Here at Cellino Law, our team of experienced Melville construction accident lawyers knows that most people who get injured while working are not aware of their rights regarding the compensation they should get for their injuries. In fact, many people don’t even know they can get financial compensation for workplace injuries due to such accidents. Also, some victims of such accidents have this misconception that their eligibility for financial compensation is limited only to the medical expenses and nothing more.
In most cases, it takes weeks or months for people to recover from the injuries and potential illnesses suffered in these accidents. However, there are also cases where it can take years for individuals to completely recover. Such a long recovery period not only leads to a huge loss in wages but also expensive medical bills. It is only when the medical bills start piling up combined with other financial hardships that many victims realize the need to have a reliable and experienced attorney in New York by their side to get fair financial compensation for their injuries.
If you or one of your loved ones has suffered injuries in a construction accident, give us a call now to schedule a completely free consultation to discuss your case with one of our Melville personal injury attorneys. Here at Cellino Law, our team of attorneys is dedicated to ensuring that our clients get the maximum compensation they are entitled to.
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Construction Labor Laws in New York
The construction industry can be a dangerous place to work as the risks are relatively high for people working in this industry, especially in and around New York. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data tells us that 5% of the working population in New York is involved in the construction industry. Also, the data shows that 27% of fatal work-related injuries happen in the construction industry. In simple terms, workers in the construction industry are at a much higher risk of injuries while working in comparison to other industries.
This is why a number of laws exist with a focus on worker safety in order to protect construction workers. It is a fact that many such accidents can be completely prevented by just following the rules in place. If the project manager or the employer does not follow these laws and that leads to an accident, it gives a legal right to the employee to file a lawsuit against them. These lawsuits cover a lot more than the benefits derived from Worker’s Compensation. An employee might be eligible for extra compensation which starts from the day of filing the lawsuit. It might include compensation for retirement benefits, lost income, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
In the state of New York, there are different sections governing employee rights when seeking compensation under construction labor laws. These are Section 200, 240, and 241. These laws are designed to keep construction workers safe. If these laws or sections are violated and that leads to work accidents causing injuries, the party who is found guilty of violating these sections is going to be held accountable.
As per the section, every project manager or employer has the responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their workers. In simple terms, this section specifies various precautions an employer is required to take to ensure the construction workers remain safe. The act also specifies various precautions that should be taken when operating or installing equipment.
This section specifies that a third party can also be held accountable when an accident happens at a construction site. As per this section, losses that happen after the accident may not be covered under the worker’s compensation. For instance, 3rd parties are regularly held liable for scaffolding accidents.
This particular section is focused on parties who can be held liable for accidents that involve scaffolding. Take the example of a construction accident in an apartment building, a multi-family home or a commercial building. This section defines that the contractor, property owner, and even tenants in the building might be held liable for the losses and injuries suffered by construction workers. In such cases, accountability is absolute. In simple terms, it means that the only thing that is going to be disputed when a worker makes a claim under this section is the amount of compensation.
If the construction workers suffer severe injuries or the accident results in death, the cost of compensation is going to be extremely high. This is also the reason third parties, in most cases, will argue that the statute does not cover that particular accident.
The type of building where the accident happened also plays an important role in the matter. Simply put, whether the accident happened in a tunnel, a bridge, a water tower, garage building, or any other kind of building, it matters in the lawsuit. In order for a worker to qualify for compensation under this section, they must be involved in one of the following roles:
- Basic maintenance services, salvage work, and more
- Pointing the building
It is imperative for you to get in touch with an attorney as quickly as possible if you have been injured in an accident at a construction site and are covered under the Scaffold Law. In fact, you should immediately hire the services of an experienced lawyer when you get injured due to an accident at a construction site. Our team of experienced lawyers will work hard to help you recover fair financial compensation for your injuries. We will make sure that you get the right outcome.
As per this section, the owner as well as the contractor has the responsibility to ensure the protection of employees from hazards that might cause injuries. This section details various safety requirements at a job site. This section clearly defines that a contractor is required to place a barrier around the construction elevator. The kind of gear a construction worker is required to wear is also clearly mentioned. Various precautions that should be taken by the contractor or the employer to reduce the risk of serious accidents including slip and fall accidents are also detailed. In short, this law dictates various precautions that should be taken to ensure the protection of a construction worker at the job site.
The goal of this law is to ensure a safe working environment for all the workers. If the contractor or the employer violates the safety requirements outlined in this law and that results in an accident causing injuries, they are going to be held liable for such injuries due to their negligence.
Accountability in Melville Construction Accidents
If you take a walk around New York right now, you’ll find that a lot of construction activity is going on almost everywhere. It’s easy to see the number of workers involved in the construction industry. With so much construction work, the existence of these laws ensures a safe working environment for the construction workers. The New York labor laws are clear on the parties who can be held accountable in case of an accident at a construction site.
