Newark Construction Accident Attorney
New Jersey might be known as the Garden State, but for over a century, its largest city, Newark, has been a capital of commerce and industry. Newark has almost never stopped growing, and with that growth comes a constant need for revitalization and new-building unseen in other parts of the country. Construction is, and will remain, a backbone of the Newark and North Jersey economy.
Growth and development come with a cost, however. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 28 percent of all workplace fatalities in the Garden State occur in the construction industry, and approximately 4,400 construction workers sustained non-fatal injuries on the job. Each of these injuries and fatalities represents a body damaged (sometimes beyond repair), a worker who cannot provide for his family, or a lifetime of pain and difficulty.
No one’s workday on a construction site should ever end in devastation or tragedy. Under New Jersey law, injured construction workers, and families of workers who die on construction sites, have the right to compensation for their pain and losses. The Jacoby & Meyers Newark Construction Accident lawyers, fight for the rights of those injured construction workers and grieving families. Contact us today to learn about how our team of dedicated legal professionals can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.
Our Newark-area Construction Accident Law Practice
For nearly 50 years, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has represented clients whose lives have been shattered by a preventable injury or tragic death. Construction accidents, and the victims they leave behind, have long represented a focus of our law practice.
We are a North Jersey law firm, through-and-through. Our Newark offices are located at 50 Park Place, across the street from Military Park and next to the New Jersey Historical Society.
Why have an office in Newark when we also have a strong presence just a few miles away in Manhattan? Because we believe that our clients deserve top-flight legal representation in their communities. No construction worker injured on the job in Newark or anywhere else in New Jersey should have to go out-of-state to find a strong, sophisticated lawyer to stand up to employers, developers and insurance companies. We are a team of New Jersey lawyers who fight for New Jersey construction workers, and have a hard-won track record of getting results.
Moreover, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has the advantage of having a sister company that has 50 years of experience helping injured workers collect workers’ compensation and Social Security disability insurance. Find out more about them at https://www.foalaw.com/ and see how we can leverage their help in your case.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
Your Right to a Safe Work Environment
As a New Jersey construction worker, you have a right to a safe workplace. Employers in the North Jersey construction industry have an obligation to comply with safety regulations issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workers who believe their employers have failed to live up to those regulations may file a complaint with OSHA to request an inspection of their workplace. Unfortunately, however, an OSHA complaint cannot fix things when a construction worker sustains a serious or fatal injury on the job, at least not on its own.
Before filing an OSHA complaint after sustaining a construction site injury, speak with an experienced New Jersey construction accident injury attorney.
Common Causes of Newark Construction Accident Injuries
Preventable injuries can occur on a Newark construction site in a variety of ways. Four of the most common (dubbed the Fatal Four by OHSA) are:
- Falls constitute the single most significant cause of severe injuries and fatalities on construction sites. Construction work often takes place at high heights, in areas with open or void spaces in floors and walls, on uneven or unstable surfaces, and around ground-level obstructions that can easily cause someone to trip. Construction workers need regular training in fall prevention and should always use functioning safety equipment. Falls on construction sites can inflict massive traumatic injuries.
- Being struck by an object. Anywhere someone works at heights, the danger exists for tools and materials to fall from those heights and injure someone below. Likewise, wherever workers use power tools, they and others around them must run the risk of being struck by debris propelled outwards from those tools. The danger of being struck by an object, large or small, lies at the heart of requirements that construction workers wear hardhats and protective eyewear. Even with those protections, however, severe injury and even death can result from being struck an object falling or flying through the air at high speed.
- Electrocutions. The danger of coming into contact with a powerful electric current exists for everyone on a construction site, not just electricians. Without proper safety precautions, workers can risk severing a buried or hidden power conduit with a tool or while demolishing a structure. They can receive powerful electric shocks from malfunctioning or ungrounded equipment. And, when working at heights and exposed to the elements, they can run the risk of accidentally contacting power lines or being struck by lightning. Which all can cause extreme damage to the central nervous system and of course burn injuries.
- Caught-in/between accidents. Construction workers who do their jobs below ground-level or in tight spaces risk getting pinched, compressed, or buried under building material, dirt, or debris.
These Fatal Four construction site accidents account for more than half of all deaths on construction sites every year. No matter what the accident that led to your construction injury, however, you deserve compensation. Speak with an experienced Newark construction accident lawyer to learn more.
Four Factors Increase Risks of Construction Accidents
The accidents listed above reflect constant risks on Newark and North Jersey construction sites. Still, few of those incidents are inevitable. For the most part, construction accidents stem from preventable human factors, such as:
- Lack of training: Employers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure their workforce has the proper safety training to perform construction jobs safely. Unfortunately, whether as a cost or time-saving measure, or out of sheer negligence, many employers fail to train their workers adequately, leaving those workers at risk of harm.
