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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  • What are the most common causes of broken bones in construction work?

    Construction Worker With a Broken LegConstruction sites are inherently dangerous places, with workers facing the threat of serious injury every time they enter the job site. A broken bone may seem like a relatively minor injury in the construction industry, but fractures can result in a wide range of consequences for an accident victim. Unfortunately, the majority of construction fracture injuries require medical intervention, cause months or years of recovery, and can even result in death.

    Common Causes of Bone Fractures on Construction Sites

    Like many injuries, a broken bone can cause complications long after the initial injury has healed. Victims may need surgical insertion of pins, plates, or screws to stabilize the bone, causing lifting restrictions or osteoarthritis that can force the employee to leave the construction trade. If you have suffered a significant loss of income due to a bone fracture, you may need the help of a construction injury attorney to get you all that you are owed.

    The most common causes of bone fractures in the construction industry include:

    • Falls. Falls from heights on construction sites are a leading cause of broken bones, including shattered ribs that cause internal bleeding or spinal fractures that cause long-term disability. Even a trip or slip can cause a fracture in the wrist or ankle, requiring time off work and causing limited mobility.
    • Falling objects. Roofing materials, tools, masonry, and other objects can easily fall from upper levels onto workers below, causing skull fractures that require reconstructive surgery, extended rehabilitation, and sometimes future surgeries.
    • Machinery accidents. Unguarded machinery or malfunctioning power tools can result in compound fractures—broken bones that penetrate through the skin and open the body to potential infection.
    • Explosions. A sudden fire or explosion can not only cause multiple fractures, it may be an indication that the construction site was negligently maintained or was in violation of federal or state safety regulations. 

    If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, our experienced attorneys can help you obtain workers’ compensation benefits and determine if you could collect pain and suffering through a third party claim—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Will workers’ compensation pay for PTSD related to a construction injury?

    PTSD Text With Construction ToolsAlthough post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly associated with soldiers in combat situations, the condition can affect anyone who has been in through a traumatic event. An injury on a construction site could have a significant impact on an employee’s mental state, and New York workers’ compensation allows workers to collect benefits for PTSD. However, mental health claims are some of the most difficult claims to prove, and it may take the help of an experienced construction injury attorney to get you the benefits you are owed.

    Construction Workers May Be Owed Compensation for PTSD

    Construction employees with PTSD may need extended time away from work, psychological treatment (including therapy and medications), and cognitive retraining to avoid response to triggering aspects of daily life. The loud noises, sudden shouts and bangs, and other hazards on a construction site may make it impossible for the employee to focus or perform even light-duty work. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide payment for lost wages, coverage of all medical treatment related to the PTSD, and disability benefits for permanent mental health impairment. 

    New York workers’ compensation benefits may cover PTSD:

    • With a physical injury. A worker may suffer PTSD after a serious accident that caused painful or debilitating physical injuries. These employees may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for the cost of the physical injuries, as well as the emotional effects of the trauma that can last for many years after the accident.
    • As a standalone condition. A worker can suffer PTSD without sustaining a physical injury, such as from the trauma of witnessing an accident on the job site. The sight of a fellow worker falling from a building or losing an arm on an unguarded machine could form the basis of a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD.

    If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, our attorneys can help you obtain workers’ compensation benefits and determine if you could collect pain and suffering through a third party claim—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Do I need a lawyer for a construction accident case?

    Construction Worker With an Injured Leg on a Job SiteConstruction site injuries can cause significant complications and limitations for workers. Unfortunately, many employees will be overwhelmed by pain, face pressure to return to work after an injury, and simply do not know their rights after an accident. For these reasons, it is vital that any injured construction worker speaks to an attorney as soon as possible.

    How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Construction Accident Case

    Our construction accident lawyers work hard to get you everything you are entitled to after an injury. We offer free, no-obligation consultations for construction accident victims, allowing you to learn your options and next steps at no cost to you.

