New York Construction Accident Attorneys
Construction is one of the largest and most economically significant industries in the United States. Carpenters, laborers, electricians, plumbers, masons, and sheet metal workers toil at construction jobs every day, building everything from houses and office buildings to roads and bridges.
Construction workers accept some risk in their work. However, that does not mean that they should go without compensation when they sustain serious, even fatal, injuries on the job. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction-related incident, speak with the New York construction accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, as soon as possible.
Our Construction Accident Law Practice
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, is a New York law firm that represents people injured by someone else’s careless or reckless actions. For over 40 years, our lawyers have committed their careers to protecting the rights of injured New Yorkers, especially injured construction workers who lose their health and livelihood in preventable incidents on New York construction sites.
Our team has a long and storied track record of success for injured clients. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. Of course, no construction accident claim has a guaranteed outcome. Construction workers who hire Jacoby & Meyers, LLP to help them recover compensation, however, can always rest assured that they have the support of a legal team with the resources and know-how to give them the best possible chance of obtaining the most money possible.
Our firm can also draw on the resources of a sister firm, which has a half-century of experience helping injured workers collect their hard-earned workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits. Find out more about them at https://www.foalaw.com/.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
Common Construction Accidents
In one recent year, a total of 267,400 workers labored in the construction industry in New York City. In the following year, construction employment in the greater New York City metropolitan area totaled 409,100 workers, the highest number of any U.S. city.
Sadly, more U.S. workers are injured or killed in construction-related accidents than in any other type of work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) statistics, approximately one in five work-related fatalities happen in construction jobs. During a 45-year career, there is a one in 200 chance that a construction worker will die from a work-related incident.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has ranked construction as New York’s deadliest industry. Troublingly, according to city data, worksite deaths are up 33 percent, and injuries are up by 221 percent compared to five years ago.
Construction workers face a variety of dangers on construction sites, all of which could result in serious or fatal injury. Among the most common of these potential accidents are:
- Falls. According to the CDC, falls constitute the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for about one-third of the total number of construction fatalities annually. Workers fall from ladders, non-moving vehicles, roofs, and scaffolds. Wet floors, uneven surfaces, job site clutter, the absence of or failure to properly use safety equipment, inadequate lighting, and many other factors may cause slip and falls.
- Electrical accidents. Electrocution is a leading cause of construction worker injuries and fatalities because construction jobs often involve power lines, wires, and other electrical equipment.
- Struck by accidents. Workers on construction sites must contend with a constant risk of getting hit by falling, flying, or moving debris, materials, and equipment. Heavy equipment, such as trucks, tractors, rail cars, loading vehicles, and cranes, cause over half of fatal struck-by accidents. Sometimes flying objects, such as a nail shot from a nail gun, or particles, or other items that have been shot, thrown, sprayed, or otherwise propelled, hit a worker.
- Confined space accidents. On a construction site, a worker may have to crawl into or out of a confined space, such as a tunnel, shaft, or manhole. Confined spaces may expose them to dangerous air conditions, cave-ins, or other dangerous situations.
- Power tools and hand tool accidents. Working with saws, nail guns, drills, power sanders, spray guns, electrical components, and hand tools often leads to construction injuries.
- Faulty equipment. Defective or poorly maintained equipment can cause amputations, broken bones, or other injuries.
- Improper storage, loading, and unloading. Moving heavy loads of materials and equipment can be risky if a load is not properly secured. Employers must train workers in proper safety training procedures.
- Chemical exposure. Many of the chemicals used on construction sites, such as lead, silica, asbestos, or mercury, are toxic and hazardous to worker health in the absence of safety precautions.
These are just some of the types of accidents and hazards that can harm construction workers in New York. No matter how you sustained your injury on a New York construction site, you have rights. An experienced construction accident injury attorney can help you protect them.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Accident Victims
In New York, workers’ compensation insurance benefits constitute the primary source of compensation for injuries sustained by construction workers on a job site. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance, paid for by New York employers, that covers employees against the medical and disability costs resulting from an at-work injury or illness.
Workers’ comp covers all work-related injuries and illnesses, regardless of who is at fault for causing them. Any employee of a New York construction business should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits; ask an attorney for help if you believe your employer has improperly classified you as something other than an employee.
In New York, workers’ compensation benefits consist of:
- Full coverage of medical care. All necessary medical costs related to the injury, regardless of how long the injury or recovery lasts. To receive payment, the treating physician must be authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
- Partial wage replacement. Workers receive a portion of their average weekly wage while they are recovering from their injuries.
- Disability benefits. Construction workers who get totally or partially disabled in a work-related accident can collect up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they can resume working. If employees can return to limited work, they may receive payment for the difference in their earning capacity.
