Construction accidents and construction site injuries happen all the time, and if you were injured in an accident, you might be confused about what steps to take next. Following an on-the-job accident, you must safeguard your interests at all costs.
Depending on the nature of your accident, you may even find it helpful to consult a construction site accident lawyer who understands exactly what you are going through. An attorney can also help you choose the best course of action and take the proper steps to ensure your rights are honored.
What To Do After a Construction Accident?
If you are injured in a New York City construction accident, you should take steps to preserve your interests and legal rights.
In the wake of an accident, be sure to do the following:
- Obtain medical treatment for your injury.
- Even if you feel fine, you may be injured. Numerous types of damages take time to present themselves, and if you do not seek medical care, you could end up permanently injured and unable to file a claim.
- Report your injury to the construction site manager or your employer. Take note of the position and name of the person you notified. By notifying your employer, you can be sure your injury is on record.
- Get the contact information and names of anyone who may have been a witness to your accident.
- Attempt to preserve any evidence related to your injury by taking photographs. You may also want to keep the tool or equipment responsible for your damage.
Once you have taken the steps above, you should contact a New York construction accident lawyer. An attorney can help you take the following steps if you decide to file a personal injury claim or file for workers’ compensation.
Personal Injury Claims vs. Workers’ Compensation Claims
You can file for workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance the vast majority of employers must carry.
It protects workers financially if they are injured on the job. It also pays for vocational training injured workers will be prepared to resume their professional duties once their injuries heal.
You may file for workers’ compensation no matter who is responsible for your injury. You may even file for benefits if you cause your injury. Once your claim for benefits is processed, you will begin to receive help in a relatively short time.
It is important to note, however, that workers’ compensation does not cover non-economic damages, such as loss of quality of life or pain and suffering.
Suppose your injury was caused by a negligent employer, third party, or a defective tool or device. In that case, you may want to consider filing a personal injury claim with the help of a construction site accident attorney.
Unlike filing a workers’ compensation claim, you must prove another party is responsible for your injuries. If your case is successful, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
An experienced lawyer will understand how New York labor law affects construction accident lawsuits.
Filing for Compensation After an Accident
If you are a construction worker and have been injured in a construction site accident, you may wonder if you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. If you choose to file a personal injury claim against a responsible party, you may be able to recover a variety of economic and non-economic damages.
Depending on the nature of your construction accident case, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, current and future medical expenses, and everyday living expenses.
You may also be able to obtain compensation for pain and suffering and loss of quality of life if your injury leaves you permanently disabled or in pain. The more extensive your injuries are, the more compensation you will obtain.
The court may also decide to award punitive damages to injured construction workers. Punitive damages are non-economic damages meant to punish the responsible party and prevent them from engaging in negligent behavior in the future. Punitive damages are typically awarded in cases where gross negligence is a factor.
Common Construction Site Accidents and Hazards
Despite the efforts of construction site owners, accidents will still happen due to the nature of construction work.
Common workplace hazards at construction sites include:
- Slips and falls
- Scaffolding accidents
- Exposure to chemicals or asbestos
- Falling equipment or machinery
- Injuries caused by defective products
- Repetitive motion and lifting injuries
Suppose you have been exposed to any of the previously mentioned hazards and sustained an injury. In that case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or obtain benefits from workers’ compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.
Of all industries, construction has some of the most severe accident possibilities. About two construction workers die daily, and thousands more suffer serious injuries. As compassionate NYC construction accident lawyers, we want you to recover and increase the safety at every job site. Even if you consider your accident minor, the following reasons should convince you to report it regardless.
Minor Injuries May Not Be What They Seem
Accidents happen all of the time on construction sites. As a construction injury law firm, we suggest you take every accident seriously.
Some of the most common accidents include:
- Falls from equipment
- Slip and fall accidents
- Forklift accidents
- Gas leaks, explosions, and fires
- Crane accidents
You might feel fine after an accident, but the reality is that you could have a medical emergency without realizing it.
For example, It’s common for victims of head injuries to feel lucid after. You may have a slight headache and think it is okay to return home shortly thereafter. Often, those with serious head injuries rapidly deteriorate.
Your head pain may increase, and the consequences can be severe if not treated promptly. If your brain begins to swell, the damage is sometimes irreversible.
Potential repercussions following an accident include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
After an accident, your adrenaline may interfere with your ability to recognize the seriousness of your condition. If you refuse medical treatment or do not report the accident, you may suffer a severe injury and receive little to no compensation.
Broken Safety Rules Should Be Addressed As Soon As Possible
Ask any construction site accident attorney in New York City, and he or she will tell you that you should report a construction accident as soon as possible. Most accidents occur due to a safety violation on the job site.
While you might think that accidents aren’t preventable, most worksite injuries are preventable. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) seeks to call these incidents rather than accidents.
If you do not report an incident, there will be no investigation into the event. Every construction site should have a hazard reporting program. If you witness any unsafe situation, you should report it as soon as possible. All safety programs become compromised if you do not have appropriate investigations into every accident.
When you document an incident, you are less likely to witness similar situations in the future. Often, even if there was a minor accident, avoiding dealing with it opens the door for more severe accidents to occur in the future. If few people are injured or if no one is seriously injured, take it as a lesson that something needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Claims Should Be Filed Right Away
As explained above, not all minor accidents are as they seem. If you do not file a claim immediately, you could lose your opportunity to file. Even though you have a year or more to report the accident and injury, you do not want to wait too long. If you wait, you could lose evidence. Evidence often becomes lost or can be destroyed.
When this happens, construction accident cases turn weak, and you may not receive compensation for your injuries. If your injury becomes more severe, you may require workers’ compensation benefits. If you do not file an accident injury within 30 days, you could lose your ability to file a claim.
Recovery May Be Delayed Without Taking Time Off
Most people don’t think they have the time or money to take leave from work. It’s easy to downplay an injury and to believe that a weekend of rest is enough to clear it up. Some injuries take longer to heal than a couple of days and require more rest and medical attention than a few hours after work every day.
Some injuries that can become worse over time, without treatment include:
- Brain injuries
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Tendon injuries
It is dangerous to ignore a potential brain injury. Often, brain injuries present secondary issues, such as infections and hematomas. When you do not take time off, you cannot heal. If you continue to work at the construction site, you cannot take it easy.
Your muscles also need time to heal. An acute muscle strain typically will go away once it heals. However, the problem becomes chronic if you continue to use those muscles or overburden yourself. Likewise, when you do not rest your tendon injury, it will not heal. In fact, it will worsen, increasing the injury’s pain and stiffness.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you were injured while working on a construction site, you might be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. A New York construction accident attorney at William Schwitzer & Associates can help you better understand your legal options.
Our firm takes pride in helping everyday people and is fully committed to representing people with construction accident injuries. Schedule a free consultation with us when you are ready.