Bronx Construction Accident Attorneys
Walk any street in the Bronx and you have a good chance of seeing an active construction site. With a strong economy and growing housing market, the demand for new construction throughout New York City is on the rise. Unfortunately, that growth has a downside. In recent years, not only has the number of construction sites increased, so has the number of injuries and deaths suffered by construction workers.
According to CBS News, there has been a 33 percent rise in workplace deaths on construction sites in New York City in the past five years. Injuries have seen an even bigger growth, rising by a staggering 221 percent. Construction sites have always been dangerous. But these numbers are alarming.
If you were injured in a construction site accident, contact our experienced Bronx personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, for a free case evaluation.
About Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
It’s been nearly 50 years since we first opened our doors at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. As a law firm, our goal has always been to provide compassionate, dedicated work to our clients. Although we have offices in three states, we like to think of ourselves as a local law firm. Our lawyers live in the community and as a law firm, our goal is to give back to that same community. When a member of our community is injured, we want to help. Our case results show some of the ways that we have done so.
With a team of lawyers with various backgrounds, we can pool our resources to provide comprehensive care and knowledge to every case we take on. We want to be accessible to you and will work with you in the office or the hospital, if need be to help you get what you deserve. Our focus is on our clients. As such, we believe that you shouldn’t have to pay any legal fees unless we help you secure money from your claim.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, by the way, has another resource we can draw on—a sister firm that has spent more than 50 years helping injured workers with workers’ comp and Social Security disability claims. Find out more about their work at https://www.foalaw.com/.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
The Types of Cases We Handle
There is no such thing as a simple construction accident. Construction accidents are complex and can involve a wide range of circumstances, complexities, and parties. It’s our job to help our clients navigate their claims and find the approach that’s right for their case. We work with accident victims involved in different types of construction accidents.
This may include:
- Building collapses: New building construction and building renovations encompass a large portion of the construction sector. When construction is inadequate or materials fail, it may result in a structural collapse. This is dangerous for workers and can lead to serious injury or death.
- Falls: New York’s Scaffold Law protects workers in the event of a “gravity-related” event. This includes falls from a higher level or when an object falls from above. This law imposes absolute liability on the property owner or contractor, regardless of whether the worker contributed to the accident.
- Chemical exposure: Construction workers frequently come in contact with hazardous chemicals. This may include gas, tar, paint thinners, or other toxic chemicals. This exposure can lead to burns, blindness, or respiratory issues.
- Explosions: Explosions on a job site can have catastrophic consequences. An explosion may result from a chemical reaction or faulty electrical systems or gas lines. Explosions can result in serious burns, traumatic injuries, or death.
- Pinch injuries: Construction sites are full of moving equipment. It’s easy for a worker or body part to become trapped in between a moving object or become caught in equipment. This may lead to crush injuries, including broken bones, or injuries that threaten the limbs.
- Motor vehicle accidents: On-the-job injuries can happen when a worker is driving on the job or when another driver hits them while they are working on the road. In this case, you may be able to make a workers’ compensation claim and file a suit against the driver’s auto insurance.
Why You Need a Construction Accident Attorney
Virtually all construction workers who get hurt on the job in the Bronx have the right to important medical and disability benefits under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. Having the right to get those benefits, and actually receiving those benefits, however, are two different propositions. No matter what the New York Workers’ Compensation Board tells you, obtaining maximum workers’ comp benefits is not easy. A lawyer can help.
Many injured construction workers and their families fail to realize that they can hire an attorney to help them pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Employers and workers’ comp carriers would like employee victims of construction site accidents to believe that the whole process is straightforward and out of the workers’ control. That is not true.
A workers’ compensation claim is, in many ways, similar to any other type of insurance claim. It matters, a lot, how the injured worker presents the claim to the employer and the workers’ comp carrier. A claim prepared incorrectly or without enough supporting information could get denied. A well-prepared, well-supported claim, however, could receive maximum benefits right off the bat.
That is why it is always a good idea for injured construction workers and their families to seek the advice of an experienced Bronx workers’ compensation attorney who can help them prepare, pursue, and (if necessary) appeal a claim. Some of the aspects of a claim an experienced lawyer can help with are:
- Matching workers with the right doctor: New York workers’ compensation law requires injured construction workers to obtain medical care from a doctor “authorized” by the state Workers’ Compensation Board. Sometimes, an employer can also dictate what doctor (or network of doctors) an injured worker can see. Seeking care from the wrong doctor can stick injured construction workers and their families with the bill for that care. An attorney can help workers avoid that mistake.
