Construction can be a dangerous industry if you or your employer do not keep up with current safety practices, perform regular maintenance on your equipment or follow guidelines and mandates set by the government. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2020 the private construction industry accounted for the most fatalities in New York.
The industry had 13 deaths during the year, with five of those being from trips and falls. The additional eight deaths were members of the specialty trade contractor subsector.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Because construction encompasses so many tasks, there are a variety of accidents that can happen on the job site. Many construction injuries are caused by one of the following:
- Defective equipment
- Falling objects like siding, shingles or any other building material
- Falling from a high area
Construction injuries can lead to disfigurement, brain injuries, permanent disabilities and even death in the most extreme cases.
Determine What Type of Case You Have
If you were injured in a construction accident, or a loved one was one of the fatalities within the industry, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. The cause of the injury will determine what type of lawsuit you can file. The first step in choosing a construction accident lawyer is to determine which injury category your situation falls under.
In New York, wrongful death is defined as any death caused by the direct negligence of another person or party. A personal representative or executor of the deceased is allowed to file this type of lawsuit.
If a construction company’s employee or the workplace is responsible for the injury or accident, your injury may qualify you for a workers’ compensation lawsuit. Almost all businesses must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the cost of lost wages and medical expenses for any employee injured on the job.
In some cases, the company will not pay for their employee’s workers’ compensation insurance. If you do not receive the compensation you are entitled to through the insurance, you may want to file a lawsuit against the company.
While many construction injuries fall under the workers’ compensation umbrella, you could also qualify for an additional personal injury lawsuit and additional compensation. Typically, these lawsuits are filed against an insurance company or other third-party rather than a product manufacturer, manager or employer. An example of this is if a drunk driver hit you when speeding through a construction site, you could file a lawsuit against the driver.
If a defective piece of equipment, tool or product caused the injury, your lawsuit may fall under both workers’ compensation and product liability. If the case is one of product liability, you would sue the defective product’s maker to receive compensation. For example, if your protective gloves were improperly made and you developed burns while on the job while doing your everyday duties, you may be able to sue the maker in a product liability suit.
Create a List of Possible Attorneys
The next step in filing a lawsuit after a construction injury or death is to create a possible list of attorneys to use. Testimonials and reviews are easy to find online, through Yelp and Google. Check reviews of the firm and the lawyer. Remember that because most reviews are written by the attorney’s former clients, they are likely to fall on one side of the extreme spectrum. They will either be bitterly disappointed or thrilled with their experience. Be objective when looking at potential attorneys.
Another way to find potential attorneys is to ask friends and relatives for referrals. Stick with people you trust and ask them about their experience in detail.
Do Some Basic Research
With a quick Google search, you can find news articles and case history for any attorney. There may be news stories about their failures or successes, or they may have been honored with special awards for their work. Many times, links to these stories will be on the attorney’s website and easy to find because they are proud of their performance.
No law firm or attorney can win 100% of cases. Check for one that wins most of its cases and has good customer support, is responsive and is in a good location. If you are injured, you may have to travel, so choose an attorney who will come to you or offer virtual appointments.
Make a List of Questions
When you visit with an attorney, it is important that you know what to ask. While you want a general idea of how you will get along with the person, it is not beneficial to go off feeling alone. Consider some of the following questions when you meet with an attorney:
- What are the chances your case will be successful?
- Will the attorney you are meeting with be the one to handle your case or will they send you to an assistant?
- How many staff members does the attorney have to help with your case? Those with more team members can handle more work and have more resources to dedicate to your case.
- When is payment due, and how much will it be? Most personal injury attorneys do not charge unless you receive an award, but this is not always the case. Choose an attorney who is honest about what your costs will be.
- When was the law firm established and how long has the attorney been practicing in personal injury law?
At the same time, avoid lawyers who provide you with a guarantee or a claim of 100% success rate. A good attorney will acknowledge that no one wins all their cases, and even with a strong case that an attorney has prepared well, you may not win. Avoid law firms who promise you a compensation amount before the case has even started.
If you feel the attorney is not answering your questions honestly, or is avoiding some of them, they may not be your best choice. There may be some hard facts you have to accept about your case, and you want an attorney who will be honest with you from the beginning.
What Will You Deal With?
Every injury affects the person differently, and every lawsuit is different. In general, many who have construction injuries find themselves dealing with the following issues:
- Lost earning capacity or wages because you cannot work during your injury.
- Long-term earning ability is decreased if the injury is permanent.
- Insurance companies try to settle cases for low amounts rather than paying out what you is owed.
- Debilitating medical bills.
A construction accident lawyer can not only help you get compensation for the medical bills you have to pay, but also work with the insurance company to make sure what they are offering is fair. A good attorney also knows when to accept a settlement, when to negotiate further and when to take the case all the way to trial.
At Cellino Law, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions about your injury and potential lawsuit. Consider our law firm and qualified attorneys to guide you through the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Schedule a free consultation with us today through our website.