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New York Construction Accident Lawyers

Unfortunately, accidents happen. If you were injured in a construction accident, you need an experienced New York construction accident attorney to help protect your rights and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.

The New York construction accident personal injury lawyers of Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law are among the leading attorneys in New York. We are frequently honored for our accomplishments, including being designated Super Lawyers. This designation is an exceptional achievement given to lawyers who have attained high standards within their field.

 

The title is not given out lightly. Recipients must go through a rigorous selection and evaluation process. Our attorneys have also become members of the million-dollar advocate’s forum and have been awarded high ethical standing status.

Our attorneys have over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law. When you need help getting the compensation you need to pay for medical bills and other accident-related expenses, you need Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law. Call our office today at 800-724-6529 to schedule your confidential consultation.

injured construction worker

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

After a significant accident in which you were injured, you need time to recover, physically and mentally. It is crucial that you also contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in construction accidents as soon as possible to help protect your rights. 

In New York, you have three years in which you can file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is dictated by the statute of limitations. Once three years from the date of the accident have passed, if you haven’t filed a lawsuit, you relinquish your right to hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions in court. 

It may seem as if three years is a long time. Yet, in that time, you must negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company, gather evidence to support your case, and file the necessary paperwork. When you are also struggling with physical injury, the time can pass quickly.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney After a Construction Accident?

After any type of construction accident where you were injured on the job, you should fill out an incident report that your employer uses to document your injury. You should also have a copy of it signed by your employer. This helps provide evidence to support your workers’ compensation claim. 

In New York, the Workers’ Compensation Board has guidelines for workers who are injured on the job. This includes how to file a claim and the deadlines that must be met for the paperwork.

If you weren’t on the job but were injured on a construction site, you would normally fill out an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. It can seem as if there’s an endless maze of paperwork that is overwhelming, and yet this is vitally important for you to be compensated for your injuries.

Even before the claim is filed, an insurance company may send an insurance adjuster to speak with you. These people are skilled negotiators whose goal is to protect the financial assets of their clients. They may ask questions about the accident, ask you to give a recorded statement, or may offer a quick settlement. 

It is crucial you do not give information to an insurance adjuster without your attorney present. Your New York construction accident attorneys at Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law can help prevent you from inadvertently saying something that might affect your case. They can also offer you advice on an early settlement from the insurance company. Too often, the first offer will not be a fair offer. 

Insurance companies have experienced adjusters and attorneys who represent their rights and protect their financial interests. When your financial future is on the line, you should also have an experienced and compassionate attorney working for you. The New York construction accident lawyers at Burns & Harris are tenacious negotiators and aggressive litigators who work hard to get you the maximum settlement for your interest.

construction accident

About Workers’ Compensation in New York

Nearly every employer in New York must provide workers’ compensation for their employees. Employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance to pay for medical care and partial lost wages when an employee is injured or gets sick as a direct result of their work. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board directs the program, processes the claims, and determines whether a worker will be paid.

In a New York workers’ compensation claim, no fault is assigned to the employee or employer for the illness or injury. If your claim is accepted, your medical bills will be paid directly to the provider in accordance with the workers’ compensation laws of New York.

If the employer or the insurance carrier disagrees with the claim, the case is brought before a workers’ compensation law judge who makes a decision about your claim. 

There are certain exceptions under which you can file a lawsuit against your employer arising from a workplace accident. In addition, you can file a lawsuit arising from a workplace accident if a third party is responsible for the accident. Talk with an experienced New York construction accident lawyer to understand your rights and protections under the law.

Types of Construction Accidents

Construction accidents often result in injuries and damage. These accidents can involve construction workers who are injured on the job while performing on-site duties with machinery or unsafe work operations. Construction accidents can also harm visitors to the site and independent contractors.

Accidents in construction zones can also involve private citizens who are passers-by and aren’t affiliated with the project but are injured from negligent construction operations. Our experienced lawyers handle all types of construction accidents, including those that involve:

Scaffolding

Roof and ladder falls

Falling objects and debris

Equipment malfunction

Tools and machinery

Nail gun accidents

Crane accidents

Forklift accidents

Accidents involving excavation

Brazing and welding accidents

Electrocution

Fires and explosions

Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials

Unsafe work equipment

Building collapse

Cutting accidents

Structure failure

Supervisor negligence

Punch press malfunctions

Compressor accidents

Elevator accidents

Window washer accidents

Sometimes, accidents do not happen by chance. Instead, a chain of events occurs that more often than not includes one or more negligent parties. It is the employer’s, contractors, property owners, or site manager’s responsibility to put adequate safety measures in place to lower the risk of accidents. These parties must also have enough resources and time available to perform maintenance on the equipment.

