New York Construction Accident Injury Law

Understanding New York Construction Accident Law and Your Legal Remedies After Suffering an Injury on a NYC Construction Site

Have you been injured in a construction accident in NYC? If so, trying to evaluate your legal options may leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed.

NYC construction accidents injure and kill workers each year. Workers who are harmed on the job may have the legal right to compensation for their injuries and other damages. Unfortunately, New York construction accident law is complicated, and it can be difficult to figure out how to get fair compensation for your injuries. 

We recommend consulting with an experienced construction accident attorney. At Ferrante & Koenig, we offer a free consultation, during which our knowledgeable attorneys can answer your questions and  explain your legal options.

What New York Labor Laws Apply to Construction Accident Cases?

A variety of New York labor laws apply to construction accident injuries. These labor laws were enacted to protect workers from dangerous conditions on job sites. Considering the risk associated with jobs in the construction industry, these laws provide important protections to construction workers.

NY Labor Law 200 requires certain owners, contractors and employers to make workplaces reasonably safe. The law specifies that workplaces should be “constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety” of all people lawfully on site. Interestingly, the protections of this law are not limited to construction workers.  This provision requires the safe operation of machinery and equipment, providing that it should be “placed, operated, guarded, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection,” and mandates that owners, contractors and employers obey building codes that require the safe operation of elevators, exits and fire extinguishers. 

NY Labor Law 240 protects workers from gravity related risks, including falls from ladders, scaffolding and other elevation hazards.  Known as the “Scaffold Law,” it requires scaffolds, ladders, and other elevation-risk safety devices to be properly constructed, placed and operated so as to give the workers protections from gravity related risks.   

Labor Law 240 also provides relief for workers who are injured by falling objects. This includes protection from any overhead hazard that may fall and strike a worker on an elevated work surface, on the ground level, or even sub-grade in a trench, basement level or sub-basement. 

NY Labor Law 241 mandates safe procedures for the construction, excavation, and demolition of buildings. This section requires those in charge of a construction site to follow the safety rules set out in the New York State Industrial Code. These provisions are intended to protect workers from falls and cave-ins on job sites as well as from other hazards such as slipping or tripping, injury from unguarded power machinery, electrocution, falls through unguarded openings, unsafe passageways and pathways, and just about any other kind of way you can be injured on a worksite. 

When a worker is injured due an owner’s, general contractor’s or employer’s violation of the Labor Law, the worker can bring a lawsuit.  Filing a lawsuit under the New York Labor Law will allow the injured worker to recover for their pain and suffering as well as other economic losses that may not be covered under the Workers’ Compensation Law.  

What Are My Rights as a New Yorker with Workers’ Compensation?

New York requires employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. This insurance protects workers who are injured on the job. Regardless of fault, an injured employee will be entitled to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits. 

However workers’ compensation is a limited remedy. It provides the following benefits: 

  • Medical bills related to your injury; and 
  • A percentage of your average weekly wage; 

Both of these forms of compensation have time limits. For instance, workers’ compensation will pay your related medical bills until you reach “maximum medical improvement,” which is a determination by your doctor that  you have reached a plateau in your treatment and additional care won’t improve your condition.  You can recover disability payments for lost wages up to a certain number of weeks (usually ten years or less) depending on the extent of your injuries. The timeframes and compensation amount for specific injuries are listed on New York’s Schedule Loss of Use award chart.

Worker’s compensation may also pay for any necessary vocational rehabilitation, should your injuries leave you unable to perform your prior job duties. This rehabilitation trains you for a new job that you can perform with your disability. 

In order to comply with time limitations, you must notify your employer that you have an injury eligible for workers’ compensation within 30 days of your accident or incident. Assuming you’ve notified your employer, you have two years from the date of the New York construction accident injury to file a claim. 

If I Was Hurt While on the Job, Can My Employer Fire Me?

Your employer can not fire you simply for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim following an on-the-job injury.  That would be illegal.  But if you are fired, don’t expect your employer to make the mistake of admitting that they fired you due to the workers’ compensation claim.  If they did so, they would be open to a potential employment discrimination lawsuit.  

Often we hear stories of employers pushing injured construction workers to return to work quickly.  Beware.  Employers will often use this opportunity to fire someone who has filed a Workers’ Compensation claim under false pretenses, such as a work slowdown or poor performance.  

If I Have a Workers’ Comp Hearing Coming Up, Should I Talk to an Attorney?

It is always a wise idea to speak to an attorney before a workers’ compensation hearing. Your rights can be forever altered as a result of a hearing decision that goes against you and that means that you may have a lot of money on the line. It is important to have the benefit of knowledgeable legal advice from people who handle cases with the Board.  Ferrante & Koenig work with Workers’ Compensation attorneys who will protect your rights on a contingency basis.  

A Workers’ Compensation attorney will also investigate whether you may be entitled to some type of lump sum or scheduled loss of use award in addition to your wage and medical benefits.  

Can an Attorney Help Me if I Am Still Suffering from a Workers’ Comp Injury from a Year Ago?

