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 Are the Dangers of Working in a New York Shipyard?

    Yes, working in a shipyard is dangerous. While there may be many benefits to the work, including the income you can earn and the rewarding work that you will do, there are also specific dangers you need to know about.

    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the injury accident rate among shipyard workers is more than twice what it is for general industry—including construction.

    What This Means For You

    It does not mean that you should not take the job. Instead, it means that you should make sure that:

    • You are well trained for the work that you are doing.
    • You work for an employer who cares about safety and who provides all the appropriate safety equipment and training to workers.
    • You know what to do if you are injured.

    It is possible to recover from some shipyard injuries.

    But You Have to Know How

    After you see a doctor and have a plan to recover physically, you will likely need to see a lawyer to develop a plan to recover financially. You may have lost a significant amount of income if you are hurt and can’t work, and you may be incurring significant medical bills. However, the law may allow you to recover from your lost income due to your work injury.

    For more information, please read our FREE publication, The Legal Rights Of Injured Seamen, Dockbuilders, Dredgemen And Other Commercial Mariners: Ten Important Questions Answered , and please start an online chat with us now.

  • 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.

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Jones Act Case

    Generally, you have three years from the date of your maritime injury to file a claim pursuant to the Jones Act. However, there are several reasons why it is extremely important that you do not delay in consulting with a New Jersey and New York Jones Act attorney after your accident.

    First, it is important to consult with an attorney quickly because the Jones Act statute of limitations, or the time that you have to file a claim, may be shorter than three years in some cases.

    Second, it is important to consult with a New York and New Jersey Jones Act attorney quickly so that evidence is preserved and your case is as strong as it can be.

    Finally, it is important to consult with a New Jersey and New York Jones Act lawyer quickly so that you can get started on your road to recovery. Often, a maritime employer will not provide the damages to which an injured seaman is entitled until an experienced maritime lawyer requires the employer to do so.

    If you’ve been hurt in a maritime accident, please contact the experienced Jones Act lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer today. We can be reached at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or via our online contact form.

  • What if a Toxic Spill on Your Vessel Leaves You Injured

    Toxic Spill at Sea: How to Protect Your Recovery

    We often think of the devastating environmental impact of a toxic spill at sea, and those environmental issues deserve our attention. However, if you’ve been hurt because of a dangerous chemical or substance spill on your boat then your own concerns are more pressing, immediate, and personal.

    You Need to Know How to Recover

    On board a ship, you could be injured by any of the following toxic substances:

    • Gas, oil, or fuel
    • Batteries
    • Paint, solvents
    • Antifreeze
    • Hazardous waste
    • Other substances

    Regardless of which chemical or substance caused your injury you are going to need a plan to make a prompt recovery. After receiving first aid on your vessel, plans should have been made to get you to shore. Now that you are back on land, it is important to follow your doctors’ orders and to protect your recovery by:

    • Staying out of work as long as is necessary to heal. Do not feel pressured to go back to work before you have medical clearance to do so.
    • Getting the medical treatments you need. Do not let money prevent you from getting the necessary medical treatments.
    • Understanding, and protecting your legal rights. Do not jeopardize your recovery because you don’t know what you can recover. Instead, learn how to protect yourself. You can start by reading our free brochure, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights .

    This won’t be an easy time in your life, but the steps you take now may make your future easier. Accordingly, we encourage you to:

    • Be honest with your doctors. Let them know exactly how you feel so that you can receive proper treatment for your injuries.
    • Watch what you say to your employer or his representative. Anything you say can be used against you and anything you sign may be binding.
    • Take steps to protect your rights. This may include contacting a lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options.

    While your employer may not be on your side, it is important to know that you are not alone. Your family, your doctors, and your maritime injury lawyer will help you so that you can get back to the life you want to live.

  • Recovering Fair Damages After a Lobster Fishing Back Injury

    I hurt my back while working as a commercial lobsterman off the coast of New England. Can I recover damages?

    Yes. You may be able to recover damages if you were hurt doing your job as a commercial lobsterman. The exact damages that you are able to recover will depend on the specific facts of your case.

    Don’t Jeopardize Your Recovery

    While the law may allow you to make a fair recovery for your commercial lobster fishing injuries, there are things that you should do to protect yourself. Specifically, it is important:

    • Not to give a signed or recorded statement—especially if you have not already spoken with a lawyer.
    • To see a doctor. You may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, up to the maximum medical cure, and for your maintenance costs, such as food and housing, while your injuries keep you out of work. However, you will need to establish what those injuries are before you can recover damages.

    Additionally, it is important that you don’t agree to a settlement before talking to a lawyer or go back to work without clearance from your doctor.

    Instead, Protect Your Rights After a Back Injury

    You can protect your potential damages by seeing a doctor, following your doctor’s orders, and by watching what you say (or not saying anything) before you contact a lawyer.

    Your recovery is important. It may help end your pain. It may help get you back to work. Don’t play games with it; instead, learn more about your rights in our free guide for injured maritime workers.

  • Why You Should Call a Lawyer After an Atlantic Fishing Accident Injury

    Maritime law establishes what you may recover after an Atlantic fishing accident, but it does not guarantee your recovery. The law does not guarantee that the parties responsible for paying for your Atlantic fishing accident recovery will do so without being encouraged, or required, to do so.

    A Lawyer Can Make Sure Your Rights are Protected

    You do not want to risk leaving money on the table. If you fail to make a full legal recovery then you could end up in financial trouble when you have high medical expenses and little or no income due to your injuries. You can help prevent this from happening by contacting a maritime lawyer to help you make a fair recovery.

    Those responsible for paying your maritime damages have professionals working for them. Those professionals are hired to protect their rights and to make sure that they don’t pay more than they owe or pay frivolous claims.

    You deserve to have someone looking out for your legal rights and best interests. You deserve to have someone fight to get you the recovery that the law allows.

    Hiring a lawyer will not prevent you from returning to work as a commercial fisherman in the future. Instead, a lawyer will make sure that your rights are protected so that you can recover, to the extent possible, and return to work.

    For more information, please do not hesitate to call us directly at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY and to read our FREE publication, Are You a Seaman injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.