- Gathering evidence: To prepare and present a thorough workers’ compensation claim, workers need supporting evidence, which can take the form of medical records, incident reports, or witness statements. Workers’ compensation attorneys spend their careers gathering this kind of information. They know where to look for it, how to obtain it, and how to use it to maximum advantage in a client’s workers’ comp claim.
- Negotiating settlements: Sometimes, a workers’ compensation insurance company will approve a claim straight away. That’s if you are lucky. Many workers, however, receive a response from the insurer that denies part or all of their claim. In those cases, an attorney can help workers negotiate with the workers’ comp carrier, and the insurer to reverse its decision and pay the maximum benefits the construction worker needs and deserves.
- Participating in hearings: Sometimes, a workers’ compensation claim ends up in a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Board. These hearings resemble informal trials. The Board tells injured construction workers that they do not necessarily need an attorney to represent them at a hearing. Do not follow that advice. What happens at a hearing impacts an injured construction worker’s rights in ways that most workers do not realize. An experienced Bronx construction accident attorney can help workers avoid making mistakes that cost them benefits.
What Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers
The purpose of a workers’ comp claim is to help injured Bronx construction workers pay medical and disability-related expenses until they can return to work. The benefits required under New York law include:
- Medical costs: Workers’ compensation insurance pays all necessary medical costs associated with a work-related injury or illness, so long as the injured construction worker seeks medical care from an “authorized” medical provider.
- Cash disability benefits: Construction workers whose injury from a construction accident leaves them temporarily or permanently disabled and out of work can receive cash payments for the period of their disability that replace part (but not all) of the worker’s lost income.
- Death benefits: Workers’ comp insurance pays a “death benefit” to families of construction workers who die in construction accidents. These benefits resemble cash disability benefits. In addition, families can receive a one-time cash payment to help pay for funeral and burial expenses.
Construction Accident Personal Injury Claims Separate From Workers’ Comp Claims
New York workers’ compensation laws come with a trade-off. They require (virtually) all construction industry employers to pay for workers’ compensation insurance for all employees. In exchange, they let employers off-the-hook for legal liability in a construction accident that injures an employee. In other words, because workers’ comp covers construction workers in the event of an accident, injured workers cannot sue their employers for their injuries.
However, that rule only applies to suing employers. If someone other than an employer (or a co-worker) made a bad decision or took a dangerous action that led to a construction accident, then regardless of workers’ comp, a construction worker injured in the accident may still have the right to sue that so-called “third party” for damages. Who might have liability as a “third party”?
- Another contractor: On any Bronx construction site, employees of multiple different contractors typically work side-by-side. An accident caused by employees of one contractor can injure the employees of another. In that case, the contractor of the employees who caused the injuries may have liability.
- A motor vehicle driver: Road construction projects in the Bronx can put workers at risk of collisions with cars and trucks. A road construction worker injured in a collision with a motor vehicle may have the right to take legal action against the driver.
- A property owner: A construction injury that happens on private property can trigger New York’s scaffolding law, which can make the property owner liable for injuries, regardless of fault.
These are just a few examples, of course. Speak with an experienced construction accident lawyer to find out if you have a “third party” claim for your construction accident injuries, and about how suing a “third party” could affect the amount of workers’ comp benefits you receive.
What to Do After a Construction Accident
What you do in the days and weeks following your Bronx construction accident can have a big impact on the outcome of your case. That is why you should try to be very careful about what you say and do after sustaining an injury on a job site. An experienced attorney can help you determine exactly what steps you will need to take after an accident.
Until you speak with us, however, keep the following tips in mind:
- Notify your employer: Notify your employer right away about your construction accident injury to protect your rights to workers’ comp benefits. Ideally, telling a supervisor or someone else in charge should be the first thing you should do if you after getting injured if you do not have an injury that requires emergency medical attention. In any case, you must notify your employer within 30 days of your injury. Failure to do so may damage your rights to workers’ comp insurance.
- Go to the doctor: In the event of a medical emergency, go to the closest hospital. If you do not need emergency care, seek care from an authorized provider (an experienced Bronx construction accident attorney can point you to one, if need be).
- Contact our experienced Bronx construction accident attorneys: Do not wait to speak with an experienced attorney about your construction accident injuries. You have only a limited amount of time to take legal action, and the steps you take in the days and weeks after a construction accident can have a significant impact on your right to receive the workers’ comp benefits and other compensation that you deserve.
Bronx Construction Accident FAQ
Throughout The Bronx, workers and bystanders on construction sites routinely suffer preventable, catastrophic injuries because of unsafe conditions or actions. Injured workers and their families frequently seek our help here at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, coming to us with pressing questions about their legal and financial rights. Below we answer some of the most common of those questions.
For answers to specific questions about a Bronx construction that has harmed you or your loved one, contact our experienced construction accident injury attorneys today.
