Construction is a vital part of the economy in New York. Yet this industry can also be incredibly dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average illness and injury rates are 24% higher in the construction industry than they were across all other industries. Fatal accidents are also far too common, with 1 in 5 worker deaths in the United States attributed to construction work.
If you have been injured on a construction site, you may be able to seek financial compensation from the at-fault parties. In some cases, this means more than simply applying for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits. You may also be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the property owner, a general contractor, or even a manufacturer of a dangerous or defective piece of equipment.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we represent injury victims throughout New York in all types of cases, from car accidents to medical malpractice to construction accidents. We work hard to help our clients get maximum compensation for their injuries. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents
Even the best-run construction project can still be dangerous. As a result, it isn’t uncommon for construction workers to suffer injuries while on the job.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the top four construction hazards include falls, struck-by accidents, caught in/between accidents, and electrocutions. Our firm has experience representing injured construction workers who have been hurt in:
- Scaffolding accidents
- Falling objects
- Crane accidents and collapses
- Forklift accidents
- Inadequate safety equipment
- Workers getting trapped between pieces of equipment
- Fires and explosions
- Downed power lines
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Dangerous and defective equipment
- Trench collapses
These types of accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, ranging from relatively minor to catastrophic injuries. Common construction accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Burn injury
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Knee injury
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
Many of these injuries can lead to permanent disability – or even death. In these situations, it is critical to have a skilled New York construction accident lawyer who can fight for your right to full compensation.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Was Hurt on a Construction Site?
In New York, the workers’ compensation system typically covers workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation covers all types of work-related injuries and illnesses. These benefits may include financial compensation as well as medical treatment.
Generally, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. This means that employees are usually limited to only filing workers’ compensation claims, and cannot file a lawsuit against their employer. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
An injured worker may be able to file a lawsuit against their employer if (1) their employer fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage; (2) where the employer intentionally injured an employee; or (3) where their employer is the F.D.N.Y., the N.Y.P.D., or the New York City Department of Sanitation. In addition, an injured construction worker can file a lawsuit against a third party who may have been responsible for their injuries in some way. This is known as a third-party lawsuit.
A third-party lawsuit may be brought against a number of different negligent parties, such as:
- The property owners;
- A construction company;
- General contractors;
- Architects; and/or
- Manufacturers of machinery and other work equipment.
These lawsuits are usually based on a theory of negligence, which is a type of carelessness. For example, if you are hurt on the job when a nail gun malfunctions, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Alternatively, if you fall off scaffolding that was improperly constructed, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the subcontractor for their negligence in building the scaffold.
Through these types of lawsuits, you can recover financial compensation for your medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses. This compensation often far exceeds what you could recover through a workers’ comp claim, which is limited to medical treatment, lost wages, and (in the event of a fatal accident) funeral and burial expenses.
How Can a Construction Accident Attorney Help?
When a carpenter, electrician, shop steward, drywaller, ironworker, or other construction worker is hurt on the job, they may believe that their only option is to file a workers’ compensation claim. In reality, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ comp claim.
It can be difficult to know what your rights are until you have talked to a construction accident lawyer. Fortunately, most personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations. During this appointment, you can tell your story and get advice on what your options are for pursuing a workers’ compensation and/or personal injury claim.
If you decide to hire a New York construction accident attorney, they will get to work right away to investigate the facts of your case and hold the responsible parties liable for your injuries. They will also take over communications with the insurance company for you, which can help to relieve stress and allow you to focus on your recovery. This also has the benefit of reducing the risk that the insurer will pressure you into making a statement or signing a document that limits your ability to obtain fair compensation.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. One of the ways that they do this is by denying legitimate claims for construction site accidents. Our law firm will take on the insurance company for you, fighting for your best interests – and for maximum compensation.
Most personal injury claims are resolved via settlement, after weeks or months of skilled negotiation. It may be necessary in some cases to file a personal injury lawsuit. This gives your lawyer the opportunity to seek more information from the negligent parties – and to continue to push for a fair settlement.
Workers’ compensation benefits are often not enough to fully cover all of the losses associated with construction accident injuries – including emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. By thoroughly examining every aspect of your construction site accident, our law firm will work to make sure that you get every penny that you deserve for your injuries.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
A construction accident can cause devastating, life-changing injuries. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is often insufficient to make an injured worker whole again. In these situations, a personal injury claim may allow you to get the money that you deserve for your injuries.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC, we are dedicated to helping our clients get top dollar for their injuries. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a New York construction accident lawyer, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Am Collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you have a valid claim against a third party, you can file a lawsuit for your injuries even if you are also pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. The ability to file a personal injury lawsuit is important, as workers’ comp benefits are often insufficient. These benefits do not compensate for many types of losses, including emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, or pain and suffering.
If you have been hurt in a construction accident, you should not assume that you are limited to workers’ compensation. An experienced New York construction accident lawyer can help you determine if you are able to file a personal injury claim. Contact the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Construction Accident Claim?
In New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is 3 years from the date of the accident or injury. With some exceptions, this means that you have 3 years to file a lawsuit. However, if you are suing a city, state, or federal government agency, the process is different – and the statute of limitations is much shorter.
For this reason, it is important to talk to an experienced construction accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will immediately investigate your case and hold the responsible parties accountable for your losses. In New York, reach out to the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan for a free consultation.
How Can I Afford to Pay a Construction Accident Attorney?
Most personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing out of pocket, and only pay an attorney’s fee if they recover money for you through a settlement or verdict at trial. The attorney’s fee will be a percentage of your recovery.
Contingency fee arrangements mean that you don’t have to have cash on hand to hire a lawyer – something that is particularly important when you may be out of work due to your workplace injury. It also aligns your interests with your lawyer’s: you both want to resolve the case for as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a NY construction accident lawyer, call the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan today.