Construction 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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  • How do I report a safety violation on a New York City construction site?

    Unsafe Conditions on NYC Construction SitesThe City of New York allows both employees and members of the public to report safety violations on construction sites. The Department of Buildings responds to issues ranging from excessive noise complaints to failure to install netting to prevent construction fall injuries, while federal agencies may be asked to respond to safety allegations made by construction employees.

    Reporting Unsafe Conditions on New York City Construction Sites

    If you are considering making a complaint, you should know that your decision to do so is protected under the law. Not only can your intervention make the workplace safer, but there are laws in place to prevent an employer from discriminating against you for making a safety complaint.

    If you know of a safety violation on a construction site, you may make a report to the:

    • NYC Department of Buildings online. Workers and members of the public can report NYC building construction problems online if they witness construction projects involving excessive debris, buildings being constructed against approved plans, work without a permit, or construction performed on weekends or on weekdays before 7 AM or after 6 PM.
       
    • NYC Department of Buildings hotline. People are urged to call 311 for immediate reporting of building or construction problems involving unsafe conditions for the construction workers, lack of fencing or netting to protect neighboring properties from the effects of construction, or debris that has fallen or is in danger of falling.
       
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employees have the right to notify the federal government of any safety violations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Workers can file a complaint online or by mail to request an OSHA inspection of their workplace, or if the condition poses an immediate emergency, workers should call 1-800-321-6742. Since OSHA can only issue citations for violations that occurred in the past six months, employees are encouraged to make complaints as soon as possible. If you include your name on the complaint, OSHA will keep your information confidential from your employer.

    If you are facing retaliation after reporting an unsafe condition, the experienced New York City construction injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help. Please contact us online or call us directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • Can I be fired for being a whistleblower?

    Whistleblowers in New York ConstructionIf your construction site has any safety concerns that could cause serious or fatal construction injuries, it is your duty to report these conditions immediately. All workers are given the right to a safe workplace by federal law—and this law also protects workers who report unsafe conditions from retaliation.

    Construction Workers Are Protected When Reporting Safety Violations

    Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act states that employers are forbidden from taking any adverse action against any employee who reports a safety violation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workers also cannot be discriminated against if they request an OSHA inspection, testify in an OSHA proceeding involving the employer, or even for reporting the conditions to their employers.

    Adverse actions do not just include the firing of an employee, but other forms of retaliation such as:

    • Reducing a worker’s pay
    • Giving a worker fewer hours
    • Laying off workers
    • Reassigning a worker to a different site or location
    • Blacklisting an employee
    • Demoting a worker with no other cause
    • Failing to pay overtime
    • Denying an earned promotion
    • Taking disciplinary action
    • Denying rightful benefits
    • Failure to hire or rehire a worker who reported a violation
    • Threatening, intimidating, or otherwise harassing an employee

    Free Info: Maximize Your Recovery After A Construction Accident

    If an employee has been terminated, laid off, or otherwise retaliated against as a result of reporting safety concerns, there are protocols in place for compensation. Firstly, the employee must file a complaint with OSHA describing the adverse action within 30 days of the action. Then, the Department of Labor will perform an investigation into the complaint. If there is a violation, the employer may be charged with labor violations in U.S. district court. Finally, the employer may be ordered to redress the action, including reinstating the employee to full employment with back pay.

    It is important to speak up if you notice safety violations at work, and you should be confident in doing so. If you’ve been hurt on a New York City construction site, the experienced construction injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help you hold the negligent party responsible for your lost income, medical care, permanent disability, and pain and suffering. Please contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule your free initial consultation.

  • Can people under the age of 18 work on New York City construction sites?

    Construction Site Laws and Minors in New YorkNew York has strict rules concerning what workers under the age of 18 may do on construction sites. For instance, minors are prohibited from working or assisting in operations that involve roofing, demolition, excavating, sawing, shearing, and power-driven woodworking and metalworking. They also cannot clean, oil, or adjust belts on construction machinery, be exposed to dust from the manufacture of brick or tile, or perform painting and cleaning on an elevated surface. However, there may be some exceptions to these rules for certain kinds of underage employees in order to help prevent construction accidents.

    Exceptions to NY Construction Site Laws Regarding Minors

    If certain conditions are met, some underage workers may perform the above tasks. For example, these rules may not apply to 16 or 17-year-olds who are:

    • Apprentices. Apprenticeship allows workers to learn a skill or trade through on-the-job training. In order for an underage apprentice to perform any of the usually-prohibited activities, he or she must be in an approved program through the New York State Department of Labor (DOL), have a written contract with the employer, and be under the supervision of an experienced journey worker.

    • Students. Many students opt to learn construction trades through vocational training programs. Students who are completing an educational degree program may perform restricted maneuvers as part of their on-the-job training.

    • Trainees. Workers who have completed courses in an approved on-the-job training program through a public school or a non-profit institution and are at least 16 years old may perform some of the work normally prohibited as long as they have also received DOL-approved safety instruction.

    Even if underage workers can legally perform dangerous work, safety standards must be met at all times to reduce the risk of injury. If you were under 18 years old when you were hurt on construction site you need to speak with an experienced work injury attorney as soon as possible. the New York and New Jersey injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can advise you of your rights. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule your free consultation. 

     

  • How long do I have to file a construction accident case in New York City?

    New York Construction Accident CasesInjured workers have a limited amount of time in which to get payment for an on-the-job injury. The time limits in these cases, known as the statute of limitations, varies depending on who is at fault and how the victim is seeking compensation. If the victim does not file a claim within the timeframe, he can be barred from collecting payment.

    Time Limits on Filing a Construction Accident Case in New York City

    Each state has its own statute of limitations for construction accident lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. Many different factors play a role in how long you have to file a claim for injury compensation. For example, the time limit for filing a claim in New York is different for:

    • Personal injury cases. If you are filing a construction site injury lawsuit against the owner of the property, the general contractor, a subcontractor, or another party, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a negligence claim.
    • Death claims. Construction accident lawsuits involving the death of an employee have a smaller window of time than injury claims. Family members must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident or the date of death to collect compensation.
    • Workers’ compensation. In order to get workers’ compensation, injured employees must report a construction accident injury within 30 days of the accident. Workers who have suffered an occupational illness must notify an employer within two years of the date of diagnosis or the date on which you learned that the disease could be work-related.
    • Cases involving the city or state. If you are filing a case against a state agency, public authority, or other government entity in New York, you must notify the agency of your intentions within 90 days of the accident and file the lawsuit within 1 year and 90 days of the accident.

    Even if you have a year or more to file your claim, it is best to file as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more evidence could be lost or destroyed—weakening your case and lengthening the amount of time you will wait for compensation. You owe it to yourself to speak with the experienced New York and New Jersey injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible. We can examine the details of your claim and send letters to ensure that the evidence in your case is preserved. Please contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule your free consultation. 

     

  • 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:

    1. 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.
    2. Your injuries. We want to know what the doctors have told you about your current diagnosis, about your treatment, and about your prognosis.
    3. 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.

  • 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.