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Construction Accident Lawyers
Construction in New York City practically never stops, with the industry employing around a quarter of a million workers. However, workers in the construction industry face many hazards. While there are numerous regulations designed to ensure safe working conditions, fines for safety violations amount to little more than petty cash for developers working on billion-dollar sites in the city. When something goes terribly wrong, injured workers often have little leverage. Some pay the ultimate price, leaving their families in emotional and financial turmoil.
Morgan & Morgan wants to help injured workers and their families get justice. Our New York City construction accident lawyers can help you pursue what you deserve, whether with a workers’ comp claim or by holding unscrupulous employers legally accountable. Contact us now to learn about your legal rights in a free case evaluation.
Common Construction Accidents in New York City
Some accidents are so common on building sites that they are called the “fatal four,” a term coined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The four most common types of construction accidents include:
- Contact with machinery or equipment
- Being struck by an object
However, workers can experience a range of accidents and injuries on building sites.
Falls are almost “par for the course” on construction sites that can be cluttered, chaotic, and full of hazards. Individuals may slip and fall due to wet surfaces or trip over objects and equipment. Catastrophic and fatal injuries occur when workers fall from a great height, such as roofs and scaffolds.
Construction sites can be full of electrical hazards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workers are up to four times as likely to experience electrocution in construction than workers in other industries. Direct contact with electricity is the cause of most electrocutions. Causes of electrical deaths and injuries include:
- Contact with overhead or underground power lines
- Improper use of extension cords
- Failure to de-energize power lines
- Contact with live wiring
- Faulty electrical equipment
Contact With Objects or Machinery
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), contact with objects and equipment is the third leading cause of death among workers. In 2020 alone, 196,140 workers suffered injuries, and 716 died from contact with objects and equipment. Accidents can include:
- Getting trapped and crushed in-between machinery or objects
- An object falling from height and striking a worker
- A worker getting pushed or thrown into an object or equipment
- A worker getting caught or crushed in a collapsing structure
- Accidents with heavy vehicles
Exposure to Toxic Substances
Working in the construction industry can expose workers to a multitude of chemicals and substances that are harmful to human health. Some of the toxic materials construction workers can come in contact with include:
- Solvents, glues, and paints
- Insulation materials
- Chemicals used for industrial cleaning and pest control
- Gasoline fumes
- Carbon monoxide
- Formaldehyde and arsenic in wood products
This list is by no means exhaustive. Workers may be exposed to various other harmful chemicals. Wearing adequate personal protective equipment and following safety protocols can minimize the risks of suffering ill-health from toxins. However, some employers cut corners, leading to workers’ accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
Trench work can be cramped, unpleasant, and dangerous. Working in deep and unsecured trenches can prove deadly for workers. According to OSHA, more than 20 construction workers suffered fatal injuries in trench collapses nationwide in 2016. Reasons for excavation and trench accidents include:
- Failure to shore up the sides or install trench boxes
- Walls caving in due to water intrusion
- Unstable soil
- Improper sloping of the trench
Injured Workers Can Get Help
In many cases, construction accidents are avoidable and occur due to negligence or recklessness of an employer, contractor, property owner, or another party. Workers who suffered injuries in an avoidable accident could be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, income losses, and other damages. If you or a family member was significantly injured at work, a Morgan & Morgan New York City construction accident lawyer could help.
Construction Accident Injuries
Accidents on construction sites can cause life-changing injuries. Common injuries in construction accidents include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Limb amputations
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Electrical burns
- Fractured bones
- Sprains and strains
- Mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other diseases caused by toxic substances
Victims of construction accidents may never work again and could see their entire lives turned upside down. Steep medical and rehabilitation bills, lost wages, and other expenses can cause significant financial hardship for workers and their families.
What You Should Do After Getting Injured in a Construction Accident
If you or a loved one was injured at a construction site, you could have various options to recover damages. Most workers in NYC are eligible for workers’ compensation. Therefore, filing a workers’ comp claim is usually the best first step. However, if a third party was responsible for your accident and injury, you could pursue additional compensation with a personal injury lawsuit.
Applying for New York Workers’ Compensation
Under the New York workers’ comp program, injured workers can seek various medical and employment-related benefits, including:
- All necessary healthcare expenses
- Wage replacement benefits up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage
- Vocational rehabilitation services such as retraining
Surviving family members of an injured worker in NYC are entitled to workers’ comp survivor benefits. The spouse, minor children, and other dependents could receive:
- Funeral and memorial expenses up to $12,500
- Weekly cash benefits up to two-thirds of the decedent’s average weekly wage
If the decedent did not have a spouse or dependents, the parents or estate could receive a $50,000 payment.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Workers’ compensation can be invaluable for workers and their families. However, since it typically only covers up to two-thirds of the injured worker’s wage, families may struggle financially. If someone else negligently or willfully caused your accident, you could be entitled to additional damages such as pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and others. A lawsuit can allow injured workers to pursue such additional compensation.