Construction Owners and General Contractors
The general contractor or the construction owner has a responsibility to ensure safe working conditions for the workers. As per the New York Labor Law – Section 200, reasonable protection needs to be provided to employees by the contractors. All the site owners required are required to fulfill this legal requirement. The general contractor or the construction owner also has to immediately deal with a problem in case an issue results in an injury due to a work-related accident. They also need to provide the necessary equipment to the workers to allow them to work safely.
The construction workers are also required to have proper training. As per section 240 (The Scaffolding Law) of the New York Labor Laws, all the equipment at a construction site including scaffolding need to be well secured. The contractor or the property owner might be held responsible if you get injured injuries due to failure of:
This law is applicable when a worker is doing some kind of construction work such as repairing, demolishing, cleaning, painting the building, or erecting a structure. It is also important to note that the worker/victim is not required to prove negligence as the owner or contractor is strictly liable.
Construction sites often have subcontractors. Whenever a contractor wins a bid for a construction project, they might choose to outsource some of the work to subcontractors. Similar to a contractor, all the subcontractors are also required to be responsible for keeping the work environment safe for the workers. They are responsible in case an employee gets injured at the construction site.
Architects and Engineers
The architect and site engineer might also be held accountable for injuries suffered by a worker due to a construction-related accident. The architect and engineer are responsible for designing the building and various structures. Every building is required to meet a specific set of standards. For instance, there is a legal requirement in Melville that a construction site has to be inspected regularly. If the injuries suffered by the construction workers are due to issues with the building structure or other related problems, the architect and engineer might also be held liable.
It is important to keep in mind that this law is applicable only if there is a flaw in the building design or there are structural issues in the building.
A construction site has a variety of equipment related to construction. These machines are required for a variety of construction activities but any defect in these machines might cause injuries even if a highly trained worker is operating those machines. If you have been injured due to problems with a machine at the construction site, the vendor or the manufacturer of the machine might be held accountable.
Injuries Commonly Caused by construction Accidents
Regardless of the severity or type of injury you have suffered, our team of lawyers will give you the required help. We will begin by gathering the information to figure out what exactly happened and only after that, we will chalk out a strategy to help you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Our team of lawyers has helped hundreds of victims of construction accidents and we have a number of satisfied clients. While a variety of injuries can happen at a construction site, here is a list of some of the most common types of injuries suffered by construction workers:
- Hearing loss
- Spinal cord injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Crash injuries
- Bone fractures
- Abrasions and lacerations
Cost of Construction Injuries
As far as the cost of treating injuries due to construction accidents is concerned, it varies a lot but it’s a given that it’s going to be expensive. This is due to the reason that there are many other unseen factors. The cost of construction injuries typically include:
Medical expenses always follow an injury and in case of a construction injury, it can get really expensive. The medical cost involves the cost of trauma care, ambulance cost, cost of hospitalization, prescription medications, rehabilitation as well as ongoing care. The stress level of the victim also goes up when medical bills start to pile up. In fact, many victims have to get into debt in order to pay for medical bills.
In cases of a severe injury, a person is often not able to get back to work. This leads to loss of wages and it can quickly add up to thousands of dollars per week. Also, when the treatment period gets longer, it also means that they are not able to earn anything during that period. Injuries might also be permanent which means a person is not able to work for the rest of their life or is forced to work in other fields where the pay is less. In some cases, a person might also have to live only off disability benefits.
Cost of Insurance
A worker who gets injured while working might apply for Worker’s Compensation claim. When he/she is awarded the claim, the company is going to see an increase in their insurance premium. In simple terms, it will increase the operating cost for the company. This is the reason that construction-related accidents tend to be extremely expensive with huge financial backlash.
Cost of Litigation
When a construction company doesn’t have the required insurance coverage or they are fighting a third-party personal injury lawsuit due to an accident, they would also have to spend money on litigation costs. It simply means the cost of hiring legal representatives. In case the company ends up losing the lawsuit, all the judgment related costs are also required to be paid.
It should be clear by now that the total cost of any construction-related accident can add up and it’s much better to spend money to prevent accidents in the first place. However, there will still be companies who will keep ignoring the safety requirements with the false reasoning that the safety requirements are time-consuming and expensive. These safety measures have been put in place for a reason.
These might seem extreme and costly to a company but these help in preventing unnecessary loss of life as well as injuries and paying out a significant sum of money in case things go wrong. Construction accidents can quickly get expensive for companies as well as workers, and therefore, companies should think of ways to prevent accidents instead of dealing with the aftermath.
Workers Compensation Benefits for Construction Accidents
As per the New York law, a reasonable amount of Workers’ Compensation coverage is required to be carried by every company. Still, there are exceptions. The coverage under Workers’ Compensation allows for occupational illnesses, toxic exposure, physical injuries as well as various other health conditions related to the job. However, mental illness isn’t covered. This cover benefits people suffering from long-term disabilities.
