Here at Cellino Law, we have discovered that construction accident victims often do not know about their rights. Some victims don’t even know they can go after compensation for the damages they have incurred. Others are under the impression that this type of compensation only covers medical expenses.
Their illnesses or injuries typically take a lot of time to recover from and this results in significant losses and costs, such as lost wages, medical bills, and more. Victims can benefit from the assistance of our professional and experienced Buffalo construction accident attorneys to obtain the compensation that they deserve.
While every case might be unique, the right information is essential in each case. We provide the necessary information to these victims through an initial risk-free consultation. Victims can discuss their accidents with highly experienced Buffalo construction accident lawyer for free. In this way, victims can discover more about the laws in New York and the way they work in their case. Our lawyers also explain what rights the victim has, the worth of the case, and the right way to approach it.
If you recently sustained injuries in an accident on a construction site, we are here to help. Schedule your free appointment with our New York injury law firm. We will make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve for your claim. The best part of working with Cellino Law is the fact that if we are unable to win the case, you are not liable to pay us any fees. Contact our leading injury law firm as soon as possible to get the process started with our skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers in Buffalo.
Table of Contents
Common Types of Construction Accident Injuries
It’s sadly common to see people engaging in reckless behavior at worksites. Because of this, the risk of accidents is fairly high. At Cellino Law, our Buffalo construction accident lawyers are fully aware that construction accidents happen for a number of reasons. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll want to be aware of your rights under the law. We can help our clients with a wide range of construction accident cases, such as:
On construction sites, it’s common for both equipment and materials to be used at heights far above the ground. If precautions aren’t taken to secure these materials, there is a chance that they could fall to the ground, which could lead to an injury. It’s possible for a falling object to cause severe back, head, and neck injuries even if you’re wearing a hard hat and other safety equipment.
Issues With Job Site Maintenance
If a worksite doesn’t get the upkeep that it needs, the risk of an accident increases. It’s essential for worksites to provide workers with safety equipment and give them the training that they need. Otherwise, the risk of injury will be much higher.
It’s important for scaffolding to be correctly installed so that it can be used safely. Upkeep is also necessary. If scaffolding is not handled appropriately, it could cause a serious accident to occur. These accidents could lead to devastating injuries and could even be fatal.
Accidents Involving Vehicles
It’s common for vehicles like bulldozers, trucks, and excavators to be used on job sites. Operating and even working around these vehicles can pose a risk. If someone operates a vehicle without the proper training, or if they are reckless, it could lead to catastrophic construction accidents.
It’s essential for cranes to be properly installed, maintained, and operated. If a crane isn’t used correctly, or if it’s improperly installed, it could cause the crane to fall or collapse, which could cause devastating construction accidents and multiple injured construction workers.
It’s very common for people to fall off ladders on job sites throughout New York. While these accidents aren’t always serious, they could lead to serious injuries and can even be fatal. Workers that survive their fall could be left with a disability that could prevent them from working in construction in the future.
Ceiling or Roofing Collapsing
Falling from roofs isn’t the only risk that construction workers face. It’s possible for roofing or ceiling to collapse, which can lead to a fall. These falls can be fatal or lead to severe injuries. People could also be injured if they are struck by falling debris.
These are just a few types of accidents that frequently occur on job sites. However, there are many other factors that could have also contributed to an accident. You shouldn’t wait to contact our legal team if you were involved in a construction accident, even if your accident differs from the examples listed here. We’d be happy to provide you with a free case evaluation. We’ll inform you of your legal rights and help you to find the best way to proceed.
Workspaces With Improper Protection
It’s not unusual for workers to be in spaces that have holes in either the walls or the flooring. A lack of guardrails is also a problem. All it takes is a single wrong step for a worker to fall, and there won’t be anything in place to protect them.
It’s not unusual for reinforcing bars to be exposed while working on construction sites. These bars may be completely unguarded. If a worker does fall, they could come into contact with one of these sharp bars, leading to impalement or other fatal injuries.
Even if a worker is able to survive a fall, they could be injured in a way that will impact them for the rest of their life. For example, a worker could experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or an injury to the spinal cord.
Struck By Objects
It’s common to see a range of objects moving throughout a job site. It’s easy for a worker to be struck by one of these objects. These are a few of the ways in which a constructor worker could be struck by a moving object:
It’s not unusual to see electrical accidents at worksites. Some sites don’t have finished electrical systems. Ungrounded sites are also common. If a worker comes into contact with power lines, uses equipment incorrectly, or walks in an area without proper ground-fault protection, they could be electrocuted. Although many accidents involving electrocution are fatal, it is also possible for workers to be burned, suffer cardiac arrest, internal injuries, or be injured in other ways.
