The construction industry is one of the major contributors to the GDP of our country. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, it employs over 7.8 million workers and has a market size of about $1.8 trillion. While the industry’s contribution to the infrastructure development and economic growth of the country is immense, it is important to emphasize the legal responsibilities of its stakeholders.
Under personal injury law, construction companies, employers, builders, engineers, and other related parties owe a duty of care to keep the construction site in a safe and well-maintained state. They are responsible for providing safe working conditions to construction site workers. However, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), construction site accidents are one of the major causes of fatal occupational injuries.
New York City has a buzzing construction industry and Queens is home to many construction sites and employers. Nationwide, construction workers make up 19 percent of the total workplace deaths. In NYC, these workers make up 37.5 of the total workplace fatalities. These statistics are alarming.
Even though the situation may appear grim, victims can fight for the rightful compensation they deserve by filing a construction accident lawsuit in Queens with the help of a Queens construction accident lawyer. Contact the law firm of RMFW today to know more about your legal rights after a construction accident injury. Our legal team has more than 100 years of experience and has secured nearly $1 billion in total client settlements.
With the experience of handling more than 30,000 personal injury cases for injured residents of New York, our lawyers navigate through each legal requirement of the complicated construction accident claim filing process on behalf of their clients.
New York Labor Laws Applicable to Construction Sites
New York Labor Laws Apply to Construction Sites:
Section 200 relates to “general negligence” and imposes a general duty of care to protect the health and safety of construction site employees. It entitles the construction workers to safety devices necessary for their protection on the site. If an employer or third party fails to follow this rule, the injured worker may file a claim against them.
Section 240, also known as the “scaffold law” is aimed at protecting workers from gravity-related accidents. It covers slip and falls from scaffolds, ladders, lifts, roofs, ropes, open wiring, broken or uneven flooring, and even certain types of machinery. It also intends to protect workers from injuries due to falling objects.
Section 241 imposes strict liability on construction employers. The section lays down the mandatory laws that should be followed during construction, demolition, or excavation work. Under this section, workers can sue the employer for certain specific laws including regulations under Rule 23 of the New York Industrial Code.
While these sections may not be directly applicable to a personal injury claim for a construction accident, a violation of these laws may prove the negligence or carelessness of the at-fault party.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Construction sites are one of the most dangerous workplaces to work at. Construction workers have a high risk of getting injured due to the nature of their job. Some of the common types of construction site accidents are:
Height Related Accidents
Falls from ladders and heights account for over 40% of accident fatalities. Getting hit by falling objects or scaffolding collapses can lead to broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
Slip and Falls
Slip and falls happen frequently at construction sites. They can be due to broken or uneven surfaces; poor lighting; broken stairs; wet, slippery, or oily floors; debris, or cluttered surfaces.
Demolitions happen frequently at construction sites. If proper safety gear and machinery are not provided or safety protocols are not followed, explosives and blasts during demolitions can cause serious injuries to the workers involved.
Fires and Explosions
The presence of chemicals and gas, hazardous substances, electric equipment, and other flammable material at construction sites make them prone to fires and explosions. Apart from severe bodily injuries, these accidents can create breathing and respiratory issues as well.
A variety of small and large machinery is used at construction sites. Cranes, forklifts, bulldozers, drilling machines, and jackhammers are some of the machines commonly used at these sites. If proper safety gear is not provided or if these machines are faulty or poorly maintained, it may cause serious injuries to the operator.
If you are looking for a Queens forklift accidents lawyer or Queens crane accidents lawyer, contact the experienced legal team at RMFW law firm
Construction sites often have downed power lines, open wiring, and incomplete or temporary electrical systems. All of them increase the risk of getting injured due to electric shocks.
Falling debris, trench or ground collapses, repetitive stress injuries, elevator shaft accidents, caught-between accidents, toxic or chemical exposure, and getting hit by a vehicle on construction sites are other common types of construction accidents.
Who Can be Held Liable For a Construction Accident Injury?
Figuring out who is at fault for the victim’s injuries is essential for making a construction accident injury claim. Some of the parties that may be liable for a construction accident include:
- General contractors, independent contractors, and sub-contractors
- Vendors or suppliers
- Construction companies or builders
- Construction site managers
- Construction equipment manufacturers
- Electric equipment suppliers
- Raw material suppliers
- Vehicle driver
Determining fault and liability in a construction accident claim can be tricky. Sometimes, multiple parties may be responsible for the accident. Further, sometimes, a construction company may deny taking the blame on behalf of the workers who may be ”independent contractors.”
Injuries From Construction Accidents
Accidents often result in debilitating and life-chnging injuries. Some of the common injuries that occur due to accidents at construction sites include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Hip injuries
- Burns, cuts, and lacerations
- Vision or hearing loss
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Workers’ Compensation Claim v. Personal Injury Claim in Construction Accidents
In New York, workers injured in construction accidents can claim benefits under the workers’ compensation system, a personal injury claim, or both.
Under state law, New York employers and businesses are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover costs for on-the-job injuries. The worker must report the injury to the employer in writing within 30 days of the accident. However, benefits under workers’ compensation only cover economic losses and do not include damages for pain and suffering. Generally, workers’ compensation benefits will include payments for:
- Medical costs
- Lost income due to the injury
- Long-term disability
- Funeral costs in the event of death.
