs that you should have to bear alone. You did not cause the chemical accident to occur. Whether you suffer from an injury such as a burn, an illness such as respiratory distress, or another type of injury or illness, it is important to find out more about your rights and your possible recovery. Please contact our experienced New Jersey construction accident lawyers today at 1-800-362-9329 for more information. We also invite you to download a FREE copy of our publication, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone, so that you can learn more about your rights.

  • The Cause of My Construction Accident Injury is Unique and Unusual. Will That Harm My Recovery?

    Probably not. The unique cause of your Westchester construction accident injury is unlikely to prevent your fair recovery. Many construction accident injuries result from falls and machinery accidents, which are typically more straightforward for a recovery claim. But unique and unusual work accidents are not excluded from workers’ compensation or personal injury claims. When you’re hurt while on the job, you have a right to compensation!

    The Law Applies Evenly

    Fluke accidents happen. Maybe nobody could have predicted that what happened on your construction site would result in an accident or injury. It doesn’t matter. The law allows you to recover damages in a workers’ compensation case if you have been hurt in the course of your employment and possibly through a personal injury lawsuit if a third party (other than you or your employer) was responsible for your injuries.

    Don’t Let the Issues Get Confused

    You don’t want to risk your recovery by letting the strange, unique, or even downright weird cause of your Westchester construction accident get in the way of your fair recovery. Instead, it is important for you to understand your rights and how to protect them.

    To that end, we encourage you to read our FREE brochure: Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone . This report provides insightful information on your rights to recovery. Also, connect with us on Facebook, where we provide helpful tips on matters that concern you the most.

  • 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.

  • 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.