- Insufficient safety precautions or equipment: Even when employers train employees properly, those efforts come to nothing if employers, property owners, and workers themselves do not follow safe practices on a job site, or do not have the equipment necessary to follow those procedures.
- Lack of supervision: A team leader must ensure that everyone does their part, not just to get the job done, but also to ensure they do it safely. Coordination is critical in complex and dangerous work environments like construction sites. Supervision must include making sure that everyone uses their tools and safety equipment properly.
- Failures of communication: Newark is a city of immigrants, some of them new to the country. Visit a construction site in and around the city and you are likely to hear a variety of languages other than English being spoken by work crews, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and on and on. With so many languages being spoken on construction sites, the need for clear communication becomes more vital than ever to protect worker safety. Even sites where everyone speaks a common language can struggle with communication between different contractors, which inevitably puts workers at risk.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Newark-area Construction Workers
New Jersey law requires virtually all construction-industry employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees against the medical and disability costs associated with a work-related injury or illness. If you get hurt on a Newark or North Jersey construction job, chances are high that you have rights to receive workers’ comp benefits, regardless of who was at fault in the construction accident.
Workers’ compensation insurance typically entitles injured workers to the following benefits:
Workers’ comp covers all medical costs associated with treating a work-related injury or illness, from emergency care to long-term therapy. Be aware, however, that in New Jersey your employer has the right to choose the doctor or medical provider from whom you receive care (with the general exception of medical emergencies). Check with your employer before scheduling an appointment with a medical provider to treat a work-related injury or illness.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If your construction job-related injury or illness keeps you off the job for longer than seven days, then workers’ comp pays you 70 percent of your weekly wage (subject to certain caps) until you return to work.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
An injury that leaves a construction worker partially disabled entitles the worker to receive partial disability benefit payments once temporary disability payments end. These benefits are based on a percentage of the employee’s disability, and depend on the type of disability the employee has suffered.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
These benefits compensate construction workers who have lost “two major members or a combination of members of the body such as eyes, arms, legs, hands, or feet.” Initially these benefits last 450 weeks, but may continue after that.
Other Sources of Compensation for Newark Construction Injuries
Workers’ comp pays benefits to all workers, no matter the cause of an accident on a construction job site. In exchange for requiring employers to purchase that insurance for their employers, New Jersey law exempts employers from liability for causing a worker’s injury in most (but not all) circumstances. That means that Newark construction workers usually (but not always) cannot sue their employers for work-related injuries and illnesses. When it comes to compensation paid for by an injured construction worker’s employer, workers’ compensation insurance is generally your only option.
That does not mean, however, that injured workers cannot hold others accountable for causing a work-related injury or illness. In New Jersey, as elsewhere, a construction accident caused by someone other than an employer or coworker of the injured victim could spell liability for the person or entity at fault.
In other words, construction workers may have the ability to sue a third party for their injuries, such as:
- Other contractors whose employees caused a construction accident;
- Property owners whose actions or decisions made the job site unreasonably dangerous for workers to visit; and
- Equipment or building material manufacturers who supplied products that were unreasonably dangerous for workers to use.
Speak with our experienced Newark construction accident injury attorneys today to learn more about whether you have the right to seek compensation from a third party (or even from your employer) after a construction injury. Taking legal action against a third party could affect your right to receive workers’ comp benefits, so be sure your attorney understands the interplay between New Jersey’s personal injury and workers’ compensation laws.
Undocumented Newark Construction Workers Have Rights
Undocumented immigrant construction workers have protections under New Jersey law. In virtually all cases, workers’ compensation insurance covers workers even if they are in the country and/or working illegally. So do employers’ obligations to provide a safe work environment. The law still protects you even if you are an undocumented worker.
If you have sustained an injury on a North Jersey construction site and you are undocumented or otherwise ineligible to work because of your immigration status, speak with an experienced Newark construction accident attorney right away. You have rights to compensation, but to protect them you need legal help immediately. Speaking with a lawyer is 100 percent confidential and does not put you at risk from ICE.
Call Our Newark Construction Accident Law Firm Now
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP is a full-service plaintiff’s law firm. Our Newark lawyers commit their careers to fighting for the rights of injured New Jersey residents and workers. No matter how long you have lived or worked in the Garden State, our team of legal professionals will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.