    An attorney can be beneficial to you and your family by:

    • Maximizing your benefit payments. If you’ve been hurt on a New York construction site, you are likely owed workers’ compensation for your medical care and wage losses during your recovery. However, you will have to jump through a number of hoops to ensure your benefits are approved and continue until you are able to return to work. We can also determine if you are owed other forms of compensation as we investigate the facts of the claim.
    • Acting on your behalf. Our attorneys can step in if you are facing employer retaliation or intimidation after an injury, deal with insurance companies and medical bill collectors, and prevent you from saying or doing anything to hurt your claim.
    • Investigating negligence. Many construction accidents are caused by unsafe workplaces, defective equipment, or other preventable conditions. We can determine the exact cause of your injury and hold the responsible party liable for your suffering.
    • Calculating and recovering your losses. An injury on the job can result in high medical expenses, lost income, ongoing treatment, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. We carefully consider all of your past and future losses to get you an amount that will fairly compensate you for your accident.

    Contact Our Construction Accident Lawyers If You've Been Hurt At Work

    Our construction injury attorneys will work to get you the compensation you are owed, and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a construction accident lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Can I continue to work in construction after a knee injury?

    Knee Injury Test ResultsWhether your knee was injured suddenly on a job site or worn down by years of repetitive motion, there is no doubt that your ability to earn a living will be affected. The knee is the largest joint in the human body, and any damage to its normal function can impact both your work and home life—even if you are able to resume employment.

    Long-Term Effects of a Construction Knee Injury  

    Construction workers put enormous pressure on their joints every day, relying on them to carry heavy weights and navigate through awkward spaces. Before you return to work after a construction injury, you should be prepared for the long-term consequences of your condition.

    For example, a knee injury can result in:

    • Lost mobility. The knee is vital for the majority of physical actions, including walking, running, crouching, kneeling, sitting, or even standing still. A construction worker’s limited mobility can result in reassignment to easier, lower-paying duties, or force him or her to retire early.
    • Lifting and carrying restrictions. Proper lifting techniques involve using the legs instead of the back. If a worker’s knee is in pain, he risks damaging his back during lifting and carrying, causing a secondary injury.
    • Aggravation of the injury. If you suffer re-injury or aggravation of a previous condition after returning to work, you may be able to receive temporary workers’ compensation benefits for lost workdays related to the injury.

    If your on-the-job knee injury has resulted in chronic pain, arthritis, or forced you to change professions, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for permanent disability. You could also be owed compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if the accident was caused by a third party’s negligence.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can fight to get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Who can be held liable for a failure to comply with OSHA regulations?

    OSHA Safety Process BookWhile it may not be possible to remove all hazards from a construction site, employers and general contractors have a duty to provide reasonable protection against injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a number of safety laws specifically for the construction industry—and a violation of these regulations could form the basis of a construction injury claim.

    Common OSHA Violations That Lead to Construction Injuries

    Employees who are hurt due to an unsafe workplace are not only eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, they may be able to file third-party claims to hold negligent parties responsible for a construction injury.

    Construction workers are often injured as a result of a failure to protect against:

    • Falls. OSHA has strict employer standards for safety when performing work at height, including installation of guard rails and toe-boards on all open-sided platforms, floor hatches, scaffolding, runways, and bridges spanning water or dangerous machinery.
    • Machinery accidents. The heavy machinery present on a construction site is a common cause of fatal injury. The most effective ways to prevent injuries include equipping all machines with guards and emergency shut-offs, and properly training employees on the risks of using each type of equipment. If guards are removed or employees do not receive adequate instruction, the employer may be held liable for medical costs as well as permanent disability and death benefits.
    • Sudden release of energy. Injuries resulting from an unexpected startup or release of stored energy include steam burns from turning a release valve, crush injuries to coworker attempting maintenance, or electrocution from improper wiring.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can fight to get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Who pays for the costs of a construction site fall injury?

    Construction Working on the Ground After an AccidentAfter an injury on the job, construction employees should be covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are cases where workers’ comp may not cover the full costs of an injury. When this happens, employees should speak to an attorney about filing a third-party claim to recoup the full amount of their lost income, medical bills, and permanent disability.

    Compensation Options After a Construction Site Fall

    Falls are the biggest cause of injury and death on New York City construction sites. In fact, falls cause so many injuries that the state has enacted several laws to protect construction workers and give them grounds to take action when a preventable accident occurs.

