First of all, your employer is responsible for providing benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) which will provide medical treatment for the injuries you sustained at work and will also provide you with compensation payments during your period of disability. Depending on the part of your body that is injured, you may also be entitled to a lump sum award if you have any permanent injuries.
Depending on the circumstances which caused your injuries and the type of work you were performing you may also be able to pursue a lawsuit under Section 905(b) of the LHWCA, under the General Maritime Law and/or due to violations of the New York State Labor Law.
Special Rights Under New York Labor Law Sections 200, 240 AND 241
Some special laws apply to construction workers in New York. Construction and demolition workers are entitled to recover damages caused by a violation of New York Labor Law sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6). Under section 240, if the equipment required by that law is not provided, or fails, there is strict liability against both the owner of the property, and the contractor(s) on the job site, and you are entitled to compensatory damages caused by the violation. This statute is a strong weapon in your arsenal, so much so that even your own contributory negligence will not reduce your recovery. The safety benefits of this statute cover all workers who are injured by a gravity or elevation-related risk. It dictates that various safety devices must be installed and in good working order during the construction or demolition of any structure to protect you from falling or being struck by a falling object.
Under New York Labor Law, Section 241, additional rights are provided to the construction worker against the property owner and other contractors if they fail to comply with the law. Labor Law Section 241 Subsections (1) through (5) provide for specific actions to be followed, and equipment to be provided, on the job site. And under Labor Law, Section 241, Subsection (6), owners and contractors are required to comply with various regulations adopted by the New York Department of Labor for the construction workers' protection. Finally, under Section 200, owners, architects and contractors must fulfill common law duties to protect construction workers from injury.