Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in the world, and construction accidents are unfortunately common. Anyone familiar with the nature of construction work in New York City knows that sites have the potential for hazardous conditions virtually everywhere.
Additionally, the potential for injury extends beyond just the workers to include passersby or visitors to the site. Construction accident lawyers in NYC can recognize the damages suffered and value those losses adequately to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a tragic but avoidable construction site accident, you may have the chance to recover your losses.
Do You File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits or a Personal Injury Claim?
When you initially contact a construction accident law firm in New York, you must specify the type of accident that caused your injuries. For example, were you a construction worker or other employee on the job at the time of the accident?
If the answer is yes, your next step is to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. All construction companies and contractors with employees must carry a state-mandated minimum of workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical expenses and lost income for employees injured on the job.
New York construction accident lawyers generally advise anyone that suffered an injury on a construction site while not working on filing a personal injury claim. The case can become more complicated for many reasons:
- If you suffered a severe injury while working because of another party’s negligence, you may pursue a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.
- If you worked with a piece of defective equipment that failed and caused your injury, you could directly sue the manufacturer.
Construction accident lawyers in NYC understand the nuances of the laws governing injuries sustained on construction sites. If you have questions about the specifics of your case, an attorney can help you understand your legal options.
What Factors Affect Settlement Value in a Construction Accident Case?
When injured injured construction workers file personal injury claims, a New York construction accident lawyer will begin negotiations with the insurance companies to settle right away. Settling is preferable to trial, primarily because it saves time and money.
Every case is different, and the varying circumstances may affect the settlement value. However, there are two factors, damages and liability, that definitively play a role in the amount of compensation you receive.
An experienced construction law firm in New York understands the nuances of a construction accident case and can help you adequately calculate the value of your damages and collect evidence to prove liability.
The Value of Your Damages
Because the value of damages varies so greatly among construction accident cases, construction accident lawyers in New York, NY will likely tell you that there is no actual average for a settlement. In a settlement, what you can receive comes almost entirely from the compensatory damages unique to your case.
Compensatory damages are the financial and personal losses associated with your construction accident injuries. The name comes from the idea that recovering the monetary value of these damages should compensate for the damage you suffered through no fault of your own. Examples of compensatory damages include:
- The cost of medical care, including hospital stays, doctor visits, necessary treatments, use of medical devices, medications, and estimations for any long-term therapies or treatments
- Wages lost because injuries left you unable to work
- Future lost wages if your injuries require ongoing treatment
- Loss of earning ability if your injuries left you unable to perform the job you previously had
- Mental and emotional anguish caused by pain and suffering
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Damages associated with wrongful death, such as funeral and burial costs, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and lost benefits provided by the deceased person
Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic losses. Medical bills and lost income are economical because they are easily calculable.
The more subjective damages, such as mental and emotional anguish or loss of companionship, are non-economic and require a different type of evidence to support the claim. A New York construction accident attorney has experience valuing non-economic damages and will collect the necessary evidence to provide the monetary amount assigned.
Proof of Liability for Your Accident
When you contact a construction accident law firm in New York about a personal injury claim, a primary concern in your initial consultation is determining who is at fault for the accident.
As the plaintiff in the case, you carry the burden of proving the following:
- That the defendant acted negligently
- That the defendant’s negligence then led to the accident
- That the accident directly caused your injuries and resulting damages
Additionally, 100% responsibility for the accident may not fall on the defendant. If you share fault, you can still receive compensation for damages incurred.
In New York, the rule of pure comparative negligence dictates how much of the settlement or award you can recover. When applied, the comparative negligence rule allows the court to deduct your pre-determined percentage of fault from the final amount.
Pure comparative negligence states that you can be up to 99% at fault and still recover some financial compensation. For example, if the value of damages is $50,000 and your percentage of fault is 50%, you will receive half of the settlement at $25,000.
Liability does not play a role in workers’ compensation benefits. If you suffered injuries as a worker on the construction site, you do not need to prove negligence to receive workers’ compensation. Even if you are solely responsible for the accident and injuries, you can receive benefits.
How Long Does a Construction Site Settlement Take?
Several factors may affect the length of time it takes to reach a settlement in a personal injury case. Talk to a construction accident law firm in New York about the average timeframe of a case once you provide the details of your accident.
In the meantime, some common factors to consider are:
- What evidence is available? The more evidence you provide, the clearer your claim will appear. Convincing evidence makes it more difficult for the defendant to challenge your claim.
- How severe are your injuries? Construction accident lawyers in NYC often advise their clients to work closely with medical care professionals to receive a thorough diagnosis and monitor the recovery process for injuries. Never skip doctor or rehabilitation appointments. More medical care leads to a better understanding of the extent of your injuries.
- Is a large corporation involved in your accident? Large companies typically have more resources to fight personal injury claims. In addition, an accusation of negligence can damage a corporate reputation, potentially hurting future business opportunities. For that reason, personal injury cases involving large corporations often last longer than cases involving defendants from smaller companies.
- What is the extent of your damages? Simply put, cases that involve more damages have a higher value claim. High-value claims typically trigger defendants and their insurance agencies to fight harder to absolve the defendant of any liability or at least place a significant percentage of responsibility on the plaintiff. For example, wrongful death cases often have very high-value claims than cases that involve impermanent injuries.
- How clear is fault determination in your case? New York construction accident lawyers often deal with cases involving more than one defendant. When multiple parties bear responsibility for the accident, the case can take significantly longer to settle, particularly if you must file multiple lawsuits. For example, if a third-party, such as an equipment manufacturer, shares blame for your accident and injuries, you may need to file a product liability case against that individual defendant.
Predicting a settlement or outcome can be difficult without the details of the case and a thorough investigation into the accident. This process can be overwhelming and stressful for someone without experience in litigation and settlement negotiation.
Consider the benefits of having experienced legal representation on your side.
How Can Experienced Construction Accident Lawyers in NYC Help?
The aftermath of a construction accident is often overwhelming without the added stress of navigating a personal injury lawsuit. Construction accident lawyers in NYC have much to offer injured workers during this emotionally charged time.
Your attorney will:
- Represent you in negotiations and fight to collect a fair settlement
- Prepare your case for trial should the defendant’s insurance company fail to offer adequate compensation during negotiations
- Work with experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists, to thoroughly investigate the details of your accident
- Tend to the cumbersome task of collecting all the evidence you need to prove your damages and the value of your claim
- Help you accurately value the non-economic damages of your claim
Schedule an appointment with William Schwitzer & Associates to speak with one of our experienced New York City construction accident attorneys. We understand the financial stress that accompanies this type of accident, and we will do everything we can to get you fast compensation.
In addition, we work on a contingent fee basis so that you can have risk-free representation.