Thus, the benefits provided under the workers’ compensation system are limited and the final amount received will not be greater than the employer’s insurance coverage. If the victim suffered grave injuries along with pain and suffering from the accident, these benefits may not be enough to fairly compensate the worker.
To recover the damages not covered under the workers’ compensation system, the injured worker can file a personal injury claim against the negligent employer. If a third party was responsible for the accident, the victim can also file a third-party liability claim to recover compensation. New York follows the “pure comparative negligence rule.” This means that even if the third party was partly liable for the accident, an injury claim can be pursued against it.
Compensation Awarded in a Construction Accident Injury Claim
Generally, compensation in a construction accident injury claim may be awarded for:
- Medical costs not covered by workers’ compensation
- Future medical expenses including rehabilitation costs, therapy costs, and assisted living costs.
- Expenses for medical equipment or home remodeling (required in cases of long-term disability)
- Lost wages or income
- Future loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Property damage
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of limb
- Temporary or permanent disabilities
- Death benefits to surviving family members
What To Do After a Construction Accident Injury in Queens?
If you are the victim of a construction accident in Queens, you should consider taking the following steps after the accident:
- Immediately get medical treatment
- Report the injury to your employer
- Preserve all evidence including hospital bills; photos and videos of the construction site, accident spot, and your injuries; and other documentation
- Avoid speaking to insurance companies and accepting quick settlements without consulting an attorney. These settlements are lower than what the victim actually deserves.
- If there were any witnesses around, try to get their contact information
- Contact a Queens Accident Injury Attorney
Filing a Construction Accident Claim
Filing a construction accident claim in Queens is a complicated multi-step process. After you contact a Queens construction site accidents lawyer, the following steps are taken to file your construction accident claim:
The first step is investigating the cause of the accident. This is done by collecting the available evidence and getting witness statements. Other evidence includes pictures from the accident site, footage from the cameras at the site, investigation or OSHA reports, and medical reports of the injured.
However, it is not easy to gather evidence relating to the cause of the accident. Some parties may be hesitant in sharing the relevant information for their vested interests. Often, the victim may not be aware of the process to be followed to request evidence. A New York construction accident lawyer can assist the victim with gathering and analyzing evidence related to the accident.
Construction accidents may be complicated and an expert’s help may be required to reconstruct the accident scene and find out the cause. Attorneys handling such cases work with different types of experts who can use their expertise to determine what may have caused the accident. Such expert testimony also serves as important evidence during the claim-filing process.
After the evidence is collected and analyzed, the attorney will work toward determining who was responsible for the accident. At this stage, the negligent party will be identified and sometimes, more than one party may be responsible for the accident.
If more than one party was responsible for your accident, both of them may be liable to pay you compensation. Their liability will depend on the percentage of their fault. An NYC construction accident lawyer at the RMFW law firm can successfully help you with determining the liable party in your accident case.
Determining The Compensation Amount
The attorney will then work with the victim to determine the amount of compensation to be claimed from the negligent party. The claim amount is determined based on the severity of the injuries, the long-term impact on one’s life and earning capacity, and the estimated recovery time.
At the RMFW law firm, an accident lawyer works closely with the injured to understand their pain and suffering, do a detailed analysis of their medical reports, and finally figure out the impact of the injuries on the person’s life and work. Only after carefully studying these relevant details, our construction accident lawyer determines the compensation amount that the victim should ideally claim from the negligent party.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim With Insurance Companies
After determining the liable party and the amount of compensation to be claimed, the Queens accident injury lawyer will send a legal demand letter to the insurance company. The insurance company may either accept, reject, or negotiate the settlement. If a settlement is made, a formal settlement agreement will be signed between the parties involved.
Going to Trial
If a mutually agreeable settlement is not reached between the injured and the insurance company, the Queens personal injury lawyer will then prepare for going to trial and filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a Queens NY Construction Accident Lawyer
After suffering injuries from a construction accident in Queens, New York, one of the main concerns of the victim might be finding an experienced and reliable accident lawyer in Queens. If this is your concern too, contact the compassionate yet aggressive Queens accidents lawyer at our law firm today.
We help our clients through every step of the way during their legal recovery process. Our personal injury lawyer assists with:
- Investigating the case, determining the cause of the accident, and figuring out who was the negligent party
- Working with experts to build a strong case
- Determining if any construction laws were breached by the negligent party
- Determining the best legal strategy
- Calculating the amount of damages to be claimed
- Aggressively negotiating with the insurance companies for the maximum compensation possible
- Going to trial, if required
Fighting against construction employers and businesses for the fair compensation you deserve is tough. You need a Queens construction injury lawyer who can give your case personalized attention. Every construction accident is different and at our law firm, an accident injury lawyer will work relentlessly to prepare a strong and customized legal strategy for your case.
With over 100 years of legal experience, our law firm has handled over 30,000 personal injury cases for injured New Yorkers. NYC has a booming construction industry and we serve clients in all five boroughs of New York City. Contact us here or call us at 212-LAWYERS or 212-344-1000. to schedule a free consultation and get legal help from a Queens personal injury attorney today.