Do not wait to speak with a member of our team about your Newark or North Jersey construction accident injury. Your rights to receive compensation require that you act quickly. Waiting to speak with a lawyer could result in you losing important workers’ compensation benefits and other sources of payment for your injuries and losses. Contact the experienced construction accident injury lawyers in the Newark office of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today. You can chat with one of our live representatives, call (973) 643-2707 or click here for a free evaluation of your case.
Newark Construction Accident FAQs
Newark construction accidents are unfortunately common. Construction sites are full of hazards, from equipment and machinery to electrical outlets and high working platforms. While many accidents are caused by malfunctions in machinery, some are also the result of human error.
If you have sustained injuries in a Newark construction accident, you know it’s not easy. You and your family have had to suffer through so much pain, financial insecurity, stress, and trauma. You probably have many questions about your future and how to truly begin the recovery process after a construction accident. That’s how we can help.
On this page, you’ll find answers to the questions that victims of construction accidents most commonly ask us at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. You’ll also find guidelines for handling construction accidents and steps to take to maximize your future. With a little help, we hope you will soon be well on your way to recovery.
Q: How do Newark construction accidents happen?
A: The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that over 1,000 worker deaths per year occur in the construction industry, accounting for about 20 percent of total worker deaths. Construction accidents are common because of the dangerous nature of the job and the many hazards found on a construction worksite.
There are four main causes of construction injury and death, according to OSHA. These include:
- Falling. Cranes are a common staple at construction sites. Construction workers often build skyscrapers and work on the roofs of homes or other buildings. Falling is a natural outcome of working in such environments without security from ropes or guardrails.
- Being hit by vehicles. Constructions sites are usually full of cranes, large trucks, and other working vehicles that provide necessary aid to workers needing to move large loads from place to place. Unfortunately, these vehicles are often difficult to navigate and can easily hit someone if the driver can’t see or is inattentive. Citizen drivers often commonly drive too quickly through construction sites and strike workers.
- Getting caught in trenches or in between objects and crushed. There are many big, bulky objects at construction sites, and most of these objects are moved around regularly. The chance of a worker getting caught and crushed between some of these objects is high.
- Getting Electrocuted. Most construction sites are home to a wide variety of machines. In addition, many sites where homes and buildings are being built have electrical wiring out in the open. It’s not hard for a construction worker to accidentally come into contact with one or more of these electrical objects and suffer from electrocution.
Most construction accidents occur due to human error. In some instances, it’s not the fault of the worker but of others on the site who didn’t properly care for construction equipment, watch where they were driving, or provide proper protection. In such cases, a construction worker can claim that someone else’s negligence caused the accident.
Q: How does negligence affect construction accidents?
A: Negligence constitutes conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. Individuals act negligently when they have departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.
Everyone owes the general public some level of duty of care, whether to friends and family, coworkers, or just strangers on the street. For example, drivers have a duty to provide reasonable care to other drivers by refusing to drive under the influence or to speed recklessly. When people fail to uphold this duty, the legal term used to describe the failure is negligence.
Not all construction accidents occur due to negligence. However, in some cases, the manager of a site or the driver of a vehicle may have acted with negligence. For example, OSHA has developed a booklet of Recommended Practices for Health and Safety programs to help managers of construction sites care for their workers.
According to OSHA, responsible employers know that the main goal of a safety and health program is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship that these events can cause for workers, their families, and their employers. Employers must take due care to protect and provide for their employees and their families. OSHA recommends involving employees and employers in actively watching for and fixing hazards before they arise.
New York law has a few more things to say about using negligence in a construction accident claim:
- First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted negligently and had control over the plaintiff and his or her work.
- Second, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant knowingly and willfully allowed a dangerous situation to continue on the worksite.
- Third, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence to ameliorate the danger caused by an accident.
- Fourth, the plaintiff must prove that the accident led to a serious, preventable injury.
If you have been in a construction site accident that you know was caused by the negligence of someone in control of your work or someone who was grossly negligent, such as a careless driver, you can pursue compensation from the at-fault party or parties.
Q: What injuries are common after a construction accident?
A: The injuries that result from construction accidents are often serious and include:
- Burns and scars, often resulting from electrocution or chemical leaks that lead to skin damage.
- Head injuries, common in falls and accidents involving machines or vehicles.
- Spinal cord injuries, usually the result of falls, which can lead to paralysis and other serious side effects.
- Cuts and lacerations, usually just common cuts picked up in the course of the job.
- Broken bones and fractures, usually because of a fall or being crushed by large objects.
- Limb or digit loss, often caused by the improper use of large machinery or by amputation due to infection from other injuries.
- Hearing loss, caused by loud machinery or head trauma.