Being Trapped Between Items
In some cases, a worker may be caught between two objects. This can happen during excavation accidents, trench collapses, when a worker is trapped in heavy machinery, and in other situations. When these accidents take place, a worker could be crushed or need to have a limb amputated. A worker could also be deprived of oxygen. In many cases, these types of accidents occur because a job site is not properly inspected, safety requirements aren’t being followed, or a job site is unsafe.
New York State Construction Labor Laws
Working in construction can be incredibly dangerous, and the risks of being in this field are even higher if you’re based in New York. Data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 5% of the workforce in New York consists of construction workers. However, 27% of fatal workplace injuries happen to construction workers.
There are laws that are designed to keep construction workers safe and reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries. When these laws are followed, many accidents can be avoided. If an accident occurred on a worksite because laws were being violated, any employee that’s been injured has the option of filing a lawsuit. A lawsuit will cover much more than worker’s compensation benefits would provide. In a lawsuit, you can request damages for lost income, retirement benefits, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Three separate sections of the labor laws in New York state specify that construction workers can seek damages if they are injured in an on-the-job accident. These are sections 200, 240, and 241. Breaking these laws can lead to accidents that cause severe construction site injuries. The parties that violate these laws can be held liable.
N.Y. Labor Law 200
This labor law states that employers must provide construction workers with a safe working environment. It specifies that precautions must be taken place to ensure that all of the people working on the site are able to do their job safely. When machinery is being operated or equipment is being installed, precautions must be taken to ensure that everyone is reasonably protected.
N.Y. Labor Law 240
This states that it is possible for a third party to be held responsible for an accident that occurs on a construction light. The losses after an accident may not be covered by worker’s compensation, which is why this law is so crucial. As an example, third parties are often held liable after scaffolding accidents occur.
New York Labor Law 240 specifically focuses on the parties that are liable for accidents involving scaffolding. If an accident occurs while services are being provided at a commercial building, a multi-family home, or an apartment building, it is possible to hold the property owner, contractor, and even the tenant liable for any injuries or losses that a worker sustains. Because of this law, liability in these cases is absolute. When a claim like this is made, only the amount of damages a worker is seeking should be in dispute.
The cost of liability can be high if an accident has lead to a severe injury or a fatality. Because of this, a third-party may argue that an accident should not be covered by this statute. It’s important to consider the type of building at which the accident took place. It’s also crucial to look at the structure the injured party was working on. This could be a building, a bridge, a water tower, a garage, a tunnel, or another type of structure. The work being done must also include at least one of the following things:
- Pointing a building
- Erecting a device or structure, such as ladders, scaffolds, slings, braces, pulleys, irons, stays, or ropes
- Basic maintenance, such as inspections, interior cleaning, salvage work, and light bulb changes are not covered.
If you were involved in a construction accident that may be covered under the Scaffold Law, you’ll want to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Speaking with a lawyer is crucial if you want to ensure that your rights are protected. We can work with you to recover the compensation you may be owed from third-parties. We’ll help you recover the maximum amount of funds.
N.Y. Labor Law 241
This law states that contractors and owners must ensure that workers are protected against any safety hazards that could lead to an injury. The law specifies the safety requirements that must be followed on job sites. As an example, there must be barriers placed around a construction elevator. Protective equipment must be provided to workers. Precautions must also be taken to reduce the risk of slips and falls. This law is designed to provide workers with numerous protections on job sites.
Every requirement that is outlined under this law is designed to make job sites safer. If even one requirement is violated, it could lead to a serious injury. Because of this, violators are able to be held liable for injuries that occur because of their failure to meet these requirements.
New York Construction Accident Statistics
Deaths and accidents at construction sites have been decreasing for some time. Unfortunately, accidents still happen frequently. According to one study conducted in 2017, only 5% of the workforce in Buffalo works in construction. However, 27% of on-the-job fatalities in New York take place at construction sites. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2015, 3.4% of all construction workers employed full-time were injured on the job. There were 46 construction site accidents in New York City in 2018, and 12 of those accidents were fatal. Any construction worker based in New York is facing serious threats.
Who’s Liable For My Injuries After an NYC Construction Accident?
If you walk through New York, you’ll see construction projects everywhere you look. Many people throughout the state work in construction. Because of this, there are laws in place that are designed to keep workers safe on the job. In many cases, these laws specify who can be held liable for injuries that occur on a job site.
General Contractors and Construction Site Owners
If the owner of a property decides to build a new structure or make changes to an existing structure, they need to ensure that the people working on that project are protected. New York Labor Law Section 200 states that general contractors and owners are required by law to provide reasonable protections to the people that they are employing.
Construction sites must be safe; it’s a legal requirement. If there are issues that could lead to an injury, those dangers will need to be handled quickly. It’s essential that workers are provided with the equipment they need to complete their job safely.