    After a fall, a construction worker may be able to file an injury claim against:

    • A general contractor. Section 200 of the state labor law allows employees to hold contractors responsible for safety defects that cause injury. This can include failing to secure proper protective equipment, modifying equipment (such as removing railings), or failing to arrange the worksite in a way that reduces the likelihood of falls.
    • A product manufacturer. Workers who are injured by defective equipment (such as poorly-assembled ladders or faulty harnesses) may sue the manufacturer directly.
    • The property owner. New York’s “Scaffold Law” allows injured workers to sue a property owner if a fall resulted from improper precautions during work at height.
    • An employer. If the employer failed to secure proper workers’ compensation insurance, the employee can file a lawsuit directly against the employer for the costs of an injury.
    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

  • Who is responsible when an injury results from improper safety equipment?

    Construction Worker Holding an Orange Hard Hat on a Construction SiteAlthough safety measures prevent hundreds of construction worker deaths every year, some employers still prioritize speed over safety. Employees who are injured due to lax construction site safety are not only eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, they may also have a negligence claim against the site owner, construction manager, contractor, or even the employer.

    Liability for Injuries Due to Faulty Construction Safety Equipment

    The first thing an employer should do is perform a hazard assessment for the job site and the specific work being performed. For example, if painting or welding is taking place on the facade of a structure, employers are required to install and provide safety harnesses and adequate scaffolding.

    Construction worker injuries can often result from safety violations such as:

    • Failure to provide PPE. Both state and federal laws require construction employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). A 2008 OSHA ruling mandated that employers pay for certain personal protective equipment for all of its workers, including metatarsal foot protection, rubber boots with steel toes, hard hats, hearing protection, non-prescription eye protection (goggles and face shields), welding PPE, all firefighting PPE (helmets, gloves, boots, proximity suits, full gear), and any necessary prescription eyewear inserts or lenses for full-face respirators. If a worker provides his or her own PPE, the employer has a duty to ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the worker from the specific hazards of the workplace.
    • Failure to provide adequate safety equipment. Contractors and employers can be liable when equipment fails or is never issued, but also for their failure to instruct employees on the proper use of safety equipment, failing to ensure compliance in wearing PPE and following safety measures at all times, failing to ensure attendance for safety training sessions, failing to inspect safety equipment regularly, and failing to repair or replace any safety measure that has been reported as faulty.
    • Unsafe working conditions. Site owners may be held partially responsible for allowing an unsafe work environment to continue operating, especially if the owner has a degree of influence of control over the work being performed. Common oversights such as a lack of emergency first aid kits or the required number of fire alarms or extinguishers can lead to code violations and potential liability in an injury case.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can fight to get you the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • How can I tell who is responsible for my construction injury?

    Construction Worker With a Hurt HandNew York employees are protected by state workers’ compensation laws, giving them no-fault access to payment for medical bills and lost income after a work injury. Although these benefits are invaluable to people who are struggling after an accident, the amount may not be enough to compensate for the full effects of a construction accident. For this reason, it is important to determine who was responsible for the injury and whether the potential exists for a third-party injury claim. 

    Parties That May Share Liability for a Construction Accident Injury

    There are many benefits to investigating the true cause of a construction injury. First, it allows the dangerous condition on the site to be corrected, preventing future injuries. Second, it can determine whether multiple parties share blame for the accident. Third, it can form the basis of a third-party injury claim, which can provide payment for pain and suffering that is not available through workers’ compensation benefits

    Our attorneys can perform a thorough investigation to identify all potentially liable parties in your construction accident case, including:

    • At-fault drivers. Many construction workers are hurt every year in car accidents as they travel between job sites or run errands for their employers. Victims can file an injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver even when these crashes qualify an employee for workers’ compensation benefits.
    • Contractors and subcontractors. Construction sites are often staffed by management or personnel companies who are not directly associated with an employer. A general contractor, subcontractor, or manager can be named in a lawsuit if he or she did not enforce safety regulations or follow proper procedures for injury prevention.
    • Property owners. Property owners can bear responsibility for an accident if they had control over the site or the work being performed, if they failed to disclose a hazardous condition on the site, or if their negligence led to the employee’s injury.
    • Equipment providers. The manufacturer of construction equipment and materials can be held liable for an injury if the product was poorly-designed, assembled incorrectly, or was not labeled with proper instructions or warnings.
    • Employers and coworkers. Although employees are usually prohibited from suing an employer for a work injury, New York laws do allow a coworker or employer to be named in a work injury lawsuit (along with a third-party) if the construction worker suffered a grave injury.

