A construction accident can lead to life-long injuries that require extensive medical treatment. If you experienced one of these injuries at work, you might be facing thousands of dollars worth of hospital bills and lost wages.
You can pursue compensation by filing an injury claim that corresponds to the nature of your accident. A New York construction accident lawyer with experience handling construction accident cases in New York can help you determine which claims you qualify for and represent you in court.
What Causes Construction Accidents?
If you work in the construction industry, you likely know the risks of managing heavy equipment and operating on jobsites with many potential hazards. Still, construction injuries are more common than you may realize.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction accidents were the sixth leading cause of occupational injuries in 2020. Over 165,000 workers reported injuries from a wide range of on-site disasters. Some common construction accidents included:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Crush injuries from collapsing structures
- Lacerations from sharp building materials or tools
- Traumatic brain injuries from falling objects
- Illnesses caused by toxic fumes or chemicals
Poor weather conditions, faulty equipment, mishandling of tools, and employer negligence increase the risk of these accidents occurring.
Common Types of Construction Accident Claims
You might wonder how to pursue compensation after sustaining an injury on the job. Depending on the nature of your construction accident, you may have several options available:
Workers’ Compensation Claim
New York law dictates that your employer must cover all their employees with workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance helps pay for a significant portion of your losses after an accident if the accident happens on the job or as a result of your job duties.
Workers’ compensation does not require you to prove employer negligence to qualify for benefits. However, this convenience comes with a catch: You cannot file a lawsuit against your employer if you accept workers’ comp coverage.
Workers’ compensation may not always cover your total losses. If you seek further reimbursement in addition to workers’ comp benefits, you may be able to sue an at-fault third party.
Third-Party Personal Injury Claim
You can file a personal injury claim against parties that contributed to your accident. Potential at-fault parties may include collaborating contractors, manufacturers of faulty equipment, or the jobsite supervisor.
Personal injury lawsuits require you to collect evidence and prove negligence to a court. Still, over 95% of personal injury cases end in settlements before reaching a jury trial. An attorney may be able to negotiate adequate compensation for your losses within weeks or months following the accident.
Fall Injury Claim
According to New York law, property owners and employers are fully liable if you fall from scaffolding or ladders on the job. You will likely be able to seek reimbursement through workers’ compensation. However, if your employer does not own this legally required insurance, you have the right to sue them for negligence.
Product Liability Claim
Suppose your construction safety equipment fails on the job, despite your employer’s best efforts to store and maintain tools properly. In this case, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the equipment’s manufacturer.
The three types of product liability claims include:
- Negligent production: Negligent production means that the manufacturer did not test products for defects that could cause injury to the user.
- Strict liability: Strict liability holds the manufacturer financially responsible for any damage their products cause, regardless of their attention to safety during production.
- Breach of warranty: You can file a breach of warranty claim against a manufacturer that makes false promises about the safety or quality of their equipment.
Wrongful Death Claim
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction accidents caused the second-highest fatal occupational injuries in 2021.
If you are the spouse, parent, child, or estate manager of a loved one who lost their life in a construction accident, you can pursue monetary compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. New York State allows you to file a claim within two years of the accident.
Recoverable damages from a wrongful death settlement may include the following:
- Funeral expenses
- Coverage for pre-death medical expenses
- Loss of household income
- General damages, such as grief or trauma
Signage-Related Injury Claim
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines strict signage mandates that your employer must comply with on site.
For example, general construction signs and signals should highlight stairs and low-hanging ledges clearly. Danger signs should also be visible near potential electric, combustion, or chemical hazards.
OSHA requires your employer to post instructional signage on or near heavy equipment that may cause injuries. All signs must have the proper text color and reflectiveness to be visible in low lighting or during snowfall and rain.
You could file a signage-related injury claim if missing or obstructed signs prevented you from identifying hazards before your injury. OSHA could also fine your employer additional economic penalties if they uncover negligence.
You could file a worker disability claim if your construction accident caused prolonged injuries that prevented you from returning to your job.
You may be able to supplement a portion of your lost income by applying for these weekly, non-taxable payments. However, you only have 30 days from your disability to file for benefits.
To qualify for disability, your employer must have workers’ comp insurance. You must also be out of work for at least a week due to your injuries. Your residency and income will not affect your eligibility.
Premises Liability Claim
If you are not a construction worker and have experienced a construction-related injury near a job site, you may be able to sue at-fault parties. Premises liability holds construction companies responsible for damages if they do not make the area safe for bystanders. You may be able to pursue a premises liability claim for your injuries if a construction company:
- Did not secure their construction site with gates, walls, or barriers
- Did not clearly mark “Hard Hat Only” areas of the site
- Did not isolate falling objects to the construction site
- Mishandled heavy construction vehicles on the surrounding street
- Spilled slick or toxic liquids on the sidewalk
How an NYC Construction Accident Attorney Can Help You with Your Claim
After an injury, your New York City construction accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation. These experienced attorneys will review the details of your claim and represent you during discussions with insurance companies or at-fault parties.
A lawyer can also help you gather evidence, interview witnesses, and more to strengthen the validity of your claim. Having a reliable attorney by your side is an efficient way to balance these duties while you focus on recovering from injuries. They will communicate information and keep you updated with filing deadlines and depositions.
At William Schwitzer & Associates, PC, our knowledgeable construction accident attorneys are just a phone call away. We will work tirelessly to build your case and guide you toward practical legal solutions. Our trusted lawyers have helped recover millions of dollars in damages for New York construction workers like you.
Pursuing an injury claim can feel intimidating without the right help. Our law firm ensures that you have the resources you need to navigate this process without stress. Explore a guide to construction accident lawsuits in New York to learn more about how our attorneys can assist you after a workplace injury.
Frequently Asked Questions About Construction Accident Claims
Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions about construction accident claims:
What Is the Most Common Type of Construction Accident?
Slips, trips, and falls are the most common types of construction accidents. These incidents account for over a quarter of all worker-related injuries, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Often, falls happen from scaffolding, rooftops, and ladders.
What Is an Example of Negligence in Construction?
Negligence is an employer’s failure to make the workplace safe for employees. For example, suppose an employer does not provide ladders or safety harnesses that comply with OSHA standards. An employee has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim if they sustain a fall-related injury.
What Are General Damages in Construction?
General damages are a type of injury workers may experience after a construction accident. Often, these injuries are non-economic, such as anxiety, distress, trauma, impairment, etc. Workers can pursue compensation for general damages with help from a licensed attorney.