Long Island Construction Accident Lawyers
Getting hurt while working at a construction site can leave you unable to work and with a number of damages and losses. Find out if you can get more than what workers comp offers by consulting with a Long Island construction accident lawyer.
We depend on construction workers to keep our buildings, roads, and public spaces safe and functional. These workers play a vital role in making sure that people are able to perform their daily tasks without a hitch. Unfortunately, construction workers are frequently the victims of workplace accidents.
Construction workers regularly handle high-powered, potentially dangerous tools that may not always perform as expected. They work at dangerous heights on roofs and on scaffolding. The daily dangers of a construction worksite are simply part of the job. But if something goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating.
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation beyond just workers comp. A Long Island construction accident lawyer with Siler & Ingber, LLP will review all the details of your case and work to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Construction Accident Statistics
Construction accidents are not uncommon. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration monitors these types of accidents closely. They do so for all injuries, but the construction industry tends to be one of the most common sectors for injuries and deaths.
In 2016, 4,693 workers were involved in some level of a workplace accident. This is within the private industry across all sectors. Construction accidents accounted for 991 of those cases or 21.1 percent of them. OSHA also says that 1 person in every five worker deaths in 2016 was in the field of construction.
The agency provides a breakdown of construction accidents by their cause. Out of 991 worker injuries in construction in 2016, the following were the causes:
- 384 were related to falls, accounting for 38.7 percent
- 93 were struck by an object, accounting for 9.4 percent
- 82 were electrocutions, which accounted for 8.3 percent
- 72 were caught in-between or between accidents, accounting for 7.3 percent.
These are considered the fatal four. The agency also notes that by eliminating these construction incidents specifically, it could, on average, save 631 workers from dying each year in the United States.
The most common reasons for construction accidents include:
- Improper fall protection
- Hazardous communications standards
- Scaffolding-related security risks
- Respiratory-related protections
- Ladder risks
- Control of hazardous energy
- Powder industrial trucks
These represent the agency’s most commonly cited violations on construction sites for private companies. OSHA fines employers who do not follow pre-established guidelines for minimizing risks on the job.
Construction Site Safety Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has requirements for construction workers and are site-specific as to the type of construction and duties that the worker is performing. The requirements cover all aspects of the site including the operation of equipment and vehicles, how chemicals in a facility are to be labeled and how the MSDS is to be maintained, as well as what safety gear a construction worker is required to wear on each site type.
OSHA has these requirements in place to ensure the safety of the workers while they are on the clock. Construction sites can be dangerous, whether it’s erecting a building, working with a crane, or a road crew repairing city streets, each presents its own set of hazards.
You can find a complete list of OSHA regulations listed per site type on their site: Worker Safety Series – Construction.
In New York City, a construction safety bill, now passed into law as Local Law 196 of 2017 in September 2017 requiring all workers and supervisors on building construction sites to get mandatory safety training. By March 1, 2018, most construction workers were required to have taken and show proof of 10 hours of safety training.
If a permit holder (usually the construction company) cannot show proof to the Department of Buildings (DOB) that all workers on the site have completed the required training, a fine of $5.000 per worker who is untrained will be issued to the permit holder, site owner, and the untrained worker’s employer.
Even the most safety-conscious worker can become the victim of a construction accident. Examples of just a few of the on-the-job accidents that your Long Island construction accident lawyer will be able to assist you with are as follows:
- Electrical Injuries – Construction workers are often surrounded by power lines and electrical wiring. If these electrical systems are poorly maintained or not clearly mapped out, a worker is at serious risk of being injured in an electrical accident.
- Falls – Falls are the leading cause of fatal construction accidents. In 2015, falls were responsible for almost 39 percent of all construction accident deaths.
- Ladder Accidents – Falling off a ladder is one of the most common types of fall accidents for which a construction worker is at risk. Twenty percent of fall injuries involve ladders.
- Falling Debris – Ground-level workers must constantly be mindful of materials that may potentially fall and cause injury, from steel beams to loose nails. An injury from falling debris can be catastrophic and easily result in a traumatic brain injury, spinal damage, or death.
- Crane and Forklift Accidents – Heavy machinery that is not maintained properly or that malfunctions can present a serious hazard to both the operator and the workers in the surrounding area.
- Burns – Construction workers are often at risk of suffering a burn, either because of an electrical problem, explosion, chemicals, or from another source.
- Toxic Exposure – Employers and property owners are bound by law to ensure that construction workers are not exposed to unsafe amounts of toxic chemicals, which can cause internal damage and illness. Dangerous chemicals a construction worker might be exposed to include lead, asbestos, benzene, and formaldehyde.
New York Labor Law: Section 240
New York Labor Law Section 240 is an important workers’ compensation law in the state. It is a part of a set of labor laws designed to protect workers on construction sites from being involved in construction-related accidents. This particular section has to do with falls from high locations, one of the most common causes of accidents on job sites.