Heavy Machinery Accidents

Heavy machinery accidents are one type of construction accident that can cause significant physical injury. Heavy machinery is required in construction, and studies show they account for a significant percentage of serious injuries and fatalities. There is a wide range of heavy machinery and equipment used in construction that presents occupational hazards to employees. These include:

Backhoes

Bulldozers

Cranes

Cranes

Drilling, punching, and shearing equipment

Excavators

Forklifts

Dump trucks

Cement mixers

Pipe and tube benders

Trenchers

Road graders and rollers

Operating or working near heavy equipment can result in injuries that include multiple bone fractures, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord damage.

Although these injuries can happen at any time, they are more likely to happen when the equipment is in motion or is poorly maintained. Employees can also be injured getting on or off the machinery or when it is required to work around power lines.

Electrocution Accidents

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported 80 electrocution fatalities in 2021. This does not include the number of people and employees who were injured from electric shock. Anytime employees or others are working around electricity, which is common on construction sites, there is the potential to be injured with serious burns, permanent disability, and death. 

People who have suffered from an electric shock can have a variety of symptoms. There may be very little external evidence of injury, while most of the physical damage is internal. The injured party may also have severe and obvious burns. 

The human body works on an electrical system, including the heart. When the body experiences an electric shock, it can disrupt the electrical system in the heart and cause cardiac arrest (heart attack). Electrocutions also trigger forceful muscular contractions, which can lead to broken bones and spinal cord injuries. 

Burns occur at the point of contact and where the electricity exits the body. Both entry and exit burns should be analyzed to determine the extent of the potential internal injury. On a construction site, electrocution and electric shock injuries can occur around power lines or when working with defective products, including power tools.

accident at construction site

Gas Explosions

Gas explosions at construction sites are not unusual and can be caused by split-second mistakes. Flames and smoke can go on for hours, forcing evacuations, causing injury, and tying up traffic. Oftentimes, the explosion is so significant that multiple people can be injured or killed.

One common cause is an external gas pipeline that explodes when the pipeline is damaged, and the gas mixes with outside gasses, including hydrogen. The heat and the blast of an explosion can cause several different kinds of injuries. 

Blast wave injuries happen when a high-pressure wave from the explosion contacts your skin. This can cause lung and abdominal injury, concussion, and inner ear trauma. The extent of the injuries will be determined by the type and strength of the blast, the person’s distance from the blast site, and whether the blast happened in an open or closed environment.

Secondary blast injuries can come from flying debris. These injuries happen when debris released from the explosion strikes the body, sometimes penetrating the skin. After a gas explosion, individuals can also suffer from impact injuries when they are thrown and strike a solid surface. 

These result in bone fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries. In some cases, individuals may also suffer a traumatic amputation during a gas explosion.

Dangers on Construction Sites

Construction is widely acknowledged as a dangerous industry. Accidents can happen during any phase of construction, from the initial site preparation to the finishing stages. Construction is inherently dangerous since it involves several factors that increase an employee’s risk.

Unfinished structures can be extremely dangerous when areas are unfastened or floors are unsafe. Walking through unfinished structures may expose people to falling objects, loose railings, and incomplete stairways.

Heavy machinery and specialized vehicles also increase the risk of severe injury. During construction, people may be exposed to chemicals from the construction or the demolition of buildings. For example, during demolition, asbestos can be released, which is known to increase the risk for certain types of lung cancer. 

Construction workers are also at risk for stress and repetitive injuries as their work involves heavy lifting and repetitive motion. These tasks can result in lower or upper back injuries, neck injuries, or repetitive stress conditions such as carpal tunnel or jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) caused by repetitive squatting.

The top risks and hazards of working on a construction site include:

Working at height

Electricity

Moving objects

Collapsing trenches

Noise (hearing damage)

Hand/arm vibration

Material and manual handling

Asbestos

Slips, trips, and falls

Airborne fibers and materials

What Is New York’s "Scaffolding Law"?

Construction workers in New York are covered by New York Labor Law Section 240, which has special provisions for workers who are injured on different types of scaffolding. This can include devices such as ladders, slings, pulleys, blocks, and of course, scaffolds. 

The law allows a worker injured on a job involving these devices to bring a lawsuit against the property owner or contractor who violates the section of the law. Under this law, the owner or contractor is strictly liable for the injury when it results from inadequate or missing safety equipment. 

