Construction is big business in NYC. Living in a sprawling modern metropolis, New Yorkers are used to seeing construction projects on a daily basis. Unfortunately, negligence on the part of construction companies, contractors, subcontractors, and others routinely puts the lives of workers at risk.
Fatalities in New York City construction accidents are on an alarming upward trend. Deaths have risen three years in a row, with construction workers representing more than 25% of all work-related fatalities in NYC.
New York has unique labor laws designed to protect construction workers. Depending on the circumstances of the construction accident, you and your family may be entitled to compensation in excess of the benefits provided by workers’ comp.
The attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have nearly a century of combined experience representing injured workers and their loved ones. We understand the complexity of construction accident claims, and we will look beyond workers’ compensation to pursue full recovery of your damages.
Please call (212) 543-1600 today for a free case review. Our construction accident lawyers serve clients throughout New York City and in other areas of New York.
Why Do You Need a Construction Accident Lawyer?
One of the biggest reasons to talk to an attorney after a construction accident is the seriousness of the injuries that usually occur. Accidents on construction sites commonly result in severe physical trauma. These injuries often leave workers incapacitated, in pain, and unable to return to their employment – sometimes permanently.
Dealing with workers’ comp and other legal considerations is the last thing you should have to worry about in the wake of a construction accident. Lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can assist you with multiple aspects of your case, including:
- Reviewing your workers’ compensation benefits and ensuring you get the payments you deserve
- Appealing denial or underpayment of your workers’ compensation claim
- Investigating the construction accident to determine how your injuries occurred and who may be at fault
- Communicating with your doctors and other medical experts to assess the nature and severity of your injuries – you may be entitled to additional compensation and benefits if your injury results in permanent impairment or disability
- Calculating the full extent of your losses – you may be able to recover additional damages if a third party was at fault for the construction accident
Our attorneys will build a strong claim on your behalf and pursue all legal options for recovery. We can negotiate a favorable resolution with your employer’s workers’ comp insurer, as well as the insurance company for any negligent third parties. In the event that your case goes to court, we will be ready to represent you – Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi prepares every case as though it will go to trial.
For a free legal consultation with a construction accidents lawyer serving New York City, call (201) 585-9111
Types of Construction Accidents Our Lawyers Handle
Construction accidents come in many different forms and have a variety of different causes. Investigation of construction accidents frequently reveals a number of different safety violations that put workers at risk.
Our New York City construction accident lawyers represent injured workers and the families of those who have been killed on the job in claims involving the following issues:
- Lack of Fall Protection
- Scaffolding Accidents
- Falls from Ladders
- Elevator Accidents
- Struck-By Accidents
- Falling Objects on Construction Sites
- Workers Struck by Vehicles and Machinery
- Contact with Overhead Power Lines
- Electrical Accidents in Trenches
- Faulty Machinery and Power Tools
- Caught-In and Caught-Between Accidents
- Workers Trapped in Running Machinery
- Workers Caught Between Vehicles
- Trench Collapses
- Unsafe Working Surfaces
- Slip and Falls
- Trip and Falls
- Roof and Ceiling Collapses
- Unsafe and Dangerous Equipment
- Fires and Explosions
- Crane Accidents
- Forklift Accidents
- Welding Accidents
- Lockout and Tagout Errors
- Faulty Machine Guards
- Supervisor Negligence
- Structural Collapses
- Inadequate Safety Equipment
- Poor Supervision of Workers
- Failure to Institute and Enforce Safety Procedures
- Exposure to Toxic Chemicals and Materials
All of these construction accidents are covered by workers’ compensation, entitling you and your family to benefits. If negligence was a factor, you may also have a claim or claims against one or more third parties.
New York City Construction Accident Lawyer Near Me (201) 585-9111
Common Injuries in Construction Accidents
A construction accident is a devastating event. Multiple workers may be seriously hurt or killed as a result of dangerous conditions on the job site.
Some of the most common injuries our construction accident lawyers see when handling these claims include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Eyes Injuries, Vision Loss, and Blindness
- Hearing Loss and Deafness
- Neck Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
- Injury to the Fingers, Hands, Wrists, and Arms
- Shoulder Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Crush Injuries to the Torso and Extremities
- Electrocution and Electrical Burns
- Pelvic Injuries
- Injury to the Legs, Knees, Ankles, and Feet
- Bone Fractures
- Orthopedic Injuries and Soft Tissue Damage
- Nerve Damage
- Suffocation Injuries
- Severe Burns
Many of these injuries leave workers permanently disable and unable to return to work. If this is the situation you face, you may be entitled to disability benefits that pay a portion of your lost wages.
The attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi understand the science and medicine involved in serious and catastrophic injuries. We work closely with medical providers to ensure that your impairment is rated correctly and you get the benefits you deserve from workers’ compensation and other insurance programs.
In addition, we explore other avenues for recovering damages associated with your construction injury. This may involve filing a lawsuit against those responsible for the accident.
Who Is Liable for a Construction Accident?
Liability is a complex issue in construction accident litigation. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means workers are generally not able to sue their employer after an accident or injury.
However, this exception does not extend to third parties whose negligence results in personal injury or the wrongful death of a worker. The liable parties in a construction accident claim may include:
- Contractors and subcontractors: Contractors direct the overall work on a construction project, often hiring multiple subcontractors to perform specific jobs. Negligent supervision, inadequate maintenance of equipment, unsafe working conditions, and other safety violations may all be grounds for a lawsuit in the event of an accident.
- Property owners: The owner of a property under construction has a duty to ensure that conditions on the premises are safe for workers. You may have a claim against the owner if you suffered injury as a result of a dangerous condition or the owner’s failure to warn you of a hazard.
- Architects, surveyors, and engineers: Professionals involved in the planning, design, and construction of a building are responsible for ensuring that the structure is safe. Errors on the part of an architect, surveyor, or engineer may expose them to liability for an accident stemming from their negligence.
- Tools, equipment, and machinery manufacturers: Defective and malfunctioning equipment presents a serious danger to construction workers. If you suspect that your injuries were caused by a product defect, you may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer.
- Careless drivers: In a single year, the New York State Department of Transportation recorded more than 700 accidents in work zones. Whether you were driving for your job or working in a construction zone, the risk of an accident with another motorist is high. If you were seriously injured in a collision where the driver was at fault, you may be able to sue.
Workers are often unaware of their right to file suit in the event of a construction accident, as well as who may be held liable for their injuries and damages. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, our team thoroughly investigates to identify all of the potentially liable parties.
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Can I Sue After a Construction Accident?
Two distinct legal theories may apply in a construction accident lawsuit: (1) negligence or (2) strict liability.
Claims arguing negligence must show that the defendant(s) failed to exercise reasonable care owed to the plaintiff. If this breach of duty resulted in injury or death, those at fault are liable for damages.
Strict liability, meanwhile, imposes liability for damages regardless of any negligence or wrongdoing on the defendant’s part. In a strict liability claim, the plaintiff merely needs to prove that the defendant is responsible for the activity or condition that led to injury.
Which of these standards is relevant to your case will depend on the nature of the construction accident. The following New York labor laws may apply:
Labor law 200 establishes the duty to protect the health and safety of employees. By law, construction sites and other workplaces must be:
“… constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places. All machinery, equipment, and devices in such places shall be so placed, operated, guarded, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons.”
Violations of these rules significantly increase the risk of accidents. If negligence on the part of an owner, contractor, or other party led to a construction injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Section 240 of the New York Labor Law provides unique protections to workers performing jobs at heights. It is also known as the “Scaffold Law,” and it requires property owners, contractors, and their agents to “furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected … scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection” to workers performing construction, demolition, and repair work.
The Scaffold Law requires that a safety railing with a minimum height of 34 inches be installed on any scaffolding erected 20 feet or higher off the ground. Railings must enclose the entire scaffold, except to allow for materials to be delivered to workers. In addition, all scaffolding must be able to support at least four times its own maximum weight.
The duties established under Labor Law 240 are nondelegable, meaning contractors and owners cannot avoid liability by assigning the responsibility to someone else. More significantly, the Scaffold Law holds these parties strictly liable for injuries and damages from scaffolding accidents.
If you are injured in a scaffold accident, you do not have to prove that the third party was negligent. You only need to show that the defendant had a duty to provide the scaffolding and that you were injured while working on scaffolding.
Labor Law 241 establishes the duties associated with construction, excavation, and demolition work. In addition to setting forth safety procedures for building and the operation of elevators, section 241 also says:
“All areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.”
These provisions are intended to reduce the risk of cave-ins, trench collapses, and other catastrophic accidents on construction sites. If you were injured or a loved one was killed performing excavation or demolition work, our construction accident lawyers will investigate to determine how the negligence of the contractor or owner was a factor.
Potential Compensation for a Construction Accident
The compensation you may be able to recover after a construction accident will depend on your options for filing a claim. Workers’ compensation benefits cover the following:
- All healthcare expenses associated with the construction injury, including:
- Medical, dental, and optometric treatment
- Assistive devices
- Lost wages – the formula for benefits is two-thirds of your average weekly income multiplied by the percentage of disability stemming from your injuries
- Survivor benefits, including:
- Funeral and burial/cremation expenses – capped at $12,500 in the five boroughs and surrounding counties
- Weekly cash benefits for surviving spouse and dependents
Although workers’ compensation offsets some of the financial losses associated with the construction accident, it rarely makes victims and their families whole again. For this reason, it is crucial to speak to an attorney who can assess the facts and determine if you can file suit against a liable third party.
