Every year, several construction projects are executed in New York City and other areas across New York State. Unfortunately, accidents and mishaps often occur on construction sites and may result in minor or severe injuries. According to statistics from the NYC Department of Buildings, there were about 712 construction-related incidents in New York City in 2021, causing 505 injuries and 9 fatalities. Thankfully, there are New York State laws designed to protect the rights of employees who are injured in work-related accidents or suffer an illness while on the job.
If you’re a construction worker who has been hurt on the worksite, you may be eligible to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Your available options to recover damages may include seeking worker’s compensation benefits, filing a personal injury claim, or filing a lawsuit against the negligent third-party. However, recovering damages for your construction accident injuries often involves a lot of complexities. In the post, we will be discussing why the stakes are really high in New York construction accident cases.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents in New York
Here are some of the most common causes of accidents and injuries on construction sites in New York State:
OSHA’s Fatal Four hazards – construction falls, electrocution (electrical exposure), caught-in/between situations, and struck-by an object.
Poorly constructed scaffolding
Slip and fall
Defective or unsafe equipment
Inadequate protection for construction site workers on elevated structures
Inadequate protection for construction workers in trenches
Tripping hazards from debris and other construction materials
Unsafe conditions of the construction site or property
Inadequate safety precautions when working beside power lines
Collisions with support beams
Workers are exposed to several risks on the construction site. If you’re injured in a construction accident, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately to enlighten you about your legal options to recover damages.
What Are Your Legal Options?
What’s more, when you’re involved in a construction site accident, here are some of the available legal options to seek financial compensation for your injuries:
Under New York laws, every employer in the state must provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Hence, a construction worker who suffered an injury or illness while on the job may be eligible to seek workers’ compensation benefits, including medical care, lost income, and benefits for survivors.
Personal Injury or Third-Party Claims
Alternatively, you may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a third party for their negligent or careless actions that caused the construction accident. For instance, you may file a lawsuit against a contractor who failed to repair damages on the property or an employee who failed to adhere to safety guidelines, thereby leading to your injuries.
Why the Stakes Are High – Challenges In New York Construction Accident Cases
However, seeking financial compensation in your New York construction accident case isn’t usually straightforward. Here are some challenges and complexities you may encounter when filing a claim or lawsuit after a construction accident:
Proving Fault and Liability
A crucial aspect of your personal injury or third-party claim is proving fault and liability. To recover damages, you need to establish that the other party was negligent, violated the law, breached their legal duty of care, and you suffered an injury. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to prove fault and liability in a construction accident case.
Also, the insurance carrier may request legal paperwork and additional documentation to verify your claims. Failure to provide the relevant information, evidence, and paperwork may delay your case or ultimately get it thrown out.
Pre-Existing Illness or Injury
Furthermore, your pre-existing injuries or medical conditions can have a significant effect on the outcome of your case or the amount of compensation you may recover. For a successful personal injury claim or lawsuit, you must prove that the negligent or careless actions of the other party affected or worsened your pre-existing injuries.
Motion to Dismiss
In addition, the other party or contractor may delay resolving your construction accident case through a motion to dismiss. This is a motion filed by one party in a case requesting that the court should stop all legal proceedings and close the case. The defendant may petition a motion to dismiss, stating that there is not enough evidence or facts to proceed with the case.
Dealing with insurers often involves a lot of complexities. The insurance provider may push for an out-of-court settlement. Initially, the insurer will offer you an absurd first settlement offer to test your patience. In most cases, the settlement offer may be lower than what you deserve. This is why you need an attorney to review the offer and help negotiate an improved settlement.
Documenting your injuries after a construction accident involves taking photos of the injuries, witness statements and testimonies, and taking notes of your personal account of the incident. Also, you have to document how the injuries have affected your day-to-day life and work. Unfortunately, most people don’t document their injuries. Without proper documentation, proving your case may be extremely difficult.
A personal injury lawsuit involving a construction accident is often drawn out unnecessarily and may take an extended period to settle. At the end of the day, you may lose the case or receive lower compensation than expected. Therefore, when involved in a construction accident, it is crucial that you retain a highly-skilled personal injury attorney for proper guidance and to protect your legal rights.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Being involved in a construction site accident can be a devastating experience and can affect your financial, physical, and mental health. Nevertheless, you don’t have to suffer the challenges and financial ramifications alone. If you or someone you know were injured while working on a construction site, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to advocate for your best interests.
A skilled construction accident lawyer can review every surrounding detail of your unique situation and conduct a thorough investigation. Your attorney will help gather all the necessary evidence and documentation to prove your case and help establish liability. Also, your lawyer can determine whether to file a workers’ compensation, personal injury, or third-party claim. Above all, your attorney will represent you diligently in your case, help negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance carrier, or take additional legal action where required.