Even if your accident happened a year ago, you may still be able to pursue legal options. You have up to two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim.  In most scenarios, you have up to three years to file a personal injury claim. If you were injured as a result of the failure of an intended safety device (i.e. a ladder, scaffold, lift, etc.) or were injured through the active negligence of a third-party, you may be able to file a lawsuit even if you didn’t act immediately.  Don’t wait any longer to find out if you have a case as every day you delay may jeopardize your ability to bring a claim.  

What Type of Construction Site Injury Can Lead to a Third-Party Lawsuit in Addition to What is Provided by Workers’ Compensation?

A question often on the mind of an injured construction worker is:  If I Am Collecting Workers’ Compensation in New York State, Do I Still Have the Right to Sue?

Whether you can bring a third party lawsuit in addition to a Workers’ Compensation claim depends on the circumstances of your accident. Regardless of how the accident happened, you are not permitted to sue your employer for an on-the-job injury absent very particular circumstances. You may have a third-party claim after a construction site accident in the following scenarios: 

  • If you were injured as a result of a fall from a scaffold; 
  • If you were injured due to a dangerous or defective ladder; 
  • If you tripped and fell on construction equipment or debris that should have been cleaned up;
  • If you were struck by something that fell from a height; 

What Type of Construction Site Injury Can Lead to a Third-Party Lawsuit in Addition to What is Provided by Workers’ Compensation?

A question often on the mind of an injured construction worker is:  If I Am Collecting Workers’ Compensation in New York State, Do I Still Have the Right to Sue?

Whether you can bring a third party lawsuit in addition to a Workers’ Compensation claim depends on the circumstances of your accident. Regardless of how the accident happened, you are not permitted to sue your employer for an on-the-job injury absent very particular circumstances. You may have a third-party claim after a construction site accident in the following scenarios: 

  • If you were injured as a result of a fall from a scaffold; 
  • If you were injured due to a dangerous or defective ladder; 
  • If you tripped and fell on construction equipment or debris that should have been cleaned up;
  • If you were struck by something that fell from a height; 
  • If you were injured as a result of a trench collapse; 
  • If you were injured as a result of an improperly maintained or dangerously altered piece of equipment;
  • If you were injured as a result of the actions/negligence of a sub-contractor who is not your employer; 

It can be challenging to sort through the various laws that apply to construction injuries. An experienced New York construction accident lawyer can help you evaluate your case and advise on whether you have the right to bring a third-party lawsuit for pain and suffering in addition to your Workers’ Compensation claim.

If I Am Hurt On the Job What Type of Benefits Can I Seek in a Third Party Claim, Aside from What is Provided Under Workers’ Comp? 

As described above, workers’ compensation provides medical and wage loss benefits to an injured construction worker.  If a third-party personal injury lawsuit is possible, you could seek an award for pain and suffering in addition to the medical and wage benefits available under workers’ compensation.  This type of lawsuit gives you access to a much greater potential recovery than the limited benefits available through workers’ compensation, including the following: 

  • Compensation for Pain and Suffering
  • Future Medical bills
  • Future Rehabilitation expenses
  • Future Lost Earnings 
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of Companionship

Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, a pain and suffering recovery is not automatic.  In order to be successful in a third-party lawsuit we would need to show that the defendant is responsible due to either a violation of the labor law or their negligence.   

While it is more challenging to get compensation in a lawsuit, we fight to help clients get the money they deserve. Hiring skilled attorneys who will fight for you can make all the difference in your claim.

Get Legal Advice for Your Construction Accident Injury

If you need an experienced construction accident attorney to help you determine the best way to seek maximum injury compensation, give us a call. We offer a free consultation, where we can answer your questions and share our advice. Then we work on contingency, meaning you don’t have to pay us until we win your case. Contact us today to start the path toward recovering the compensation you’re owed.

Hiring a New York Construction Accident Lawyer

Injured on a construction site in New York City? Here’s what you need to know to hire the best construction site accident lawyer for your case.

If you’ve been injured on a construction site in NYC, you may be considering hiring an attorney. Construction sites can be dangerous places to work, and the injuries employees may sustain there can be serious.

New York lawmakers sought to protect injured workers by enacting workers’ compensation, personal injury, and labor laws. Perhaps you’ve tried to navigate the workers’ compensation or injury claim process on your own but have run into roadblocks. For example,  employers aren’t always willing to pay you what you deserve.

That’s why you need a New York construction accident lawyer on your side. A construction injury attorney can search for critical evidence to support your accident claim, and work to get you the maximum compensation.

At Ferrante & Koenig, we want to relieve you of burdensome paperwork and tedious communications so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Our attorneys are passionate about helping accident victims seek the compensation they deserve. We offer our clients compassionate, respectful, and skillful representation. 

If you would like to speak to one of our experienced accident attorneys, contact us for a free consultation. We can discuss your accident,  answer your questions, and let you know if we can help. 

What Should I Do Immediately After Suffering a Construction Site Injury in NYC?

Your first priority after a construction accident  is to seek medical treatment for any urgent injuries. At the same time, you should report your accident to a supervisor and collect important evidence. If you can, take photos of the accident scene and document any other pertinent details. If you cannot remain at the accident scene, ask a trusted representative to collect this information for you.