However, not all injured workers are eligible. If you are unsure about your legal rights or the benefits you are entitled to, our experienced construction accident attorneys could help.
Could You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Independently of your workers’ compensation eligibility, you may be able to hold a third party, such as another contractor, accountable for your accident and damages. Defendants in construction accidents can include:
- Negligent or reckless subcontractors at the construction site
- A manufacturer of defective construction equipment
- A co-worker who willfully or maliciously caused an accident
Our construction accident attorneys could help you prove your claim against a third party.
Your Employer Could Be Liable for Your Losses
Workers’ compensation insurance generally protects employers from employee lawsuits. However, in some cases, workers could file a suit against their employer, including:
- Your employer does not have any workers’ insurance coverage
- Workers’ insurance coverage has lapsed due to non-payment of premiums
- Your employer was grossly negligent, causing your accident and injury
- You were physically assaulted by your employer
Almost all developers in NYC must obtain workers’ compensation insurance. However, if they fail to keep current with their premium payments, workers may be unable to receive the benefits they need after getting hurt. Moreover, an employer who deliberately skirts safety regulations and causes an unsafe work environment could be held accountable with a personal injury lawsuit.
Compensation NYC Workers Could Receive
While workers’ compensation offers limited benefits for injured workers, winning a personal lawsuit can allow them to recover additional damages. Compensation can include:
- All present, past, and future medical expenses
- Loss of wages and loss of future expected earning capacity
- Modifications of the home and vehicle
- Medical devices
- Pain and anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of a sense such as eyesight or hearing
- Loss of a limb
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of life enjoyment
Other damages may be available, depending on your unique case. Our construction accident lawyers can determine the worth of your case and clarify your legal options.
Morgan & Morgan
What Should I Do if My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
While most employers must have workers’ comp under the law, not all do. However, workers are still entitled to damages. Your three main options to get what you deserve in NYC are:
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer
- Claiming benefits from the New York Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF)
- Filing a claim with the main developer’s workers’ comp policy
Finding out that your employer is uninsured can be upsetting. However, your employer could still be liable for your damages. If you were injured at a New York City construction site, a personal injury lawyer at Morgan & Morgan could walk you through your options and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After Getting Injured in a Construction Accident?
If you only experience a minor injury and receive adequate compensation and benefits, you may not need the help of a New York City construction accident lawyer. However, in most cases, getting professional legal advice can be essential for protecting your rights. An attorney can be invaluable if your workers’ comp claim is rejected or you have to file a lawsuit against the responsible party or your employer. Working with a lawyer can be crucial if:
- You have high financial damages
- Your injury was catastrophic or permanently disabling
- Your case is complex, with several parties involved
- Your employer or their insurance company is not cooperating with your claim
Construction accident cases can be complex to litigate. Moreover, standing up against a powerful company and team of lawyers can feel intimidating. Our personal injury lawyers only get paid if and when you win, and consultations are free. Therefore, consider getting legal advice and professional representation to ensure you are not shortchanged by an employer or insurance company.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit if My Loved One Died in a Work Accident in New York City?
If your loved one died due to a construction site injury, you could be entitled to damages with a wrongful death lawsuit. Morgan & Morgan understands that no amount of compensation can make up for losing a loved one. However, receiving a fair settlement can help family members of a fatally injured worker rebuild their lives without fearing future financial hardship. With a wrongful death lawsuit, the close family could be entitled to various damages, including:
- Lost income and benefits from the decedent
- Burial expenses
- Medical bills before the decedent’s death
- Pain and suffering of the victim
- Loss of parental guidance
It is crucial to note that family members must file wrongful death lawsuits within two years of the victim’s passing in New York or risk losing the right to pursue damages.
Our attorneys can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit and fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Much Does a New York City Construction Accident Lawyer Cost?
Attorney’s fees can vary from one firm to another. Before signing any agreements, ensure you know which attorney’s fees and legal expenses you are responsible for and when. For example, some firms charge their clients upfront legal costs, such as court filing fees.
When we take your case, you do not have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses as our fees are free unless and until you win and receive compensation. Morgan & Morgan wants injured workers and their families to have the best shot at getting what they deserve without having to worry about upfront expenses.
Morgan & Morgan Fights Hard for Injured NYC Construction Workers
We often see the emotional, physical, and financial implications of construction site injuries on victims and their families. However, you are not alone. When you are experiencing one of the most challenging times of your life, our tenacious and motivated attorneys can fight for the compensation you need. Contact Morgan & Morgan now for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your options.