Proper training is also a requirement. Proper owners or contractors must ensure that a workplace is a safe place.
New York Labor Law Section 240 is often called “The Scaffolding Law.” This law states that both scaffolding and other types of equipment used on construction worksites must be properly installed and secured. General contractors or property owners can be held liable if a worker is injured because of:
- Irons or other types of devices
The law is relevant is a worker was demolishing, repairing, erecting, cleaning, altering, or painting a structure or building. Because property owners and contractors are considered strictly liable, it’s not necessary to prove negligence.
You’ll see many small moving parts on a construction site. After a general contractor successfully makes a winning bid, some of the work they need to complete may be outsourced to subcontractors. As is the case with a general contractor, subcontractors must provide a safe environment for workers. If you’ve been injured on a job site, and a subcontractor is responsible, they may be liable to compensate you for the injuries that you’ve sustained.
Engineers and Architects
After a worker is injured at a construction site in New York, it might be possible for them to hold either site engineers or architects accountable for those injuries. Buildings and other structures are designed by professionals. There are certain standards professionals must follow. For example, in Buffalo, it’s a requirement for sites to be inspected on a regular basis.
Were you injured because of a structural issue that caused a building to collapse? Was there a flaw in the building’s design? Were you injured because a structure wasn’t inspected properly? If this is the case, it might be possible to hold an engineer or architect accountable for your injuries.
You’ll see many types of equipment and machinery on a construction site. Defective equipment can lead to an injury, even if a worker is properly trained. If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury because of defective equipment, it might be possible for you to hold the manufacturer or the vendor that sold the equipment strictly liable.
Common Buffalo Construction Injuries
Cellino Law is ready to assist you, no matter what kind of injuries you’ve suffered or how severe they are. We’ll determine what your rights are under the law and will work to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are eligible for. Construction workers suffer many types of injuries, such as:
- Bone fractures
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Injuries to the neck or back
- Knee and shoulder injuries
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Eye injuries, including injuries that lead to vision loss
- Hearing loss
What Damages Can A Buffalo Construction Accident Lawyer Help Me Recover?
Construction injuries have many costs. It’s easy to see some of the ways in which an injury is costly. However, other factors may not be considered. These are a few of the expenses that are associated with construction injuries.
If someone is seriously injured, they’ll need to visit the emergency room. The cost of an ambulance, trauma care, surgery, hospitalization time, intensive care, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and ongoing care are just some of the medical expenses a person may need to cover after they are injured.
Loss of Wages
If an accident results in injured construction workers, they may not be able to work for a long time. This could add up to thousands in just one week. The longer a worker is unable to return to their job, the more income they will lose. In some cases, a worker’s injuries will permanently keep them from working in construction. This may mean that a worker needs to look for a job in a field that pays less. Alternatively, it may be necessary for someone to live off disability benefits. Loss wages can add up in no time.
Delays to a Project
While a worker that is injured will suffer after an accident, an injury can also cause problems for a construction company. If a worker is unable to return to a job, it could lead to delays. This is even more likely to happen if the injured party is a specialist. Beyond this, after an accident occurs, all work will have to stop while the injured parties receive medical care. OSHA may decide to launch an investigation after an accident occurs. This could cause work to stop, and it could even lead to a project being shut down.
The Cost of Insurance
After a worker sustains an injury, they are eligible to make a worker’s compensation claim. When a claim is made, the insurance premiums for a construction company can dramatically increase. This means that the operating costs for a company could be much higher. An accident can have serious financial consequences for a construction company.
The Cost of Litigation
If a company is not properly insured, or if that company is facing third-party liability because of an accident, they may have to deal with a personal injury lawsuit. This means that companies will need to cover the cost of legal representation. Injured parties often win lawsuits, which means companies may have to pay expensive judgments.
These costs can really add up, which is why it’s best to keep accidents from occurring in the first place. Companies might assume that meeting safety requirements is too time-consuming and expensive. Even though the standards set by OSHA may seem extreme, costs will be much higher if an accident occurs on a job site because safety requirements are not being met. It’s best for companies to strive to ensure the safety of their workers. Construction accidents can be tremendously expensive, and in the long run, taking precautions can save money.
Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
New York law states that companies must carry a reasonable amount of coverage for worker’s compensation. There are only a few exceptions to this. Physical injuries, toxic exposure, occupational illnesses, and other health conditions related to the job should be covered. In most cases, worker’s compensation does not provide coverage for mental illness. However, there are usually benefits available to people dealing with a long-term disability.
Workers that have been injured shouldn’t assume that they will receive the benefits they are owned automatically. Workers might file a claim before a deadline. Workers need to know what procedures they should follow after they are injured. They will need to follow the correct procedures when reporting injuries and making claims. If a worker fails to do this, they may not receive the coverage they need.