- Stress injuries to the back or other joints forced to constantly move in repetitive and harmful motions.
- Heatstroke, caused by working long hours outside in the hot weather.
- Vision loss, usually because of chemical exposure.
If you have suffered any of these injuries, you should immediately seek care, no matter how the injury occurred.
Q: Does workers’ compensation insurance bar me from filing a lawsuit?
A: New York requires employers to provide workers’ compensation to their employees. In most cases, you cannot sue your employer if it provided you with workers’ compensation insurance. However, you may qualify to sue an independent party who acted negligently. If your employer was blatantly negligent and intentionally allowed your accident to happen, you can still attempt to sue the employer for negligence. The experienced legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP can help determine your eligibility to file a lawsuit.
Q: What types of damages can I claim following a Newark construction accident?
A: You can claim all the typical damages you may incur from a construction accident.
These may include:
- Pain and suffering. This blanket term covers most of the physical and mental pain you suffer because of your injuries.
- Emotional distress. Any accident can result in severe emotional trauma and distress. If you find that you are struggling with emotional pain and/or need to see a therapist after an accident, you can claim your distress as non-economic damages.
- Medical expenses. In any injury case, you will have a lot of expenses to take care of, from initial treatment to surgeries to pharmacy costs to ongoing therapy expenses. You can claim all of these expenses in a typical construction accident claim.
- Loss of income. If you are forced to take time off work to recover from the accident, you can claim the wages lost as damages.
- Loss of earning capacity. Some injuries result in an inability to return to the work you once knew. In such cases, you can claim the costs you lose as economic damages.
- Loss of life enjoyment. If simple activities you used to love become too difficult for you, you may qualify to claim some measure of compensation for that loss.
Q: What should I do after a Newark construction accident?
A: The first thing you should do after a construction accident is to seek out medical attention.
Following this, to start the recovery process as quickly and smoothly as possible, you can:
- After seeking medical attention, let your supervisor know what happened. He or she may want to report the claim to the workers’ compensation insurance and will need to fill out a report.
- Take note of any witnesses who were at the scene and can provide an account of what happened. Witness testimony is extremely valuable in cases where fault is not clear.
- If you want to claim recovery beyond that provided in your workers’ compensation insurance, you should keep records of medical expenses, the pain and suffering you experienced, and any other damage you have had to deal with because of your accident.
- Speak to a Newark construction accident lawyer about your case. In many cases, filing a workers’ compensation claim bars you from seeking additional compensation from your employer. However, in the case of negligence, rules may be different. You will want to talk to a lawyer for further guidance.
- If you believe you have a case, file as soon as possible. You have a limited time to file a compensation claim. Newark construction accident cases are often complicated, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.
Q: Can I sue if I suffered injuries as a contractor or subcontractor at the construction site?
A: Contractors are independent workers, so they generally can’t expect as much due care from employers as regular employees. However, it still holds that employers who act with obvious negligence should face liability for their actions. A contractor may also sue if the accident was caused by faulty machinery that was known to pose danger to those who used it.
Q: Do I need a lawyer after a construction accident?
A: You should always speak to us after sustaining injuries in an accident on a construction site. While you may feel unsure of the legality of your claim, a lawyer will know exactly what you can sue for and who you can sue. Lawyers are well-versed in laws surrounding construction accidents and can help you decide if you should move forward with a case or not. Experienced lawyers can also provide you guidance on other steps to take on your road to recovery.
One of the biggest benefits of having a lawyer is the ability to release some of the stress you feel after an accident. You can allow your lawyer to take charge of dealing with insurance companies and the other parties involved in the case while you focus on healing and getting your life back to normal.
Q: What is the legal process in a construction accident claim?
A: After a lawyer provides you with a free case evaluation and determines whether you qualify to pursue compensation, you can decide whether it seems like a good fit.
If you both decide to go forward with your claim, a few more steps will follow, including:
- Your lawyer will gather relevant evidence regarding your claim, such as witness statements and medical records.
- Your lawyer will file a claim against the negligent party or defendant.
- Your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will engage in discovery, which includes getting written statements from those involved in the incident and relevant information from each party.
- The lawyers will negotiate to see if a settlement can be reached that is favorable to both parties. In some cases, they may call in a mediator to serve as a neutral third party to help settle the case.
- If settlement proves unviable, the case will go to trial.
- At trial, lawyers on both sides will present their evidence and a judge and jury will determine the outcome of the case and how much compensation to award.
If you’re seeking help after a construction accident in Newark, contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP today for a free consultation!
550 Broad Street suite 608
Newark NJ 07102
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