Section 240 indicates that workers have the right to protection from falls when they are working in high elevation. It also includes protections from injuries related to falls of objects from high locations.
Most commonly, Section 240 is referred to as the Scaffold Law. It provides for very specific requirements for employers including project management to provide steps to ensure an employee’s safety while on the job site for any type of construction related work.
It applies to all parties including the project owner, the project manager, the general contractor, and the owner of the building. Proper and OSHA approved methods must be used to prevent construction workers from falling from high locations or being struck from any type of falling objects. If this is not done according to OSHA guidelines, the project manager, owner, or general contractor can be held responsible for the injuries suffered by the employee.
This includes any financial losses suffered by the employee as a result of a lack of guidance or protections. Employers must not only provide the actual tools for these protections to occur, but also ensure that they are followed by all employees.
Can I Get More Than Workers Comp for a Construction Accident?
Many construction workers have the expectation that after a workplace injury, the only way to receive monetary help is through workers comp. However, there are many situations in which you may be able to sue for your injuries and be compensated beyond what workers comp provides.
Situations in which you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party are as follows:
- You were injured due to the actions of a third party: If a contractor outside of your employer or a passerby caused the accident, you can hold them responsible.
- You were injured as a result of an employer’s or coworker’s willful negligence or malice: You could bring a personal injury lawsuit against the egregiously negligent party.
- You were injured by a defective product: Faulty safety equipment or machinery that causes injury could mean that the product manufacturer is liable
- You were injured via exposure to a toxic substance: You may be able to bring a lawsuit against the substance manufacturer.
- Your employer does not carry workers comp insurance: In this scenario, you could sue your employer in civil court.
There are several reasons to seek a settlement beyond what is usually awarded for workers comp. A workers comp payment for temporary disability or permanent disability may be incredibly low and not account for intangible factors such as pain and suffering or lost quality of life. In addition, workers comp does not hold egregiously negligent employers accountable by making them pay damages.
Anyone can get injured on the job and thereby be entitled to workers comp. However, your Long Island construction accident lawyer will work to ensure that if your injury qualifies for a personal injury claim—be it against the employer, a product manufacturer, or someone else—you get every penny you’re owed.
OSHA Violations and Your Claim
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, there are many people and entities who could be liable. In any given project, there are multiple people involved: a general contractor, subcontractors, architects, engineers, the property owner, material suppliers, and more.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has standards that govern the safety of workplaces, including construction sites. OSHA has regulations for every aspect of the construction industry, including scaffolds, fall protection, steel erection, demolition, and ladders—just to name a few.
Any violation of OSHA or other accepted industry standards may make an employer liable in a construction accident. An employer could be liable due to action or omission, whether by acting in a way that could lead to a worker’s harm (such as necessitating exposure to unsafe chemicals), or failure to perform key job duties (such as properly training employees).
Get Everything You’re Owed
Workers comp claims are generally not comprehensive and do not hold the negligent parties accountable for their behaviors. Your Long Island construction accident lawyer will work to get you a settlement that accounts for all of the hardships you may be facing after your injury, including the following damages:
- Current and future medical bills
- Cost of mobility equipment and medication
- Lost wages and income-earning ability
- Physical and emotional therapy
- Home or vehicle modifications to accommodate a new disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and permanent disfigurement
- Lost enjoyment of life
Construction Accident FAQs
On-the-job injuries make for confusing and stressful situations. We’ve provided a few answers to common questions here, but a Long Island construction accident lawyer from our firm will be happy to provide you with additional information as it pertains to your specific situation.
Can I still get workers comp if I file a personal injury claim?
YES, the two are complementary rather than mutually exclusive. You should file your worker’s comp claim immediately so that you can begin receiving benefits right away. Anything not covered by workers comp can then be included in your personal injury claim.
How do I prove that my employer knowingly put me into danger?
If your employer had a history of OSHA violations, it will go a long way toward proving your case, especially if any of the violations had to do with the circumstances you were injured in.
How do I get compensated if I was hit by a car while performing road work?
You will likely have a very strong case against the driver who hit you, especially if you were wearing an orange vest or if the driver was speeding. You’ll be able to pursue damages from the driver, which will likely come from his or her auto insurance policy.
Who can I sue for being hurt on a NY construction site?
In the state of New York, you are not able to sue your employer due to workers’ compensation laws that protect your employer. However, a lawsuit can be filed against third party companies if they are negligent for the injuries you sustained on a construction site. Third party companies include: General Contractors, Property Owners, Subcontractors and Product Manufacturers. There are strict labor laws in NY to protect construction workers. It is important to choose a personal injury attorney that has experience handling construction accident cases successfully.
Contact a Long Island Construction Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident due to willful negligence or a third party’s carelessness, you deserve more than just workers comp. A Long Island construction accident lawyer from Siler & Ingber, LLP will work to hold the negligent party accountable. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 1-516-294-2666 or by using the online form on this page.
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