What kind of benefits will a worker be eligible for after they are injured? This can vary based on how serious the injuries are. Some potential benefits are:
- Reasonable coverage for medical expenses
- Up to two-thirds of a workers typical weekly pay will be replaced
- Short-term or permanent benefits for disability.
You may assume that you will receive all of these benefits if you are injured in an accident that takes place at a construction site. Sadly, insurance companies may fight with workers to keep them from receiving the benefits that they are owed. It’s not unusual for a worker to struggle to receive benefits that they are entitled to.
Insurance companies are for-profit companies, which is why they want to reduce construction accident claims whenever it’s an option. There are many things that an insurance company might challenge to avoid paying benefits, such as:
- Denying that an injury is related to the job
- Disputing the seriousness of injuries
- Arguing that medical treatment is unnecessary
- Disputing whether or not it was necessary to miss that much work
- Whether or not a work is eligible to return to work
If an insurance company denies your claim, or if you do not receive all of the benefits you need, it may be necessary to dispute the decision made. This might mean that you need to have your construction accident case heard by an administrative law judge. If you choose to do this, you’ll want to work with a construction accident attorney that has plenty of experience helping clients like you. They’ll be able to tell you more about the worker’s compensation system in New York, look at the laws, and ensure you receive the benefits that you are owed.
Steps to Take After A Construction Accident
It’s important to remember that you aren’t guaranteed to receive third-party compensation or worker’s compensation benefits after an injury. If errors are made when you file your personal injury claim, you could be denied benefits, or you may not receive all of the compensation you are owed. In order to protect your rights, there are certain steps you’ll want to take after your accident occurs.
Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
You’ll want to prioritize your health after an accident. If you require medical treatment, you should make sure you receive it right away. You should visit either your doctor or go to the emergency room even if an ambulance isn’t necessary. If you get the treatment you need right away, it will be easier for you to recover from your injury. Seeing a doctor also means that you’ll have medical records verifying your injury, as well as recommendations for treatment from a medical professional. These things can strengthen your claim.
Report the Accident Quickly
In order to receive worker’s compensation benefits, you’ll need to report the accident and your injuries to your employer as soon as possible. In some cases, you may need to receive medical treatment immediately. Do this first, and then report the accident as swiftly as possible. You’ll want to regularly update your employer about your injuries when you receive new information from your doctor.
Make Sure Your Employers File a Report
After your employer is notified of the accident and your injuries, they are required to complete and file a written report. You are entitled to receive a copy of this report. You will want to check the report to ensure that it is accurate and hold onto a copy in case it is needed for your claim.
Talk with Potential Witnesses
You should speak with people that witnessed your accident and get a statement from them right away. You can reference these statements when you make your claim. This can help you if there are any disputes about how the injury took place.
Document Your Statement
It’s likely that you’ll be asked to describe your accident many times. You’ll want to make sure that the statements you make are correct and that there are no discrepancies. Because of this, it’s smart to write your own statement about an accident right away. You’ll be able to reference this statement whenever you are asked to recount your accident.
Lastly, you’ll want to work alongside a construction accident attorney that has ample experience. Your lawyer will be able to inform you of your rights. They can help you throughout the worker’s compensation process and work to avoid denials or delays. Your attorney can also see if there is a third-party liability in your case. If a third-party is liable, they can help you to file a claim.
What You Need to Know About Workplace Fatalities
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that more than 4,000 fatal workplace accidents occur each year. There are more than 1,000 fatal workplace accidents just in the construction industry. According to these statistics, 1 out of every 5 American workers that suffer a fatal accident at work is in construction.
If you are the family member of a construction worker that suffered a fatal accident, you can seek compensation from the workers’ compensation policy of the worker’s employer. There is a range of death benefits that workers’ compensation should cover, such as the cost of a funeral and burial. Temporary disability benefits may also be received in installment payments.
If an accident leads to wrongful death, it is possible to seek more compensation. What qualifies as a wrongful death? This is a death that occurs because of another party’s negligent behavior or wrongful action. If the family of a construction accident victim decides to file a wrongful death suit, there are a number of things that must be proven, such as:
- Negligent behavior from the at-fault party
- That the death occurred because of negligent or wrongful behavior
- Close members of the victim sustained losses after the accident
In the state of New York, there are additional types of financial compensation that can be requested in a wrongful death claim that death benefits for workers’ compensation do not cover. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, loss of financial support, and compensation for a reduction in quality of life.
If your loved one was killed in an accident on a construction worksite, you should talk to a wrongful death attorney in Buffalo before you accept an offer for a settlement. If you work with the experienced team at Cellino Law, you can trust us to secure the settlement that you are owed.