- Death benefits. If an employee dies from a compensable injury, surviving spouses and children may receive weekly payments of two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage.
In requiring construction employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance covering their employees, New York law exempts those employers from having legal liability to those employees for civil damages. In other words, construction workers covered by workers’ comp insurance cannot sue their employers for causing a job site injury (except in the rare instance in which the employer intentionally harms the employee).
What if the Claim Is Denied?
Construction workers injured on the job in New York should seek medical care from a medical provider authorized by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). Workers should also notify their employers of their injuries, and file a workers’ compensation claim with the WCB.
Sometimes, however, even when a construction worker follows all of the necessary steps, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or the worker’s employer will deny the worker’s claim for benefits.
Common reasons insurers and employers give for denying a claim include:
- The employer or insurance company calls the injury or illness not related to a workplace injury;
- The employer or insurance company claims the employee did not meet deadlines for notifying the employer of the injury/illness, or for filing a claim;
- The employer argues that the worker had used drugs or alcohol at the time of injury, and thus disqualified from receiving benefits;
- The employer argues that the worker is an independent contractor, freelancer, or consultant, and ineligible for workers’ comp;
- The employer argues that the worker deliberately injured himself or herself, or tried to injure someone else.
Injured construction workers whose workers’ compensation claims have been denied have the right to seek review of the denial by the WCB. We urge any New York construction worker who receives notice of a claim denial to contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP or another qualified construction accident attorney as soon as possible to get a free case evaluation. The decisions you make at the beginning of the claim-denial appeals process can have a significant impact on your legal rights to receive benefits and to seek compensation from other sources.
Other Compensation Potentially Available to New York Construction Workers
As we explained above, New York construction workers covered by workers’ compensation insurance generally may not sue their employers for damages arising out of their construction accident injuries.
However, workers may have the right to take legal action against a third party—an individual or entity other than their employer—whose actions or decisions led to their construction accident injury. On a construction site, third parties with potential liability to a worker for accidental injuries may include:
- Other contractors. Construction sites play host to numerous contractors simultaneously. Though contractors may coordinate their efforts with each other, they each have their own employees. So, if the employees of one contractor make poor decisions or take dangerous actions that end up harming a different contractor’s employee, the injured worker may have a legal claim against the contractor whose employees did him harm.
- Engineers and architects. Construction workers rely on plans developed by engineers and architects to guide their work. If those plans contain errors that put workers in harm’s way, then the designers may have a legal liability.
- Equipment manufacturers. Construction workers rely on all sorts of equipment, from safety gear to power tools, in performing their jobs. If defects make that equipment unreasonably dangerous to use, the equipment’s manufacturers may have a legal liability to any construction worker harmed by using it.
Construction workers who sustain injuries because of the dangerous actions of third parties should consult our experienced New York construction accident attorneys right away. Pursuing a third party claim can affect a worker’s rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits, so it is important to have an attorney who understands how to protect the worker’s rights.
How Our Experienced New York Construction Accident Attorney Can Help
Construction workers injured in preventable incidents on New York construction sites frequently find their lives turned upside-down. At the same moment they confront a serious, life-altering injury, they also have to contend with a confusing, frustrating workers’ compensation claim process. They need assistance, but do not know where to turn.
The experienced New York construction accident injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can help in several ways. First, the lawyer can guide the injured construction worker through the necessary steps involved in seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and can provide advice that gives the worker the best chance of obtaining maximum benefits. Second, the lawyer can help the worker appeal any partial or total denial of a workers’ compensation claim. Third, the lawyer can investigate the worker’s construction accident to determine whether there are third parties who may have a legal liability to the worker for damages.
Do not believe the WCB’s claims that it is easy to file a workers’ compensation claim in New York. The form you must fill out to obtain benefits contains detailed questions about the circumstances of the construction accident that injured you and the nature of your injuries and disabilities. Construction workers who lack familiarity with workers’ compensation insurance can easily make mistakes answering these questions that lead to a partial or total denial of benefits they need and deserve. Let a lawyer help you prepare and pursue your claim, so that you avoid making errors that cost you valuable legal rights.
What Should You Do After a New York Construction Accident?
Immediately after a New York accident, report the accident to your employer and seek medical attention from an authorized provider. Even if you think you have not been injured, seek medical care to make sure. Doing so protects your help and generates medical records that could support your claim later.
Then, contact an experienced New York construction accident and workers’ compensation attorney from Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. We have the resources and know-how to protect and enforce your rights to workers’ compensation benefits and third party damages. For a free case evaluation, call Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, at (877) 565-2993, chat with a live representative, or contact us online.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
39 Broadway Suite 1910,
New York, NY 10006