I got hurt as a worker on a Bronx construction site. What are my rights to compensation?
As a worker who suffered an injury on a Bronx construction site, you likely have the right to receive compensation from at least one of the following sources:
- Workers’ compensation insurance. Virtually all Bronx construction workers have the right to receive compensation from an employer-provided workers’ compensation insurance policy for any injury that they suffer on a job site in connection with their work. Workers’ comp pays for medical and disability-related expenses related to an on-the-job injury or illness, regardless of fault for the injury.
- Labor Law §200, §240 (the “Scaffold Law”), & §241. New York statutes offer added protection for Bronx construction workers subjected to certain unsafe conditions on job sites (other than work on one and two family dwellings). These laws generally require property owners, general contractors, and their agents to provide a safe worksite, and subject them to legal liability for injuries workers suffer. Under the so-called “Scaffold Law”, those parties’ can even have absolute (or strict) liability for injuries involving falls (or falling objects). Liability under these laws applies to any owner, general contractor, or agent who is not the worker’s employer.
- Third party claims. Bronx construction workers injured because of the wrongful decisions or actions of a third party on or in connection with a job site (someone other than their employer or co-worker), may also have a legal claim for damages against that third party. For example, the manufacturer of a piece of defective construction equipment that injures a worker may have liability for the worker’s injuries.
There is no absolute guarantee that a worker has the right to receive compensation from all (or, indeed, any) of the sources above, of course. Every Bronx construction incident has its own unique facts and circumstances that determine a worker’s rights. To find out about your specific rights, contact an experienced construction accident injury attorney today.
Does that mean I can sue someone for my injuries?
Possibly, but not always. Here’s what we mean.
If you are one of the vast majority of Bronx construction workers covered by workers’ compensation insurance against the costs of an on-the-job injury, then in most cases you cannot sue your employer or co-worker for causing your injury. Under New York workers’ compensation law, your exclusive remedy against your employer is collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
This might seem a little unfair if, say, your employer caused your injury by violating work safety rules, but the trade-off is that you also have the right to receive workers’ comp benefits even if you bear the blame for your own injury (so long as you were not intoxicated when it happened, and did not intentionally hurt yourself).
That said, if your injury resulted from either a violation of one of the three Labor Law provisions above, or from the wrongful actions of a third party, then you might also have the right to sue a property owner, general contractor, contractor’s agent, or some other legally-liable third party for your injuries.
In rare cases, you might also have the right to sue your own employer, such as if your employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance as required, or if your employer intentionally caused you harm. Finally, if you suffered an injury on a job site while there in some capacity other than as a worker, then you likely have a right to sue anyone at fault for causing you harm.
Finally, you may well need to sue the workers’ comp insurance company to get the benefits you deserve.
Working with an experienced Bronx construction accident injury attorney is the best way to determine who you might have the right to sue for your construction-related injuries.
How much money can I get for my Bronx construction injuries?
It really depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your Bronx construction accident, and which of the sources of compensation described above you might have the right to pursue.
Workers’ compensation insurance benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance provides three general categories of benefits for most workers and their families.
- Medical benefits that pay 100 percent of the cost of medical care for a work-related injury, including all emergency care, hospitalizations, doctor visits, medications, medical equipment, and therapy;
- Cash benefits that pay 66 ⅔ percent of your weekly wage, multiplied by your percentage of disability, for the period of time that any injury-related disability keeps you out of work or unable to work in the same capacity as before; and
- Death benefits for families of Bronx construction workers who die in construction site incidents, which pay weekly benefits similar to the cash benefits above, plus a fixed amount for funeral and burial expenses.
Workers’ compensation insurance pays most of your medical benefits directly to medical providers. So, the amount of money that goes into your pocket as benefits depends upon your wage and your percentage of disability. Speak with an experienced construction accident and workers’ compensation lawyer to explore the maximum benefits you have the right to receive for your injuries and disabilities.
Financial damages obtained through lawsuits. If you (also) have the legal right to take legal action against someone for your injuries, either in a claim under the general Labor Law, the Scaffold Law, or against a third party, then you may recover compensation in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits.
No lawyer can say for certain how much (if any) money you might recover through a lawsuit related to your Bronx construction accident.
As a general matter, Bronx construction workers who take legal action for their injuries may recover compensation to pay for:
- Medical care, as described above, over-and-above what is already paid by workers’ comp benefits;
- Non-medical expenses that you incur as a result of your construction accident injuries, such as the cost of paying for childcare while you recover, of specialized transportation services to help you get around, or of modifying your home to accommodate injury-related disabilities;
- Lost current and future wages over and above those paid by workers’ comp benefits;
- Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life resulting from your construction accident-related injury, such as your discomfort, emotional anguish, and harm to your ability to enjoy activities and sustain meaningful relationships; and
- Punitive damages in the rare case involving extremely outrageous conduct on the part of the party whose actions injured you.
