Construction work is an already hazardous job, but it doesn’t have to be needlessly dangerous. In fact, New York state laws and industrial codes are written to help ensure that dangers are minimized at construction sites. Construction workers know the hazards on job sites and are skilled in their jobs. It is the responsibility of contractors and project owners to do their part by ensuring appropriate and safe working conditions surrounding workers.
If accidents do happen, it may be because the legal rights of workers were not protected. Injuries, construction accidents, and wrongful death cases require the skilled expertise of a construction accident law firm that will aggressively pursue results and fair compensation.
Construction workers are skilled at their jobs. No matter their level of expertise, however, construction work can be a hazardous occupation. Because of the high risks associated with construction work, workers have rights that ensure their safety. If the construction site is unsafe, there is increased risk of an accident occurring.
Primary construction site duties and responsibilities that are considered high risk include:
- Operating heavy machinery and specialized equipment
- Strenuous labor in extreme temperatures
- Working underground or in high-elevation building levels
- Technical duties requiring specialized skill sets
- Assisting other team members with lifts, moves, or duties
- Loading and unloading heavy building materials
- Handling and proper disposal of hazardous materials
- Adjusting and securing rigging and scaffolding
New York has some of the most stringent worker protection laws in the country. Because of the already hazardous nature of the work involved on a construction site by skilled workers, they are guaranteed special rights that improve job safety.
New York Construction Labor Laws
Labor laws help people complete their jobs safely and without discrimination. Three New York state labor law statutes pertain specifically to construction work, and they are often referred to as the labor law industrial codes.
NY Labor Law Section 200 includes general property regulations and assessments required for the construction site to be reasonably safe. nyc construction accident attorneys
NY Labor Law Section 240 is often referred to as the scaffolding law due to its numerous provisions on how scaffolding must be safely managed on construction sites to prevent injuries. construction accident case
NY Labor Law Section 241 outlines rules that pertain to the safety of construction, excavation, and demolition in work zones. Specific inclusions detail required guards and railings to prevent falls.
The labor laws include provisions that strive to make the construction site as safe as possible for construction workers. Project owners and contractors are responsible for maintaining compliance with these regulations by hiring compliance-ready teams to work alongside, or in addition to, construction teams. Maintaining the site’s safety is outside the regular scope of duties of a typical construction worker on a job site.
Ways to prevent general site hazards are explicitly outlined in New York’s labor laws. However, despite the legal ramifications of non-compliance and potential legal action requiring compensation, some construction site managers still fail to maintain the site’s integrity according to code.
Construction Accident Lawsuits
Due to ineptitude, malicious intent, or sheer ignorance, preventable injuries and accidents occur on job sites due to the failure of site managers to maintain compliance. Dedicated workers suffer as a result. Common construction accident lawsuits include injuries due to:
- Forklift and heavy machinery accidents
- Compressed gases
- Stuck-by accidents involving debris or falling objects
- Defective equipment
- Falls involving both moisture and elevations
- Fires and explosions
- Improper handling and exposure to hazardous materials
- Collapsed structures
In some cases, accidents and injuries are so severe that injured construction workers cannot seek emergency treatment and legal representation for themselves following the event. To prevent confusion and additional stress on loved ones, construction workers have accident protocol information sheets that they carry on the job or keep at home. Emergency information is provided to general contractors in the event of a crisis, and construction workers routinely communicate accident protocol to their emergency contacts.
Emergency protocol actions include:
- Have a current living will on file
- Identify a medical facility and treatment of choice
- Keep all receipts from medical treatments
- Report accident and injury to the employer
- Request a documented acknowledgment of injury report
- Record any information and document witnesses
- Photograph as much evidence as possible of the injury
- Contact a skilled construction accident lawyer for legal action
Depending on the exact details of the accident or injury, workers may be able to seek compensation for the damages they suffered due to the negligence or non-compliance of their employer, the project owner, equipment manufacturers, or other parties. A skilled legal professional can identify the best course of legal action moving forward in construction accident cases as they gather details and begin building a case.
Defective products can be the cause of construction site injuries. If a defective product is deemed responsible for damages, the injured worker can file suit and recover compensation against parties along the product’s distribution chain.
Personal injury cases involve identifying the negligence of another party that caused the worker to be injured. If reasonable proof can be presented on behalf of the injured party against whomever they believe is responsible for their injury, compensation for damages can be recovered.
Workers’ compensation claims are a more common course of action because they do not require the long trial or detailed evidence that personal injury cases do. Workers’ comp claims require only proof that the injury occurred due to a work-related accident, and workers’ comp insurance can disperse benefits if the claims are deemed valid. Workers comp benefits often pale in comparison to personal injury compensation claims, so many injured parties combine workers’ comp and individual claims.
In the worst cases, a worker may be killed on a job site due to negligence or non-compliance in maintaining site safety. In such cases, the worker’s family can sometimes file one or more wrongful death claims on their behalf. Wrongful death claims are often recommended if workers were the sole provider for their families.
One or several parties may be liable to compensate workers for damages from the injuries or accidents they experienced. Since New York laws are in place to ensure that workers are entitled to reasonably safe working conditions, and the labor law industrial codes specifically outline these measures, non-compliance is taken very seriously in the courts.
If construction site negligence is determined, one or more of the following parties involved in the construction process could be held accountable.
- Site owners: the owner(s) of the actual property on which the construction is taking place
- Project owners: the company that is contracting the construction work
- General contractors: those in control of the entire construction site production
- Prime contractors: those responsible for overseeing subcategories of work including electrical, masonry, plumbing, etc. and often communicate to the general contractor and subcontractors as a go-between
- Subcontractors: smaller individual companies that are often hired for niche work on a construction project
- Engineers: those responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of a construction project
- Manufacturers: suppliers of tools, machinery, products, and other materials necessary for completing construction work
Damages from accidents on a construction site include more than just injuries. Many construction workers lose significant income due to the required healing time. If an injury is severe enough, it may interfere with their ability to take on additional work in the future. Working with a skilled construction accident lawyer who knows their way around the New York legal system is the best way to fight for compensation for damages from construction site accidents and injuries.
Construction Workers in New York
Common damages incurred by construction workers who were injured, or worse, on the job due to someone else’s negligence in providing safe working conditions include but are not limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Living expenses
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Recovery counseling
- Loss of consortium
Injured workers should contact skilled attorneys with construction accident law firms for best results in recovering damages and receiving fair compensation from a personal injury lawsuit.
Niche representation is the best way to fight against corporate lawyers with more money and experience with labor laws and negligence cases. William Schwitzer & Associates regularly represents construction workers and their families when on-the-job accidents and injuries occur, and it proudly serves the New York area.
William Schwitzer & Associates
The skilled professionals at William Schwitzer & Associates have experience identifying and handling cases ranging from workers’ compensation to third-party lawsuits and strive to ensure that you receive the results you deserve. Laws are in place to keep you safe on the job, and litigation is an option if your safety or health have been compromised.
Contact The Construction Accident Experts
At William Schwitzer & Associates, all cases are handled on a contingent fee basis to help give you peace of mind; there will never be an attorney fee unless there is a recovery for you. We work hard to make sure that you get fair compensation for your case. Contact us today to learn more about construction site accidents or to schedule a consultation.