    If you have been injured in a construction accident, our experienced construction injury attorneys can advise you on your legal options—and we do not charge for our services until after we secure payment for you. We encourage you to contact us directly at 1-800-362-9329 and to read a FREE copy of our pamphlet, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • I am a dockbuilder and was injured on the job. What should I do?

    Dock Worker Before Suffering a Maritime InjuryMaritime work can take place at sea and on shore, and employees injured in maritime construction may be protected under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). However, pursuing these claims can be a long and complex process, and dockbuilders who do not take steps immediately after an injury may be underpaid for their medical costs and income losses.

    Steps to Take Immediately After a Maritime Injury

    If your injury requires emergency care, the first thing you should do is to attend to your immediate medical needs. While you are waiting for an ambulance or for a coworker to drive you to the hospital, take photographs of the injury site with your cell phone—including any witnesses at the scene. This will help you recall the conditions that led to your injury, as well as the names of people present who can be called as witnesses.

    After your injuries have been stabilized, it is vital that you:

    • Report your accident. Your employer must submit an incident report before you can collect benefits, and if you don’t fill it out, somebody else will. If you complete the report, you can record your version of events and ensure that the report is accurate. You should also request a copy of the accident report for your own records.
    • See a doctor. There are many good reasons to follow up with a doctor after a work injury. First, it creates a consistent medical record of your condition from the time of the injury to the present day. Second, it demonstrates that you are a conscientious employee who has done everything that a reasonable person would do after an accident. Third, it is the best way to protect your health and your recovery, since immediate intervention is the most effective treatment for a wide range of injuries.
    • Call the law firm of Hofmann & Schweitzer. If you have suffered from a maritime injury, we encourage you to find out more about your rights to see who may owe you compensation for your recovery. Our attorneys can examine the details of your case and begin working to build a strong injury claim.

    Contact one of our New York and New Jersey maritime accident attorneys today via our online contact form, or call us at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY. For more information on your case, be sure to download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.

     

  • Is the settlement that I am being offered for my New York construction accident injuries fair?

    Injured Worker Talking to His Lawyer After a Construction AccidentOne of the biggest problems construction workers face when accepting a settlement is knowing whether the amount offered is enough to cover all of their losses. Unfortunately, once you accept a settlement, it is likely binding—meaning you won’t be able to recover additional money for the same injuries in the future. For this reason, it is important to know how much of your accident costs will be covered in the settlement offer before accepting it.

    Costs That Should Be Included in a Construction Injury Settlement

    Much like injury costs, settlement offers can vary widely based on the specific facts of each construction accident case. However, there are a few basic costs and losses that should be included in the majority of accident cases.

    Before you accept a settlement, you should consider whether it compensates you for:

    • Past medical expenses. At the very least, a settlement offer should provide payment for all of the medical treatment that you have undergone as a result of the injury. This includes surgery, medications, rehabilitation, and assistive medical devices.
    • Future medical expenses. If your injury is likely to require additional treatment in the future, your settlement should account for this anticipated cost.
    • Lost income. A settlement should cover any lost time from work resulting from the accident. If your injury has resulted in a loss of future income, you may need to provide estimates of the loss to get payment.
    • Disability. Permanent injuries are much harder to qualify than injuries that have fully healed. Disability costs can range from lost future income to pain and suffering and lost enjoyment of life—all factors that are difficult to assign a dollar value.
    • Other damages. Any other losses or out-of-pocket costs resulting from your construction accident injury should be itemized and totaled so that the insurer can include them in the settlement.

    If you have been injured in a construction accident, you don’t have to make this important decision alone. Our experienced construction injury attorneys can help you decide whether or not to accept a settlement, and we do not charge for our services until after we secure payment for you. We encourage you to contact us directly at 1-800-362-9329 and to read a FREE copy of our pamphlet, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.