How Do I Know if I Should Speak to a Construction Injury Lawyer?

Any time you are injured in a construction accident, it’s best to consult a construction injury lawyer. While you are recovering from your injuries, it can be difficult to keep up with all the paperwork required by the insurance company. What’s more, an employer or insurance company may try to take advantage of your vulnerable position by cheating you out of the payment you deserve.

A construction injury lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and help you understand and navigate complicated New York accident laws. Your lawyer can help you discover whether you have a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit. 

Determining fault can have a significant impact on the compensation amount you receive. However, fault can be difficult to determine. Do you have a workers’ compensation claim, a third-party liability claim, or an employer liability claim under New York’s labor laws? You need an attorney to help you sort through these complicated laws and determine what protection applies to your case. An experienced construction accident lawyer in NYC can advise you of your best options for recovering maximum compensation.

How Soon After My Construction Site Accident Should I Consult an Attorney?

You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. Much of your case may hinge on recovering evidence to prove your claim. As time goes on, evidence may be lost or destroyed, and witnesses’ memories may fade. You have the best chance at proving your claim if your attorney starts searching for evidence and interviewing witnesses soon after your accident.

Also, you should keep in mind the time sensitivity of the New York statute of limitations. You must notify your employer of a workers’ compensation claim within 30 days of your accident, and you must file a claim within two years of your accident. For personal injury cases, you generally have three years from the date of your injury to file a claim. After that time limit, a judge will throw out your case. 

On What Basis Should I Evaluate Prospective NYC Construction Accident Lawyers?

To search for a qualified construction accident lawyer in New York, you should take the following steps:

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations,
  • Ask coworkers for recommendations,
  • Ask attorneys who practice in other areas for recommendations,
  • Check reviews on sites like Google and Avvo,
  • Look for successful case results listed on an attorney’s website, and
  • Look for attorneys who are willing to take a case to trial.

After you conduct an initial evaluation and narrow down a list of attorneys, you should set up consultations with each lawyer. A reputable attorney should offer a free consultation to give you a chance to get to know them and their practice style. 

At the consultation, determine whether the lawyer seems like a good fit for your case. You should evaluate whether they are likely to advocate efficiently or draw your case out. You need an attorney who will work on contingency instead of expecting you to foot the bill upfront. You also want someone who communicates well and shows compassion. Ultimately, you need to evaluate whether you can trust a particular attorney with a case that means so much to you and your family.

If I Do Hire an Attorney, How Long Should I Expect My Case to Take?

At Ferrante & Koenig, we work as quickly as we can to resolve your case. We know that you have bills to pay and that you need your injury compensation immediately. That said, we never want to seem too eager to settle a case because an insurance company is likely to take advantage of that situation by offering less money than you deserve.

We successfully settle the majority of our construction accident injury cases. A settlement takes much less time  and spares you the stress of a trial. However, if we think your case will achieve much more compensation by going to trial, we will advise you of the benefits and risks of that strategy. A trial can take three years or more. Ultimately, we leave the decision of whether to settle quickly or hold out for more money up to you.

What Are the Most Common Types of Construction Site Accidents?

Unfortunately, construction sites can be very dangerous. In fact, construction jobs are rated in the top ten most dangerous jobs in the US. Common accidents on construction sites include the following:

If you have experienced one of these construction accidents, you likely suffered serious injuries. A New York construction accident attorney can help you find the best legal avenue for pursuing maximum injury compensation.

What Sort of Damages will a Construction Accident Lawyer Pursue on My Behalf?

A construction accident lawyer will determine which New York laws apply to your case and then fight to obtain the maximum available damages.

In a workers’ compensation case, you have limited ability to recover for your losses. This type of claim allows you to receive reimbursement for medical bills and a percentage of your average weekly wage. An advantage of a workers’ compensation claim is that you can file it even if you were at fault for the accident.

However, if you have a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover much more compensation. The following New York laws allow construction workers to file a personal injury claim in certain situations:

  • NY Labor Law 200 requires safe working conditions, including the safe operation of machinery and equipment;
  • NY Labor Law 240 requires workers to receive fall protection when working at heights and protects them from the hazards of falling objects; and
  • NY Labor Law 241 protects workers from specific hazards such as construction elevators, slip and fall hazards, and other dangers.

If your claim falls under one of these  laws, you may be able to recover extensive damages, including: medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of future earnings. Your accident lawyer can help you calculate your total damages and present a fair compensation request.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Construction Accident Attorney?

At Ferrante & Koenig, we work on contingency. This means that we don’t charge you anything until we win your case. Once you receive your settlement or trial award, you pay us an agreed-upon percentage of your compensation. If we lose your case, you owe us nothing.

If I Get a Free Consultation, Will I Be Obligated to Hire a Lawyer?

We encourage you to contact us for a free consultation with no strings attached. We want you to have the chance to ask us questions and get our opinion on your case without feeling pressured to hire us. Take the first step to recovering the construction accident compensation you need by contacting us for a free consultation today.