Can I File a Lawsuit in New York for a Construction Accident?

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Construction sites can be extremely hazardous, especially for construction workers. The number of construction accidents in New York is concerning. On construction sites in 2019, 287 people were injured and 5 died. Men are the most common victims of construction accidents, accounting for 90% of all fatalities.

Many people believe that workers’ compensation benefits will cover all of their construction accident-related expenses. Unfortunately, in many cases, workers’ compensation does not cover all of the accident victim’s expenses and that may leave the worker with a heavy financial burden. Keep in mind that you may be unable to sue your employer because workers’ compensation benefits preclude you from doing so. Nonetheless, you can file a lawsuit against the various parties who may be held liable for your injuries.

There are three important sections of the labor laws of New York that allow injured construction workers to file a lawsuit against a liable party.

Section 200
Section 200 allows injured construction workers to sue if their accident was caused by a dangerous condition on the job site. Property owners owe a duty of care. They must ensure that all workers are safe on the construction site. If you or another worker brought a hazardous condition to the attention of the property owner or contractor and it was not fixed or removed in a reasonable amount of time, they may be held liable for your injuries. Slip and fall accidents are among the most common injuries caused by dangerous conditions.

Section 240
Section 240, also known as “Scaffold Law”, protects construction workers that suffered a “gravity-related injury”. A worker who is injured after falling from a ladder, or scaffold, or being struck by an object falling from a higher level can sue the responsible party for their injuries.

Section 241(6)
Finally, section 241(6) allows construction workers injured in situations related to excavation or demolition to sue the liable party for their injuries.

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What are some causes of construction accidents?

In New York City, construction is the most dangerous occupation. This could be because there are numerous ways to be injured on a construction site. There are, however, four causes of construction accidents that account for nearly 60% of all the accidents in the construction industry.

  • Falls: Falls are without a doubt one of the most common causes of construction accidents. Falls are not only dangerous but also deadly. Workers on very tall buildings are common in cities such as New York City. They normally use the necessary equipment to work safely at those heights; however, a lack of training or inappropriate safety equipment can result in terrible injury. Around 40% of construction accidents are related to falls.
  • Being Hit By An Object: When working in a tall building, falling from a ladder or a scaffold is not the only danger. A lot of workers end up with serious injuries due to objects falling from above. Even small objects can be very dangerous if they are dropped from a considerable height. About 8% of all construction accidents are caused by falling objects.
  • Electrocution: Because most construction projects require electricity, there will be electrical installations on the job site at some point. Electrocution can occur due to exposed cables, unsafe wiring, or a lack of training. Electrocution can easily result in severe burns, limb loss, or death. Electrocution accounts for 7% of all construction accidents.
  • Trapped In-Between: A construction worker’s death can result from being caught between two heavy objects or being crushed by a collapsing structure. Unfortunately, this category accounts for 5% of all construction accidents.

Some tips about:

What should I do in case of suffering a construction accident?

After suffering a construction accident, there are some steps that need to be followed to protect your physical integrity and your rights.

First and foremost, it is critical to seek medical attention. Even if you believe you are in good health, you should see a doctor. Some injuries are not immediately apparent after an accident, but a doctor may be able to detect them and treat them accordingly.

The next step is to notify your employer as soon as possible about your injury. Make sure you do not put off doing this for too long. It is preferable to report your injury in writing, as this creates a paper trail that can be used as evidence in the future. Make an effort to provide as detailed a description of the accident as possible.

Then, try to collect as much evidence as you can. Photos and videos are valuable pieces of evidence. Anything that can prove that someone else was negligent and that led to an accident should be photographed or recorded. This evidence will be very useful if you file a lawsuit.

Finally, contacting an experienced construction accident attorney will greatly increase your chances of succeeding in court. A construction accident attorney will investigate your case and determine the best course of action to recover compensation for your injuries.

cracked safety helmet over a concrete beam
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Who May be held responsible in a construction site injury lawsuit?

Various parties can be held responsible in a construction site injury lawsuit, although, here are some of the most common ones:

  • Owner of the property: Like previously stated, property owners have to ensure that the construction site is safe for all workers. They must ensure that dangerous conditions that can lead to an injury are removed or fixed within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Contractors or workers: Large construction projects almost always involve more than one company. In some cases, a worker from a different company may act negligently, causing someone else to be injured. In that case, the negligent worker or their employer may be held liable.
  • Product manufacturers: Defective equipment can result in serious injuries. If a component of a vehicle, tool, or machinery fails, the operator or other workers nearby may be injured. It can be difficult to prove equipment malfunction, but with the necessary evidence, you can receive compensation from the product manufacturer.

Some types of compensation available after a construction accident.

If you are able to prove that another party was truly responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to the following damages:

  • Medical expenses: This includes past and future bills and physical therapy if necessary.
  • Lost wages: Your injury may prevent you from working for a certain amount of time or even permanently. In this case, you should be compensated for your lost income and loss of earning capability.
  • Pain and suffering: Even if mental anguish and emotional distress are not economic damages, you may be compensated for the pain and suffering you had to go through.
  • Property damage: If your property was destroyed in the accident, you may be compensated.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are not always awarded by juries. However, if the responsible party was extremely negligent, the court may award you punitive damages to “punish” the other party.

Contact a construction accident attorney

Seeking compensation for your injuries on your own can be a very difficult task. Particularly, in cases in which you are having issues doing things due to the injuries sustained. Getting help from an experienced construction accident attorney will make things easier for you. An attorney will review your case and based on the details, they will be able to determine who was responsible for your injuries.

A lawyer can also help you gather the evidence you need to support your case and accurately calculate the value of your case. Greenberg & Stein P.C., is a law firm where you can find experienced construction accident attorneys. Our lawyers have helped countless construction accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Do not hesitate in contacting us. Call us at 212-681-2535 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.