A construction accident can lead to devastating health and financial setbacks. Still, knowing when to file a workers’ compensation claim and contacting a New York construction accident lawyer can mean all the difference. Many workers wait too long and cannot recover their losses.
New York state law requires employees to report an injury within 30 days of the accident to pursue workers’ compensation. After you report the injury, you can decide to file an injury claim up to two years following the incident if you want to recover compensation.
If you are dealing with an injury from a recent work-related accident, contact a law firm for help submitting a personal injury claim.
Should You File a Claim?
Some construction accidents cause significant injuries. However, you can still file a claim if you experienced minor harm.
If any injury requires you to seek medical attention or causes economic losses, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Keep track of your expenses and begin building your claim with a New York construction accident lawyer. Let’s take a look at some of the injuries you may experience while on the job:
Some construction jobs require workers to operate in dangerous environments. The transportation of heavy materials can cause traumatic injuries that could lead to weeks or years of recovery. For example, crush accidents can break bones that cause long-lasting disabilities.
Some examples of traumatic injuries include:
- Penetrative wounds
- Cutting wounds
- Brain damage
- Spinal damage
- Facial trauma
- Electrical injury
- Sound trauma
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be life-altering and require years of treatment. Unfortunately, the symptoms may not always be evident immediately following the accident. Consider these common indications of TBI:
- Trouble speaking
- Mood swings
- Distorted vision
- Memory loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble waking up
- Depression and anxiety
- Mobility problems
If you experience any of these symptoms in the weeks or months after an accident, you still have time to file a workers’ compensation claim. Still, some employers may question the validity of your claim and resist covering your losses if you wait several months. Contact a New York construction accident lawyer as soon as possible to explore your options.
Not all construction injuries lead to debilitating symptoms. However, it is still worth filing a claim as soon as possible.
The minor injuries common in the construction industry include:
- Ankle injuries from trips or slips
- Back injuries that occur from lifting or twisting
- Sickness from workplace fumes
- Skin irritation and bruising
- Muscle strains
- Minor collisions
Those injured on a construction site might ignore filing claims for minor harm because they think it is a waste of time. However, these problems may cause employees to miss work days and lose wages. Filing an early claim may allow them to negotiate for lost wages.
It may seem like you won’t collect much compensation for these injuries. Still, the workers’ compensation board assesses each claim individually. Report the incident, then seek a New York construction accident lawyer who will review the C-3 employee claim form with you in detail.
Federal and State Labor Laws
In 1970, the federal government passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law set the standard for workplace safety and behavior for general contractors. These statutes enable all employees to seek workers’ compensation if a workplace violation causes an injury.
The State of New York also enforces labor laws that protect workers from liability when accidents occur. Let’s explore these codes in greater detail:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces the 1970 law with meticulous detail.
By law, your employer must remove any health or safety hazards from the workplace that needlessly endanger the staff, such as toxic waste. Additionally, OSHA allows employees to voice their concerns about potential workplace hazards without fear of retaliation.
An attorney can help you file a claim quickly if you suspect an OSHA violation facilitated your injury. Common OSHA violations that occur on construction sites include:
- Limited access to reliable fall protection safety equipment (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Use of ladders that do not meet safe weight, height, or portability standards (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Face and eye protection misuse (29 CFR 1926.102)
- Misoperation of industrial machinery (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Disregarding scaffolding law (29 CFR 1926.451)
Other OSHA Considerations
Even if you knew about OSHA violations during your accident, you should still file a claim immediately. During a call, expect the workers’ compensation board to ask questions about OSHA infractions.
Let’s use a ladder accident as an example: The workers’ compensation board may ask you what type of ladder you fell from and the surface you placed it on before the accident.
Try to have a clear recollection of the incident. The board may contact you regularly, and changing details may compromise your case.
Labor Law 200
The New York Labor Law 200 lays out general safety responsibilities to protect construction site employees. This code dictates that employers must watch, organize, and make visible construction machines, tools, and other appliances on site.
Employers must add lighting to dark areas, place visual notices about safety, and keep equipment in secure locations. Suppose you injure yourself by colliding with heavy equipment in a dark space. In that case, you can work with a New York construction accident lawyer to file a claim because your employer was responsible for maintaining a well-lit workspace.
Labor Law 240
Some industries call New York Labor 240 the “Scaffold Law” because it details the protection of workers on, under, and around scaffolding.
Though the law explicitly mentions scaffolding falls, it applies to other features, such as unsafe floors and elevators. The law states that scaffolding requires a safety rail if it exceeds a height of 20 feet.
You could seek workers’ compensation if you experience a fall at the construction site without protection. These high-profile accident claims often move swiftly through the board.
