The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge opened in 1955. By the time that Tappan Zee Bridge closed to traffic on October 6, 2017, it had twice the average accident rate per mile as the rest of the 570-mile-long New York Thruway. It was time for a new bridge to cross the Hudson River between Nyack and Tarrytown.
Construction began on the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge in 2013. While most of the construction is now complete, it was a long process that posed many dangers for Tappan Zee construction workers.
Bridge Construction Accidents and Injuries
Bridge construction workers do essential work. The Tappan Zee construction workers faced many risks as they worked to provide the public with a safer way to get across the Hudson River. Some of the accident risks faced by construction workers include:
- Falls from heights
- Slip and falls
- Crane malfunctions
- Struck-by accidents
- Exposure to hazardous materials
- Demolition of the old bridge
These accidents could result in injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Head or brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
Lack of compliance with federal or state regulations, failure to appropriately train workers, and other factors can make bridge construction accidents more likely.
New York Construction Law Protects Tappan Zee Bridge Workers
New York construction laws protect all construction workers, including Tappan Zee construction workers. Injured construction workers may either recover workers’ compensation benefits or damages in a third-party negligence lawsuit depending on why they got hurt.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Generally, if you, a co-worker, or your employer were responsible for your accident injuries, then you can recover workers’ compensation benefits. In New York, workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical care. All of your healthcare costs related to your construction accident injury should be covered as long as your doctor is authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
- Wage replacement. You may receive a percentage of your regular wages while you are out of work recovering from your injury.
- Disability benefits. If you are partially or totally disabled, then you may receive a percentage of your regular wages while you are out of work or if you return to work at a lower paying job than you had before you were hurt.
- Death benefits. A surviving spouse and children may receive weekly payments that represent a percentage of the worker’s regular wages if the worker died in a construction related accident.
Additionally, some injured construction workers will qualify for other state benefits. However, construction workers who only have a workers’ compensation claim cannot recover for their physical pain and emotional suffering.
Third-Party Lawsuit Damages
If your construction accident injuries were not caused by you or your employer, then you may be able to pursue a third-party case. Third parties include landowners, subcontractors, general contractors, equipment manufacturers, or any other party that caused your injury. In a third-party lawsuit, your potential recovery includes past and future:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
Unlike a workers’ compensation case, all of your lost income may be included in your recovery. Additionally, your physical pain and emotional suffering—which may be significant—should be included in your financial recovery.
New York, unlike other states, has special laws that make it easier for injured construction workers to pursue third-party lawsuits. For example, New York Labor Code 240 protects construction workers who suffer fall injuries. Labor Law 240 allows injured construction workers hurt in fall accidents to bring lawsuits against general contractors and to pursue all of the damages allowed in negligence cases rather than the limited benefits allowed in workers’ compensation cases.
Our New York Bridge Construction Lawyers Protect You
If you have been hurt in a Tappan Zee Bridge construction accident, then we want to help you get the full recovery that you deserve. We have already helped an injured Tappan Zee dockworker recover $3.8 million and an injured Tappan Zee crane operator recover $3 million. Your Tappan Zee construction accident injury is unique. Let us provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us today to learn more.