The amount of these damages can vary widely depending upon the nature and severity of a worker’s injury, its impact on the worker’s life, and the financial resources of the party with legal liability. If you also receive workers’ comp benefits for your injury, then any money you recover through a lawsuit will first go to paying back the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, in most cases. Speak with an experienced Bronx construction accident injury attorney to learn about the amount of damages you may have the right to recover for your injuries.
My spouse/family member died in a Bronx construction accident. What rights do I have?
Your rights as the surviving spouse or family member of a Bronx construction worker who died in a job-related accident resemble the rights your loved one would have had.
- Workers’ compensation death benefits. Assuming your loved one was covered by workers’ comp insurance, your family likely has the right to receive the death benefits described above, consisting of a portion of your loved one’s weekly wage plus funeral and burial expenses.
- Wrongful death and survival claims. You and your family may also have the right to benefit from the filing of a lawsuit by the personal representative of your loved one’s estate (the body of assets, liabilities, and legal rights your loved one left behind). A wrongful death lawsuit can entitle you and your family to recover the financial damages your loved one’s death caused. A survival lawsuit can entitle your loved one’s estate to recover compensation for the harm your loved one suffered before dying from construction accident-related injuries.
An experienced Bronx construction accident and wrongful death attorney can help you and your family understand your legal rights during this difficult time.
What if my employer blames me for my construction injury?
Unless you intentionally caused your own construction accident injury, or you were drunk or high when the accident happened, you should still have the right to receive workers’ compensation insurance benefits for your injury. If your employer or a workers’ comp insurance company tells you otherwise, then contact an experienced Bronx workers’ compensation and construction accident lawyer right away.
Likewise, under the provisions of the Scaffold Law, a property owner, general contractor, or contractor’s agent can have absolute liability for your injury, even if you contributed to causing it.
In other words, even if your employer is right that your actions played a role in causing your Bronx construction accident injuries, there is still a good chance you have the right to compensation. Always speak with a construction accident lawyer before assuming that you do not have rights.
What steps should I take now?
Following these general steps can help to protect your legal and financial rights after a Bronx construction accident.
Get medical care. No matter how or under what circumstances your Bronx construction accident injury happened, always make getting medical care your first priority. Have someone call an ambulance or go to the emergency room for anything more than a cut you can treat with some disinfectant and a Band-Aid. Always follow-up with your regular doctor or an urgent care (walk-in) clinic within 24 hours of getting hurt, too.
Why is medical care so important? For several reasons. First, this is your health we’re talking about. You need to protect it. Second, to obtain the compensation and benefits you deserve, you need to show that you sought and followed medical treatment; in other words, that you did not ignore your injury and make it worse. Third, by going to the doctor, you create medical records that will help to prove your right to receive compensation from workers’ comp, through a lawsuit, or both.
Notify your employer. Your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits depends on you notifying your employer right away about your injury. Tell a supervisor immediately, and follow up within 30 days with a written notification. Notifying your employer sets the workers’ compensation insurance process in motion, and helps to ensure you receive the care and compensation you need.
In telling your employer what happened, stick to the facts. Do not apologize. Do not say anything that someone could misinterpret as you taking the blame for your injury. Only say what happened and how you’ve been hurt.
Contact an experienced Bronx construction accident injury lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. Do not wait to seek legal advice about your Bronx construction accident injury. The time you have to protect and pursue your legal right to compensation is very short; just 30 days when it comes to workers’ comp, and as little as six months if you have the right to file a lawsuit for damages. Speaking with an experienced Bronx construction accident as soon as possible after your injury can help to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines for getting the money you deserve.
Hiring an experienced construction accident injury attorney in the Bronx does not cost you any money up-front. Lawyers for Bronx construction accident victims work on contingency, which means their legal fees only get paid if they recover compensation on their clients’ behalf. This arrangement gives injured construction workers and their families access to top-quality lawyers, and gives the lawyers a strong incentive to obtain the maximum compensation possible for their clients.
Get The Help You Deserve: Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Bronx Construction Accident Lawyers
After a Bronx construction accident, it’s natural to have apprehensions about what the future may hold. Facing the prospect of fighting with a workers’ compensation insurance company can feel overwhelming. Know that as an employee, you have rights.
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have over four decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured Bronx construction workers. With offices throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, we make it easy to connect with our team. Our Bronx office is located at 656 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458. Contact us today, begin an online, confidential chat with us, or dial (718) 294-0813 for a free case evaluation.