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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  • Are there OSHA regulations to protect construction workers from chemical burns?

    New York Construction Workers and Chemical BurnsMillions of construction employees are at risk of severe or fatal injuries every day across the U.S., including the potential for dangerous exposure to chemicals. Working with paints, primers, adhesives, grouts, waterproofing agents, patching and leveling materials, coatings and sealants, lubricants, and cleaning formulas all place workers at risk of injury, including:

    • Chemical burns. A caustic agent on a worker’s skin can cause a burn that requires grafting and results in permanent scarring.
    • Blindness. Industrial agents can cause temporary or lifelong blindness if they enter a worker’s eye.
    • Respiratory problems. In enclosed areas without proper ventilation, chemicals can push out breathable air and cause asphyxia or lung damage.
    • Fires and explosions. Both the fumes and liquid forms of many industrial solvents are highly flammable, posing a risk of thermal burns or explosion.

    OSHA Regulations Protect Construction Workers From Chemical Burns

    In an effort to control the risks of chemical exposure, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all chemical manufacturers and distributors provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each chemical used on job sites. The SDS must be accessible to all employees, and all employees should be trained on how to use them.

    Information required in Safety Data Sheets include:

    • The properties of each chemical
    • Manufacturer's instructions for the safe handling of the material
    • All physical, health, and environmental hazards of the material
    • Proper protective measures for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical

    OSHA also requires employers to train employees about the risks of each hazardous chemical, have a written spill control plan and provide spill clean-up kits in storage areas, train employees on proper clean-up and disposal of chemical materials, and provide and enforce the use of proper personal protective equipment.

    If you were injured at your construction site by a chemical, there is a good chance your employer could have done more to prevent it. The New York construction accident attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer can examine the facts of your case and get you the maximum amount of compensation you are owed for your medical treatment and the lost ability to earn a living. Contact us online or call us directly at (800) 362-9329 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • Compensation for Cold Stress Injuries on New York City Construction Sites

    Cold Weather Injuries and New York Construction SitesConstruction employees working on roofs, bridges, and high buildings may be painfully aware of the dangers of work at height. However, employees open to the elements are also at risk of an overlooked physical danger—cold. Hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold stress injuries may have temporary effects on construction workers or result in permanent damage, including death.

    Who Is at Fault When New York City Construction Workers Suffer Cold Injuries?

    Due to the changing nature of work environments required in construction, cold injuries are not just a danger in winter—and they do not just happen at height. Many are caused indoors in artificially refrigerated areas, during heavy rains in spring, or due to the handling of cold tools without gloves.

    You may have a construction accident injury claim if your employer did not execute adequate safety measures for working in the cold, such as:

    • Failing to provide proper protection. High winds and low temperatures can cause exposed layers of skin tissue to freeze, resulting in frostbite that could require amputation. Wearing insulated boots and insulated gloves can help prevent frostbite caused by exposure to cold or handling metal tools. Employers should also require head coverings (such as hoods and caps) under hard hats to increase body temperature.
    • Requiring break periods. Workers can suffer cold injuries even at moderate temperatures if they work in them for long periods of time. Employers should consider both the temperature and the length of time spent in the environment, and ensure that workers to take breaks indoors or in heated shelters to warm up between tasks.
    • Accounting for all factors. The temperature is only one factor in determining the risk of hypothermia. High winds can cause a person’s body to lose heat more quickly, and exposure to water (from rain or snow) or damp clothing places a worker at even higher risk.
    • Failing to train employees. Employees should be properly trained on how to work in the cold, how to recognize the signs of hypothermia and frostbite in coworkers, and what actions to take if a worker begins shivering, slurs his speech, or loses coordination.

    If you have suffered an injury on the job, our New York construction accident lawyers can explain your legal options at no cost to you. Simply fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • Is my employer required to provide personal protective equipment if I work on a New York City construction site?

    Personal Protective Equipment and New York Construction WorkersBoth New York state laws and federal regulations require construction employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize their exposure to workplace hazards. Common PPE items include work gloves, hard hats, respirators, safety glasses, earplugs or muffs, and high-visibility vests. Unfortunately, many cases of blindness, occupational disease, and chemical burn injuries from construction have resulted from an employer’s failure to ensure that an employee was protected by proper personal protective equipment.

    Employers Have a Duty to Provide Personal Protective Equipment to Construction Workers

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has clear regulations regarding PPE in the construction industry, as well as the employer’s duty to provide PPE to its workers. OSHA requires that all PPE provided by the employer should be of safe design and construction, should be in a clean and working condition, and should be used for any activity that has an identified risk of injury. In addition, employers are required to train each worker on the use of all PPE—including identifying when each item is necessary, how to properly wear the equipment, and how to maintain and dispose of the equipment. Finally, the employer must pay for required PPE and pay to replace PPE that has been damaged or no longer meets safety standards.

    The only PPE items an employer is not required to pay for include:

    • Normal work boots, safety-toe protective footwear, rubber boots, or street shoes suitable for the job site
    • Everyday clothing that provides required injury protection (such as long-sleeved shirts or long pants)
    • Prescription safety glasses or sunglasses
    • Skin creams, standard sunglasses, sunscreen, or other items used solely for protection from sun damage
    • Everyday weather protection such as winter coats, jackets, parkas, non-work gloves, raincoats, or hats

    It is worth noting that even if an employer is not required to provide certain personal PPE items, the employer is still responsible for assessing the adequacy of each item. For example, an employee who is wearing work boots that fail to protect his toes from a crush injury may be able to hold the employer liable for failing to check the quality of the boots.

    Workers who are hurt on the job due to improper PPE may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you have questions about your accident, the experienced New York City construction accident lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help. Please contact us online or call us directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

  • 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.

  • The forklift operator keeps telling me he didn’t see me before he hit me. Is that a defense after a forklift accident on a construction site?

    What the forklift operator is telling you may or may not be true. However, for purposes of this question and answer we will assume that the forklift operator is telling you the truth. He didn’t see you before you moved the forklift and caused you serious injury.

    That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Recover

    You may be able to recover damages for the injuries you sustained in a construction site forklift accident—even if the forklift operator truly didn’t see you prior to the accident and feels horribly about what happened. Here’s why:

    • Who was at fault may not matter to your workers’ compensation claim. Instead, you may be able to recover benefits regardless of who was at fault.
    • "I didn’t see you" may not be a defense if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit against someone who does not work for your employer. Who was at fault does matter in this type of action. Thus, you and your lawyer will need to consider whether the forklift operator was negligent and whether it was that negligence that prevented the operator from seeing you prior to the accident. If the forklift operator was negligent then you may be able to recover for the damages you suffered in the accident.

    Don’t let the forklift operator’s statement prevent you from getting the recovery that you deserve. Instead, find out the truth about your recovery from someone who is on your side. Read a copy of our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone , today to learn more.

  • Who Should I Submit My Medical Bills to That Resulted From an Injury on the Job?

    Construction workers and Dockbuilders injured while working are entitled to disability benefits administered under either the New York State Workers' Compensation Law or under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, depending where the accident occurred. Doctor and hospital bills are submitted directly to the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. The right to workers' compensation does not require proving someone else was at fault for causing the accident. In that respect, payment of these benefits and your medical bills is "no-fault". If you are injured when not working, you may be entitled to some disability benefits under the New York State Disability Law.