Construction is a dangerous industry, and accidents on the job have been known to cause significant physical and financial losses for workers. Surgeries and medical expenses can quickly add up—and since employees are unable to work, they are usually left without a way to pay for mounting household bills and living expenses. In most cases, payments for these costs are provided one of two ways: by filing a workers’ compensation claim or through a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Accident Victims
The value of your construction injury case varies depending on who is at fault for your accident. If workers’ compensation covers your injury, then you will automatically be eligible for benefits regardless of whether you or your employer caused the injury.
The workers’ compensation system provides the following payments to victims:
- Full coverage of medical care. All necessary medical costs related to the injury should be paid for in full, regardless how long the injury lasts. In order to receive payment, the treating physician must be authorized by the Workers' Compensation Board.
- Partial wage replacement. Workers are paid a portion of their average weekly wage while they are recovering from their injuries.
- Disability benefits. Claimants who are totally or partially disabled can collect up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they are able to resume working. If employees can return to limited work, they may receive payment for the difference in their earning capacity.
- Death benefits. If an employee dies from a compensable injury, surviving spouses and children may receive weekly payments of two-thirds of the deceased worker's average weekly wage.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, claimants may also qualify for supplemental benefits, pharmacy and medical necessity payments, and other state-sponsored benefits. However, for more serious injuries, workers’ compensation payments are often not enough to cover the full extent of the suffering caused by the accident. Unfortunately, no pain and suffering damages are paid through workers’ compensation—and claimants are prohibited from filing an injury lawsuit against an employer who is covered by workers’ compensation.
Injury Damages Available to New York City Construction Workers
On the other hand, if someone other than your employer caused the accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent third party. Third parties on construction sites may include general contractors, subcontractors, or manufacturers of defective equipment. Under the New York Labor Code, land owners can be held liable for fall injuries, making them a common defendant in accident cases involving ladders, roofs, scaffolds, and crane and hoist injuries.
Third-party lawsuits allow for a variety of damages that can be paid in addition to workers' compensation benefits, including:
- Unpaid medical costs. Inured employees may recover the costs of emergency room treatment, physical therapy, surgery, doctor visits, prescription medication, counseling, mental health treatments, other therapies that provide relief, and medical expenses the employee may incur in the future.
- Loss of past and future income. A third party may be responsible for the income and opportunities you have lost, but also the loss of future income and the loss of your ability to earn a sustainable living.
- Disability costs. Many people who need disability payments rely on these benefits as their only source of income. If your injury has caused permanent disability, it is vital that you get as much as possible to compensate you for your loss, including the costs of modifications to your home or long-term nursing care.
- Pain and suffering. In addition to the physical pain and trauma of coping with an injury, employees often suffer emotional distress, the loss of independence, and lost quality of life. A third-party lawsuit allows victims recover pain and suffering damages to compensate them for the full range of their injuries.
The total cost of a construction accident can easily rise into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it is important to carefully consider the amount of any settlement you are offered. Our New York construction injury lawyers can help you calculate your losses and explain your legal options at no cost to you. Simply contact us online or call us directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free initial consultation.