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Queens Construction Accident Attorney
There is a lot of construction activity in Queens, and while it is sometimes inconvenient for drivers and passersby, these sites are extremely dangerous for those that work on them. Construction accidents are common, and they result in some of the most serious injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, you have a lot of questions. You may wonder if you should file a workers’ compensation claim or if you can file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party. An experienced Queens construction accident attorney from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can answer these questions and advise you of your legal options.
Dangers on a Construction Site
A construction site is filled with many dangers. Working around an unfinished structure, regardless of whether it is being torn down or being erected, holds many dangers for construction workers. Construction workers must also work around heavy and dangerous equipment, and they are often exposed to toxic chemicals such as lead and asbestos. While all of these hazards pose great risk to construction workers, there are certain types of accidents considered so dangerous they are known as the “Fatal Four.” These types of accidents include:
- Falls, especially falls from a height
- Struck by object accidents, such as when a worker is struck by a tool that fell from above,
- Caught in or between accidents, which involve a worker becoming trapped by objects and equipment
When a construction worker is killed due to one of the above accidents, loved ones can file a wrongful death claim or a claim for death benefits through workers’ compensation.
Common Injuries in a Construction Accident
The risks posed on a construction site are great, and they cause some of the most serious injuries when workers are involved in an accident. The most common injuries in construction accidents include:
- Blunt force trauma from elevated falls or from tools and equipment dropped from a height
- Electrocutions resulting from contact with exposed wires, electrical lines, and equipment
- Impact injuries from colliding with heavy equipment
- Asphyxiation or suffocation from improper air supplies in tight and confined workspaces on a construction site
- Impact injuries from tools, materials, or machines during demolition
Liability After a Construction Accident
Workers on construction sites are under a constant threat of risk, as the tasks they perform on the job are inherently dangerous. Construction workers constantly lift heavy objects, operate large machinery, and perform tasks at elevated heights. Still, contractors and others responsible for the safety of the construction site are responsible for ensuring the risks for workers are minimized.
For example, property owners and employers are responsible for ensuring their workers have proper safety equipment, such as scaffolding. Working on scaffolding is very dangerous, as workers are working at great heights and are at risk for elevated falls and more. Under New York’s scaffolding law, property owners and contractors must provide employees with scaffolding that meets certain requirements, such as safety rails, and that is secured so it does not sway.
When property owners and employers do not meet their responsibility, they can be held liable for an accident. However, there are others that can be held liable, as well.
Architects and engineers can also be found liable for a construction accident if their plans were defective. Even an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) compliance officer can be found liable for a construction accident. If these officers inspected the site and did not attempt to correct dangers or tell contractors or property owners to correct an unsafe condition, they can also be found liable after an accident.
Lastly, a third party may also be found liable after a construction accident. A third party is someone that has no connection with the property owner or employer. For example, if a construction worker is using a piece of defective equipment and becomes injured as a result, they can hold the manufacturer liable.
It is important to determine who is liable for a construction accident. This is the only way an accident victim can know whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim.
Workers’ Compensation Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims
After a construction accident, or any type of workplace accident, workers are generally barred from filing a personal injury claim against their employer. When the injury suffered on the job was part of an employee’s regular scope of duties, they can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ Compensation will provide some benefits, such as the employee’s medical expenses and lost income. Workers’ compensation in New York is a no-fault system, so employees can receive these benefits even if they were partly at fault for the accident that caused their injuries.
In the event that a third party was responsible for the accident that resulted in a construction worker’s injuries, the worker can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Through a personal injury claim, injured construction workers can claim more in compensation than they can through a workers’ compensation claim. When a construction worker is successful with their personal injury claim, they can claim compensation such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages that are not available in workers’ compensation claims.
It is often difficult for construction accident victims to know if they should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim. A construction accident attorney can review your case and determine which type of claim is more appropriate for your case. Sometimes, individuals can file both a workers’ compensation claim and personal injury claim, resulting in injured construction workers receiving even more compensation to help them recover.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, it is critical that you get the sound legal advice you need. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our Queens construction accident attorneys will advise you of your rights after you have been hurt and determine which type of claim is right for your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.