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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  • 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.

     

  • What if I was injured in New York City but live in a different state?

    Two Construction Workers Walking Down a New York City Sidewalk Hofmann & SchweitzerOne of the first things you should do after receiving medical attention for your injury is to file a workers’ compensation claim. This can be done either in the state where the accident occurred, or in the state where you live if you commute to work from outside New York City. However, the state in which you file a workers’ compensation claim can have a huge impact on your construction injury case, so you should not make this decision lightly.

    Benefits of Filing Your Construction Injury Case in New York

    As each state is allowed to create its own workers’ compensation laws, the amount and duration of workers’ compensation benefits can vary widely from state to state. If you live in one state but are injured in another, you can choose which location (called jurisdiction) to file your claim.

    There are many reasons New York City construction workers should consider filing their claims in New York, including:

    Right to sue employer.

    In most states, workers’ compensation claimants are barred from suing an employer under the exclusive remedy doctrine. However, New York laws allow some employers to be sued in work injury lawsuits.

    State labor laws.

    New York State Labor Laws 240, 241, and 200 provide grounds for construction accident victims to sue the general contractor and worksite owner for injuries caused by negligence. These laws can be applied to union and non-union employees, and out-of-state employees, day laborers, and even illegal immigrants.

    Third-party lawsuits.

    If a worker is seriously injured to the negligence of a third party, he or she can file a construction accident lawsuit in addition to collecting workers’ compensation.

    Right to file additional claims.

    Employees can file for workers’ compensation in their home states and in the state where the injury occurred. However, typically one state will pay up to its benefit limits before the other will agree to make up the difference.

    Have You Been Injured While Working On A Construction Site?

    If you've been hurt while working at your construction job you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our New York City law office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.

    You can also read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • When is a construction worker’s car accident considered a work injury?

    A car accident can result in many complications that can keep construction workers off the job for months, including broken bones, traumatic brain injury, joint damage, neck and back injuries, or spinal cord injuries that can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. If you were involved in a crash while in the service of your employer, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for medical costs and lost wages resulting from the accident.

    Construction Worker With an Orange Cone on the Side of the Road Hofmann & Schweitzer.

    Common Causes of Work-Related Car Accidents in the Construction Industry

    Employers will only provide workers’ compensation benefits for vehicle accidents that are “work-related,” but the definition of work-related can vary from workplace to workplace. Although any injury sustained at the work location is often covered, employees also qualify if they are injured during work-related travel or if they are away from the job site in order to do a task that benefits the employer.

    Employees may be able to collect workers’ compensation for a construction motor vehicle crash if they were:

    Hit By A Car While Working 

    If a driver strikes a worker who is standing near the roadway, the injured employee can not only collect workers’ compensation, but may also be entitled to file a lawsuit against the driver for pain and suffering damages.

    Driving A Company Vehicle 

    An employee who is driving a delivery van, truck, bulldozer, or other vehicle may collect compensation when these vehicles are involved in an accident. In addition, the worker may file a third-party lawsuit if the injury was caused by poor vehicle maintenance or defective parts.

    Struck By A Company Vehicle 

    If an employee is struck by a co-worker who is operating a car, truck, dump truck, or other heavy equipment moving in and out of the construction zone, his or her injuries would be covered by workers’ compensation.

    Performing Tasks For An Employer Or Co-Worker 

    Workers may be denied benefits if they are injured when they are “off the clock,” such during lunch breaks or while traveling to and from work. However, there may be an exception for off-the-clock injuries if the injured worker was running errands for an employer, such as picking up coffee and bagels for the whole team before work, or dropping off a package for the employer on a lunch break.

    Traveling Between Sites 

    Employees may be covered if they were asked to drive their own vehicles to pick up additional construction materials, shuttle co-workers to the owner’s other work sites, make work-related deliveries, or bring clients to view a property.

    Have You Been Injured While Working On A Construction Site?

    If you've been hurt while working at your construction job you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our New York City law office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.

    You can also read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • Can I pursue a third-party claim and a workers’ compensation claim?

    Injured Construction Worker on the Ground Hofmann & SchweitzerNew York construction workers should file for workers’ compensation as soon as possible after an injury in order to get payment for their medical bills and lost wages. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited in how much compensation they provide—and the amount received may not cover the full costs of a serious construction accident. In these cases, a third-party claim could provide additional payment for a worker’s pain and suffering, permanent losses, and reduced quality of life.