You may be entitled to recovery of all damages in a construction accident lawsuit, including:
- Current medical bills
- The cost of future medical treatment, therapy, and rehabilitation
- All lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity, if your ability to work is restricted or you cannot return to work
- Expenses paid out of pocket for assistive devices, household and attendant services, travel to medical appointments, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
These damages must be supported by strong evidence. Often, defendants will not agree to settle a case for its fair value. If this is the case, the lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can take your case to trial with the goal of achieving a result that maximizes your compensation.
If a relative was killed in a construction accident, our attorneys can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of your family. Potential compensation you and your loved ones may be due includes:
- Loss of economic support
- Loss of inheritance
- Funeral expenses and the cost of burial or cremation
- Medical expenses for care provided prior to death
- Loss of consortium (payable to the surviving spouse)
- Loss of parental guidance (payable to the surviving child or children)
- Conscious pain and suffering of the victim prior to death
Accurately calculating the losses subsequent to a family member’s death is almost impossible on your own. The construction accident lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have the experience, knowledge, and resources to determine your legal options for recovery, as well as how much you may be entitled to in compensation.
What to Do After a Construction Accident
Time is of the essence in the aftermath of a construction accident. Steps you should take as soon as possible after being hurt on the job include:
- Seek medical attention at the nearest hospital or emergency room
- Report the accident to your employer – you have a maximum of 30 days to make notification
- Complete Form C-3 (Employee Claim) and file it with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)
- Receive necessary medical care – only treatment by a WCB-authorized provider will be covered by workers’ comp
- Know your rights and responsibilities under workers’ compensation, including the process for appealing denial of your claim
You should also speak to an attorney as soon as possible if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help you with all aspects of the workers’ compensation process, as well as evaluating prospective claim options outside of workers’ comp.
Investigating a Construction Accident
Prompt investigation is crucial for holding negligent third parties accountable after a construction accident. The average construction site is a chaotic environment, and key evidence will be lost without timely action.
Injured construction workers are generally in no condition to get started on their claim. While you receive treatment, construction accident lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can get started on your case by:
- Dispatching professional investigators to the scene to photograph dangerous conditions, interview witnesses, etc.
- Inspecting reports from the NYC Department of Buildings, OSHA, and other agencies for safety violations
- Evaluating construction contracts to identify all of the parties involved in the build, including owners, contractors, subcontractors, design and engineering professionals, etc.
- Checking building permits and applications for inconsistencies and safety issues
- Reviewing internal memos, meeting minutes, and other paperwork documenting the progress of construction and safety protocols (or lack thereof)
- Examining any tools, machines, equipment, and materials for defects
Our attorneys also review your medical records and consult expert witnesses to testify as to how your construction injury will affect your life. Insurance companies frequently undervalue the lifetime cost of a catastrophic injury, so it is important to have the documentary evidence and expert witness testimony in place to prove you are entitled to significant damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Construction Accident?
Several different time limits may apply depending on the claims you are able to file for injuries or the death of a loved one in a construction accident:
- The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in New York is 2 years
- The New York statute of limitations for personal injury is 3 years
- Wrongful death claims in New York must be filed within 2 years
The clock starts ticking on most claims when the injury occurs. However, for claims arising from toxic exposure, the statute of limitations may begin on the date of your diagnosis.
Regardless of the circumstances, 2-3 years is not much time to pursue benefits and other compensation after a construction accident. You need to take steps now to protect your legal rights and start building your case.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi wastes no time. When you hire our construction accident lawyers, we take action immediately to gather evidence, evaluate your injuries, determine liability, and calculate potential damages.
In construction accident cases as in all personal injury cases, the Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi formula for success equals active client involvement combined with aggressive, intelligent practice of law. Decades of personal injury law practice have put our attorneys where we are today: ready to listen and help you here and now after your construction accident injury.
Our experience in construction accident claims is unparalleled. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of injured workers. Unlike many law firms, we look beyond workers’ compensation to develop innovative strategies for recovering damages. This often requires us to go to trial on behalf of our clients – something we never shy away from if it means achieving a favorable result.
We are proud to represent union workers who have been hurt on the job. Members of our team have been recognized as leading advocates for workers of all professions, fighting for justice on behalf of individual clients as well as safer workplaces for everyone.
Please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (212) 543-1600 today for a free review of your case. Our construction accident lawyers serve clients throughout the five boroughs of NYC and other areas of New York.