Construction Accident Claims: Everything You Need to Know
Construction is a part of life in New York City. While construction is vital to the growth of the city, it is also one of the most dangerous occupations. Construction workers face a number of risks every day when they go to work and when they are involved in an accident, they sustain some of the most severe injuries. The aftermath of a construction accident is usually very confusing as workers try to recover. If you or a loved one has been injured, below is everything you need to know about construction accident claims.
A personal injury lawyer from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can advise on your case and if you are eligible for a construction accident claim. Contact us today to request a free consultation.
The Duty of Care of Property Owners and General Contractors
Under New York Labor Laws, Section 200, property owners and general contractors are required to ensure construction sites are safe for workers and anyone nearby. The same section of law requires property owners and general contractors to ensure workers have the proper equipment to do their job safely. When property owners or general contractors fail to meet this duty, they will face serious consequences, although injured construction workers usually cannot sue them for this type of negligence.
One specific type of safety law that protects construction workers is the scaffolding law. This law is found in New York Labor Law, Section 240. Under this law, general contractors and property owners must ensure that workers on scaffolding have the appropriate safety equipment. All scaffolding installations must also follow all relevant safety standards, including harnesses, hoists, and safety gear. This safety law largely mirrors the recommendations made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
You Generally Cannot Sue Your Employer
In most instances, you cannot sue your employer if you become hurt on a construction site. Instead, you usually have to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover benefits for your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. While there are exceptions under the law, they are limited. For example, if your employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to file a lawsuit directly against them.
Coverage Provided Under Workers’ Compensation
The majority of construction workers have the right to claim workers’ compensation when they are hurt on the job. Unfortunately, the amount of benefits you can claim are somewhat limited. Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of your medical treatment and two-thirds of the average weekly wage you earned prior to the accident.
Even with the benefits provided by workers’ compensation, you are still limited in what you can receive. For example, while workers’ comp will cover the cost of your medical treatment, you may have to see a doctor chosen by your employer or their insurance company. The amount of weekly wage benefits you receive are also limited by the cap on weekly wages outlined by the law.
Still, even though benefits are limited, you do not have to prove that another person’s negligence caused your accident that resulted in injury. Workers’ compensation in New York is a no-fault system, so you can claim benefits even if you contributed to the accident. Even when claiming workers’ compensation benefits, it is best to work with a lawyer. An attorney can advise on whether you are eligible to sue for additional damages, which can help you recover the full compensation you deserve for your losses.
Third Party Construction Accident Claims
Although claiming workers’ compensation does mean you forfeit the right to sue your employer, it does not mean you do not have the right to sue a third party. A third party in a construction accident claim is someone that has no relation to your employer, and that caused an accident that resulted in your injuries. For example, if you were using a piece of defective equipment and were in an accident that resulted in injury, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer.
There are a number of potentially liable parties in third party construction accident claims. The most common of these include:
- General contractors
- Property owners
- Utility companies
- Third-party vendors
- Government agencies
When filing a third-party construction accident claim, you must prove the other party was negligent, or careless, and that their negligence caused your accident. It is important to note that even if you are collecting workers’ compensation for your injuries, you can still file a claim against a negligent third-party.
Determining Liability After a Construction Accident
You may not know what caused your construction accident, or who was responsible for it. This is one reason it is so important to work with an accident attorney. A lawyer will know how to determine who was liable for your accident, which will include:
- Locating witnesses and taking their statements
- Investigating the accident scene
- Collecting accident reports and analyzing the information within them
- Consulting with specialists, including an accident reconstruction expert
- Gathering safety records from the construction site
- Advising on the safety protocols intended to protect construction workers
The above tasks are often too much for accident victims that are trying to recover from their injuries. A lawyer will dedicate themselves to working on your claim, so you obtain the full compensation you deserve.
Damages Available in Construction Accident Claims
A construction claim can help you recover what you have lost as a result of your accident. The damages you can obtain through a construction accident claim are as follows:
- Current and future medical costs
- Lost wages, employment benefits, and bonuses
- Physical and occupational therapy expenses
- Required modifications to a vehicle or home
- Costs for long-term care
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
When filing a third-party claim, you can obtain much more damages than the benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim.
Get Legal Help Today
The time after any accident is complex, but this is especially true after an accident on a construction site. If you have been hurt, our New York City construction accident lawyers at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can provide the sound legal advice you need. Call us today at 1-877-ASK4SAM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys.