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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Am I Considered a Seaman?
Many injured maritime workers are unsure whether they qualify for “seaman” status under the Jones Act. This is an important issue, since only seamen are qualified to receive benefits under the Jones Act, including maintenance and cure benefits after an injury. While the definition of seaman varies somewhat, there are many factors a court will consider in determining seaman status.
Am I Considered a Seaman Under the Jones Act?
Generally speaking, a person who spends the majority of his or her time as a crew member aboard a vessel that floats on navigable waters is considered a seaman. However, each of these requirements should be examined closely to discover whether or not the Jones Act applies. For instance, benefits may or may not be awarded depending on:
You. A seaman must spend a significant amount of his or her employment contributing to the mission of his or her vessel. In most cases, this will mean spending at least 30 percent of work time aboard the vessel (or on several vessels in a fleet) and the rest of the work time helping to complete the vessel’s mission.
Your vessel. While nearly any kind of ship or boat can be considered a vessel under the Jones Act, the vessel must be afloat, capable of moving, and in operation to qualify an employee for benefits. It is important to recognize that a vessel does not actually have to be at sea or even moving for a crew member to be a seaman, but it must be capable of moving under its own power. For example, a ship in a drydock is not capable of moving and is therefore not covered under the Jones Act. Similarly, a newly-constructed vessel that is not yet in commercial operation does not meet the "in navigation" requirement, and is exempt from Jones Act coverage.
Your location. The Jones Act only covers employees on vessels that travel on navigable waters. “Navigable” waters are those that are used for interstate or foreign commerce, such as oceans, rivers, and lakes that act as a means of travel between states or countries.
If you work on the water but not on a vessel in navigation, you may still qualify for compensation under maritime laws. The New York and New Jersey maritime lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help determine how much you could be owed in benefits. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule your free consultation.
Is a concussion a serious enough injury for me to contact a New York slip and fall lawyer after an accident?
Concussions, like other types of traumatic brain injuries, are unique. The injury, and the required recovery, may differ from one individual to another. Thus, for some New Yorkers a concussion may be a serious enough injury to require a call to a New York premises liability attorney, while for others the call may not be as important.
Generally, you may be able to recover damages for a concussion sustained in a New York or New Jersey slip and fall accident if the property owner’s (or manger’s) negligence caused your injury and you sustained damages as a result. For example, if you were out of work and lost income for several weeks after your concussion, or if you have medical bills to repay after a concussion, then it is important to contact a New York City slip and fall attorney for help getting the damages that you deserve.
If you have any hesitation about whether or not to call an attorney after a slip and fall concussion injury then we encourage you to call. You have nothing to lose by making the phone call, but you may lose your right to a fair recovery if you wait and do not contact a New York City fall injury attorney.
For more information about your rights and possible recovery we encourage you to contact us today at 1-800-362-9329 or via our online contact form.
What can I expect when I meet with a New York construction accident attorney?
When construction workers are injured or fall ill on the job, the law offers avenues to obtain the medical care and compensation that will help support their recovery. Many times, however, injured workers never find that resolution because they fail to retain experienced legal representation. There are many reasons why workers hesitate to reach out for legal help. They may not think they are eligible to file a legal claim or worry they cannot afford one, or they are concerned about possible repercussion to their employment. For some, they simply don’t know what to expect, and the fear of the unknown is overwhelming. Here, we offer some useful information about talking or meeting with a construction injury lawyer. Find out what you will discuss, what your responsibilities will be, and more.
Expect to Discuss Your Situation and Ask All Questions
As you prepare for your first meeting with a lawyer to discuss your construction accident injury, it is important to know what information you will need to share. You can expect to discuss:
- Your accident. We want to know everything that happened to you. We want to know what you noticed at the scene of the accident, who was there, what was said, and how you were hurt.
- Your injuries. We want to know what the doctors have told you about your current diagnosis, about your treatment, and about your prognosis.
- Your questions. We want to answer all of your questions so that you know what happens next and so that you are not left wondering anything about your possible case. Feel free to ask about the legal process, compensation available, your future job prospects, and anything else that may be worrying you.
At this meeting, injured workers should be honest and straightforward about their case. Not only is this necessary for preparing the strongest possible case, there is no risk in offering information. Even if you do not decide to move forward with a claim, your discussion is confidential and will remain between you and the attorney.
Many Attorneys Offer Free, No-Obligation Consultations
At Hofmann & Schweitzer, our legal team offers injured workers free, no-obligation consultations. You do not have to pay anything to have an initial meeting or phone consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. If you do not think legal representation is right for you after that meeting, you are free to walk away. Additionally, many law firms offer free resources and informational tools to help you learn more about your rights and legal options.
If you or someone you love has suffered a construction site injury, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Hofmann & Schweitzer to learn more about your rights and find out how we may be able to help. Call our New York office to schedule a consultation and have your questions answered.
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.