The same law also protects workers who are injured from a falling object due to a violation of safety provisions. Under this law, you do not have to prove the contractor was careless to be compensated for your injuries. 

Section 200 of the New York City Labor Law also provides for employees, mandating that contractors and owners provide reasonable and proper protection. This includes ensuring that the machinery is generally safe and warning employees of any dangerous conditions that have not yet been rectified.

Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law

Experience Counts When You Choose a New York Construction Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured on a job site, don’t wait to speak with an attorney. However, it is also crucial that the attorney you choose has experience in construction accidents. There are nuances to the law that can make the difference between fair compensation and no compensation for the injuries you incur in a construction accident.

New York labor laws require employers to provide safe working conditions. Yet, each year dozens of construction workers may be killed on the job. Unfortunately, employers sometimes choose to cut corners in order to save money. 

Fighting for fair compensation may be one of the more important things you do after being injured. You may be entitled to money for your injuries, but achieving that goal is not always easy. You will find that insurance companies, construction site owners, and any other negligent party involved in your accident will fight you every step of the way. 

The attorneys at Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law take an aggressive approach to negotiating with insurance companies and tenaciously litigating for a fair verdict and settlement in court. We also know how to work within the workers’ compensation system to make sure you get the medical and wage replacement benefits you need. When you work with our legal team after a construction site accident, you benefit from over 80 years of combined experience and the compassion and skill we bring to each case.

Construction Accidents Can Result in Serious Injury

Each type of construction accident can result in serious injury. Each type of accident will have injuries that are more probable than others. In most construction accidents, workers are at risk for injury to multiple areas of the body. For example, a worker may suffer a traumatic brain injury and broken bones. Workers may also suffer from psychological injury following an accident on a construction site. Some injuries that commonly occur include:

Blast wave injuries

Penetration injuries

Electric shock

Traumatic brain injury

Spinal cord injury

Broken bones

Soft tissue injury

Burns

Lacerations

Kidney damage

Nerve damage

Psychological injury, including PTSD

Torn or ruptured ligaments and tendons

Traumatic amputation (loss of limb)

Types of Compensation Potentially Available After a Construction Accident

If your injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, your benefits will be dictated by New York’s workers’ compensation laws. You could be entitled to health care, lost wages, or survivor benefits. 

If you’re filing a claim against another party, the value of your claim is determined by several factors. Even if your expenses are high, your claim may be limited by the at-fault party’s insurance policy. When you work with an experienced construction accident attorney, they can help determine whether more than one party is responsible. 

If you were the victim of a construction accident, you might be entitled to economic and non-economic compensation. Economic compensation is for tangible and concrete losses that include expenses for which you will have receipts. Non-economic compensation is for subjective losses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. Compensation may include, but is not limited to:

Medical expenses

Compensation for your medical expenses is limited to those that are related to the injuries from your construction accident. Expenses that can be covered include medical specialists, physical therapy, prescription medications, and surgery. You may also be entitled to money for future medical care, including surgical procedures, home care, bracing, or physical therapy.

Lost wages

Compensation for lost wages is paid for the time you missed work related to your injuries from the construction accident. If you are unable to return to construction after you’ve recovered, you may also be entitled to help to find a new job.

Property damage

Compensation for this loss helps cover the cost of property destroyed during the accident, such as your car, motorcycle, bicycle, or other property you were carrying in your car.

Pain and suffering

The law allows an individual to be compensated for pain and suffering associated with an injury that was caused by someone else's negligence.

Emotional distress

This refers to the mental suffering that happens after a traumatic event.

Loss of consortium

This refers to a loss of relationships, affection, or sexual relations that result from your construction accident-related injuries.

Wrongful death

We understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one. You may recover damages to help cover medical expenses and funeral costs.

Call Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law Today for Help with Your New York Construction Accident Claim

After a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the emotional, physical, and financial losses that you incur. The experienced and skilled attorneys at Burns & Harris Attorneys At Law have decades of combined experience as accomplished negotiators and skilled litigators. 

During your confidential consultation, we help answer your questions and advise you on your next best steps. When you choose to hire us, we will begin working on your case immediately. We recognize the importance of being skillfully represented by experienced attorneys who place your best interest at the heart of your claim. 

Our legal team also understands the financial and emotional burden that happens after a significant physical injury. The combination of these factors drives our team to provide you with the best legal care possible. Contact our office today at 800-724-6529 to schedule your initial confidential consultation. You can also fill out our intake form and a member of our team will call you.

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