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.

  • Page 7
  • 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.

  • What is My Maritime Injury Case Worth?

    This is, understandably, one of the first questions that many of our clients ask. Whether they are injured maritime workers or they have lost a loved one in a maritime accident, they have suffered and they want to know whether they will get relief by filing a maritime injury lawsuit.

    As experienced New Jersey and New York maritime injury lawyers who help injured seamen, maritime workers and their families up and down the east coast, we have seen many individuals and families benefit from filing a maritime injury lawsuit.

    While each case is different, many of our clients are able to recover compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, cost of living or lost wages, and other damages.

    We encourage you to find out more about your rights if you’ve suffered from a maritime injury. Contact one of our New York and New Jersey maritime accident attorneys today via our online contact form or at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY and let an experienced maritime injury lawyer provide you with an opinion about how much your maritime injury case is worth.

  • Who Pays Medical Bills After Commercial Fishing Accident

    I was hurt working on a lobster boat. How can I get my medical bills paid quickly?

    The doctors providing your treatment are going to bill for their services. They understandably want to be paid for the medical care that they have provided you. They may be calling or writing you because you are the patient. However, if you were hurt working on a lobster boat in the North Atlantic then you might not be the one responsible for paying the bills.

    Here’s What You Can Do

    First, it is important to understand that the federal Jones Act may apply to your situation because you are a commercial lobsterman. That means, in part, that your employer is responsible for paying your medical costs, or “cure,” if you are hurt. You should forward any medical bills to your employer (while keeping copies for yourself).

    If your employer fails to pay for the medical care that you received from a qualified doctor or is unwilling to pay your medical bills up until the time that you have reached the maximum medical cure, then it is important for you to consult with an experienced Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible.

    How a Lawyer Can Help

    Generally, a lawyer can make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the recovery you deserve. More specifically, some employers may take your claim more seriously if you have a lawyer representing you and may agree to pay your medical bills. If the employer is unwilling to pay, a lawyer can take legal action to get you the recovery you deserve.

    For more information about protecting your potential recovery, please read our free publication, The Legal Rights Of Injured Seamen, Dockbuilders, Dredgemen And Other Commercial Mariners: Ten Important Questions Answered , and please follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on important news facing injured lobster fishermen and other seamen.

  • What Should I Do Right Now if I Was Hurt in the January 9 2013 Seastreak Ferry Accident

    Your life has likely not gone exactly as you expected if you were hurt in the January 9, 2013 Seastreak Ferry accident at the Wall Street Pier in New York City. It can often be confusing and overwhelming to know what to do next if you have been hurt in such a crash.

    How can you protect your future? How can you take care of your family? How will you recover? These may be just some of the questions going through your mind. You know that the actions that you take next are going to influence the answers to those questions, and you want the steps that you take to be the right ones.

    Fortunately, you do not have to guess what steps you should take during this difficult time. You and your family do not need to bear the burden of going through your recovery alone. Instead, you can contact an experienced doctor and a New York maritime injury attorney for help.

    Together, your doctor and New York maritime injury lawyer will work hard to advise you about what to do step by step. Your doctor, for example, will diagnosis your injury and come up with a treatment plan that will be carefully monitored and changed, as needed. Your New York maritime attorney will advise you of your legal rights, your options, your potential recovery, and the steps that you need to take to safeguard your potential recovery.

    For more information about what to do if you were hurt in a Maritime Accident, please call our New York maritime injury lawyers today at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or 1-800-362-9329.

  • Three Reasons Safety Equipment Can Fail on a Ship

    How can I find out why the safety equipment failed on my ship?

    As a seaman, you have the right to work on a reasonably safe vessel, and your maritime employer has a responsibly to keep the ship in a reasonably safe condition. That includes having properly maintained safety equipment on board the vessel every time you are out on New York Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.

    If the safety equipment on your vessel failed and you were injured then you may have the right to recover damages pursuant to the Jones Act or another federal maritime law. Damages for your injuries may include compensation for maintenance and cure. In other words, you may be entitled to your living expenses while you are unable to work out on the Atlantic Ocean, and you may be able to have your medical expenses paid up until the time that you reach the maximum medical improvement or cure.

    But Why Did the Equipment Fail?

    As part of the investigation into your maritime accident, you and your lawyer may look at why the safety vest, life raft, or other piece of safety equipment failed. For example, you might consider whether:

    • The equipment was appropriately inspected and maintained.
    • There was a defect in the manufacturing of the equipment.
    • You and other crewmembers received appropriate training about how to use the equipment.

    You deserve to have the answers you need after a maritime injury. To learn more about how to get those answers, please read our FREE report, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights , and please contact us via this website.

  • 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.

  • 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.