How to File a Construction Accident Claim
Filing a claim may not be as simple as it appears. Typically, you must collect evidence, find witnesses, and speak to multiple entities before receiving compensation offers. Fortunately, an attorney can help you through the process by gathering information and communicating on your behalf.
Consider your two-year deadline to file a claim. It may not be practical to file a claim a few days after the accident if you are still arranging medical treatment. Take the time to tally expenses, get a diagnosis, and plan with your attorney before filling out the C-3 form.
Seek Medical Attention
Depending on your injury, you may need to seek medical attention before taking any action. An evaluation by a doctor will also determine what your medical bills are going to cost. Do your best to collect proof of your hospital visit.
The board of workers’ compensation may ask for these documents if your employer attempts to challenge the claim.
Report the Accident
If you experience a fall, crush, or other construction-related injuries, report it in writing as soon as possible. Your employer should always know about the accident so they can document it to the state. Failing to inform your employer can limit your options for pursuing compensation.
Although you have 30 days to report, your employer must file it within a day after you inform them. If they do not, they will be subject to thousands of dollars in financial penalties.
Moreover, if negligent or malicious employee misconduct caused the accident, it may be appropriate to call the authorities. Police sometimes respond to severe workplace accidents and file additional reports. Your attorney can then present these documents to the New York workers’ compensation board.
Speak to a Construction Accident Attorney
Don’t wait to speak to a New York construction accident lawyer. It may take them a couple of weeks to investigate your case and assist you during your claim.
We recommend being proactive and researching construction accident attorneys before an incident occurs. Having one on standby will save you time during the filing process.
Look for law firms that have at least four-star Google reviews and testimonials. Clients will be honest about their experiences with current or past representation.
Some reliable personal injury attorneys work with clients to pursue millions of dollars worth of compensation. Law offices also offer consultations where you can meet with an attorney to discuss your case and budget.
Your attorney can help you decide whether to pursue a personal injury lawsuit if they determine your employer violated OSHA or New York law during the accident. Identifying liability can sometimes be tricky, especially on active construction sites with many moving parts and workers. Nevertheless, if an attorney discovers that your employer is liable, you may be able to pursue further litigation.
Estimate the Value of Losses
The compensation you seek should correspond to the total value of your losses. A construction accident attorney can help you go over your expenses following the accident. Factors that may impact your claim include:
- Emergency medical expenses, like ambulances
- Hospital or clinic visits
- Current and future recovery expenses
- Assisted care expenses
- Wage losses due to disability
- Cosmetic damage, such as damage to phones, wallets, or eyeglasses
- Physical and psychological trauma
Placing a value on these elements can be challenging without the proper guidance. A law firm will break down the numbers and help you understand the total value of your claim.
Speak with the Insurance Company
Many contractors offer health insurance benefits for employees. Some health insurance policies cover most or all hospital bills after an accident. Speak honestly with your insurance company about the incident, and see what they can cover.
Injuries may prevent you from pursuing a constructive dialogue with the insurance company. A New York construction accident lawyer can approach the company on your behalf so that you avoid awkward or intimidating confrontations or avoid accidentally using incriminating language that indicates you are at fault.
Address Verdicts and Settlements
Once you complete these duties, it’s time to seek a payout. Your attorney will keep you updated during the negotiations, so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to accept or decline an offer.
Alternatively, in the case of a personal injury or workplace-related litigation, your attorney may issue a complaint against at-fault parties and meet with their respective lawyers.
Settlements may take months or years to reach, but be patient. Your attorney may suggest a trial if negotiations fall through. In these cases, a judge will determine if your claim is sufficient.
Why Partner with a New York Construction Accident Law Firm?
Construction workers injured on the job sometimes attempt to pursue their claims alone. Unfortunately, this may cause them to miss deadlines or limit their capacity to negotiate with liable parties. A New York construction accident law firm has all the tools and wisdom to fight for the case.
You can trust these attorneys to act in your interest. They can provide excellent resources, like experienced personal injury advisors, to help you understand your options.
Lastly, a New York construction accident firm represents you with respect and dignity during a lawsuit. Don’t let liable parties belittle your claim or intimidate you into backing down.
Call a Construction Accident Attorney in New York
Are you ready to work with a construction accident attorney in New York with years of experience? Look no further for the law firm you can trust. At William Schwitzer & Associates, we pride ourselves on the hard work and dedication we show to our clients.
Our construction accident attorneys take the time necessary to assess your claim and build a case against liable parties. Honesty and communication are two of our core tenants. We provide a safe and comfortable environment for you to discuss your concerns openly.
Additionally, our firm provides wrongful death and product liability attorneys for those managing the loss of a loved one.
Why file your C-3 claim alone? Our New York construction accident lawyers represent hundreds of construction workers across the state. Schedule a free consultation with William Schwitzer & Associates in New York City, New York.