    Third-Party Injury Cases That May Be Filed After a Construction Accident

    Construction employees can file third-party injury claims while they are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but they should be aware that the two claims are very different. For one thing, employees are required to prove fault in an injury claim in order to receive damages. In addition, the negligent party will have to make a case to refute the charges against him or her, which may involve going to court.

    Common examples of third-party injury cases include:

    Personal injury.

    While construction workers are generally limited in their ability to sue an employer after a work injury in New York, they may be eligible to file an injury lawsuit against the general contractor, subcontractor, or owner of the property.

    Wrongful death.

    In addition to collecting workers’ compensation death benefits, surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent party to recover a construction worker’s medical care related to the fatal accident and permanent loss of income and support.

    Product liability.

    Injuries or deaths involving construction equipment could lead to a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment. A manufacturer may be liable if the equipment was defective, poorly designed, assembled improperly, inadequately tested, or did not warn users of the risks involved.

    One caveat with pursuing a third-party claim is that courts generally do not allow double recoveries for the same injury. Simply put, if your workers’ compensation benefits paid for your medical bills and your third-party settlement includes payment for medical bills, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company may place a lien on the proceeds of your injury case. However, the workers’ compensation insurance company is only entitled to recoup the benefits they have already paid to an injured worker.

    If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can get you the compensation you are owed. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today. We also invite you to read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

     

  • How can I determine whose negligence caused my construction injury?

    Injured Worker on a Construction Site in New York City Hofmann and Schweitzer LawA construction site is a bustling environment, and it can be difficult to tell exactly who could be responsible for the cost of medical bills and lost income when an injury occurs. An attorney can help discover why the accident happened, find the negligent party, and obtain justice and compensation for the victim.

    Who May Be Held Liable in a Construction Injury Case

    The law applies a doctrine of negligence to establish the person or persons who may held liable for an injury. A person may be liable if he or she had a duty of care to the victim, breached that duty of care, and caused direct harm and losses as a result of that breach. However, not all parties owe the same level of care to construction workers, and establishing negligence may quickly become complicated.

    Negligence for an injury or fatality on a NYC construction site could fall on many parties, including:

    Construction Site Owners.

    Construction site owners are more likely to be found negligent if they allow dangerous conditions to exist on the property, or if they are involved in the day-to-day operations of the work. Employees who are gravely injured can also include an employer in a construction injury lawsuit against the owner of the property.

    General Contractors.

    The general contractor is tasked with ensuring the safety of all workers on the construction site, informing construction workers of any potential hazards or unsafe conditions, hiring competent employees, and enforcing safety regulations.

    Subcontractors.

    A subcontractor may be named in a lawsuit if he or she failed to perform safety regulations and duties for a specific task on the project.

    Architects, Engineers, and Designers.

    Design professionals have a responsibility to create plans that are in compliance with building regulations, perform routine inspections on the construction site, and ensure that the building is being erected according to specifications.

    Our New York City construction accident attorneys can examine the details of your case to see which third parties may be responsible, as well as work to get you the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed. Simply fill out our quick online contact form, 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.

     

  • Can I sue my employer for a construction injury?

    New York City Construction Worker on a High BeamUnder workers' compensation laws, an injured employee gives up the right to file an injury lawsuit against a co-worker or employer. Workers' compensation was created as a no-fault system, so it guarantees benefits regardless of who caused the injury. However, New York laws do allow a co-worker or employer to be named in a work injury lawsuit if the employee suffered a particularly serious injury.

    NY Employees Can Sue Employers After a Grave Construction Injury

    New York workers' compensation law contains a special provision allowing employers to be sued after a work accident. An employee who has suffered a "grave injury" can file a third-party lawsuit against a contractor, construction site owner, or other party whose negligence contributed to the injury. The third-party then has the right to bring the employer into the lawsuit to share liability for the injury and damages, adding to the injured worker’s potential recovery.

    An employer may be brought into a work injury lawsuit if the employee suffered one or more of the following:

    • Total and permanent blindness
    • Total and permanent deafness
    • Loss of a nose
    • Loss of an ear
    • Permanent and severe facial disfigurement
    • Loss of an index finger
    • Loss of multiple fingers
    • Loss of multiple toes
    • Permanent and total loss of use (including amputation) of an arm, leg, hand or foot
    • Paraplegia or quadriplegia
    • Injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in permanent total disability
    • Death

    If you were injured while working on a New York City construction site, we can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve and determine whether you may be able to file a third-party claim. Our team will examine who may be to blame for the accident, gather the medical evidence that proves the extent of your injuries, and hire medical experts to determine how your injuries may affect your financial future. Fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a construction injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today.