It is also wrong for workers to assume that they are eligible for the benefits automatically just because they got injured. In order to avail the Worker’s Compensation benefits, it is important for you to file the claim as quickly as possible in order to avoid missing deadlines. Also, a worker needs to follow the proper process when it comes to filing a claim. The correct procedure needs to be followed when it comes to reporting injuries and making claims. Without following the proper process, it is entirely possible that a construction worker might not get the required benefits.
Benefits of Hiring a Melville Construction Accident Lawyer
As far as the type of benefits a worker can receive is concerned, it depends on the type of injury suffered. Here’s a list of some of the potential benefits that can be received by a worker:
- Permanent disability benefits
- Short-term disability benefits
- Coverage for reasonable medical expenses
- Approximately two-thirds of the weekly pay
It would be wrong for a worker to assume that they will get all these benefits after suffering an injury. The truth is that the insurance company will try to minimize the payments as much as possible. More often than not, workers discover this the hard way when they do not get the benefits they deserve.
Insurance companies exist to make as much money as possible, just like any other business. In order to maximize their profits, they will try to minimize compensation. Insurance companies will try several methods to avoid making a payout such as:
- They will argue that it’s not necessary to provide medical treatment
- They will argue that the worker is perfectly fine and should return to work
- They will dispute whether the worker had to miss so much work
- They will try to deny that injuries have anything to do with work
- They will try to dispute the rigidity of the injuries
If you are denied benefits or you are unable to get the benefits you should, your best bet going forward is to dispute the decision. In simple terms, the case needs to be taken to an administrative law judge. You should work with an experienced and reliable construction accident lawyer in case you want to take the case to an administrative law judge. The experienced lawyer will help you learn everything you should know about the Worker’s Compensation system in Melville, New York. An experienced lawyer can be of great help and make sure that you get what you are entitled to.
Steps To Take after a Construction Accident
You shouldn’t be under the misconception that third party compensation or Worker’s Compensation benefits are guaranteed if you get injured due to an accident at work. Benefits can be denied in case the filing for the claim has an error. It is also possible for you to not get any compensation. Therefore, these are the steps you should follow in order to protect your rights:
Get Medical Attention Immediately
Your health is the topmost priority. If you get injured at work, it is important for you to get immediate medical attention. Call an ambulance in case you can’t get to the emergency room. Immediate medical attention plays an important role when it comes to recovery. Once you receive the required medical attention, you will get a recommendation for treatment by the physician as per your case and injuries. This step is going to play an important role when it comes to your claim.
Immediately Report the Accident
In order to receive the benefits under Workers’ Compensation, you are required to inform the employer about the injury. You need to do this as quickly as possible. If the injury is serious, you first need to get medical attention. Once you can, you need to report the accident to the employer. The employer needs to be updated regularly as and when you are given new information by doctors.
Employers Should File the Report
Once you have informed the employer, they should also write the report. Keep in mind that you are entitled to that report. It is also recommended to go through the report yourself in order to make sure that it is accurate. Always get a copy of the report as you’re going to need it later.
Get Witness Statements
If there are witnesses who saw what happened, you should try to get a statement from these witnesses. It is going to play a huge role when making the claim. These statements play an extremely important role in case the injuries you have suffered due to the accident are disputed.
Document the Accident
There are high chances that you will have to describe your accident multiple times. You need to ensure that any statement you make doesn’t have any discrepancy. Therefore, it is recommended for you to write down your statement immediately. You can refer to it later in order to remain consistent.
Hire a Construction Accident Lawyer
Hiring the services of an attorney with experience in construction accidents as well as filing for Workers’ Compensation claims offers a number of benefits. The lawyer will give you the necessary guidance and make sure that your rights are completely protected. Also, you need not worry about denials or delays as the experienced attorney will take care of everything and allow you to recover peacefully.
Fatal Accidents on Construction Sites
Over 4,000 fatal work-related accidents happen each year as per the data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These accidents happen in various industries but the construction industry accounts for more than 1,000 fatal accidents each year making it the industry with the highest number of such accidents. If one of your loved ones has suffered a fatal accident, you might be eligible to get financial compensation as per the Worker’s Compensation policy. The death benefits such as the cost of burial and funeral are also covered by the policy. If there is a temporary disability, you might also get paid in installments.
In the case of wrongful death, you can seek more financial compensation. If you are wondering about the definition of wrongful death in construction accidents, it simply means death caused due to carelessness, wrongful action, or negligence of a third party.
To get wrongful death compensation, the family members are required to prove:
- Negligence or carelessness on behalf of a third party leading to wrongful death
- Close family members of the victim have suffered losses
- Third-party is at fault for negligence
In the case of wrongful death, the state of New York allows for many financial compensations in addition to the Worker’s Compensation. It might include compensation for financial support, companionship, and pain and suffering. Get in touch with our lawyers based in New York to get more information on various financial compensations you might be eligible for.
If someone close to you has lost their life due to an accident at a construction site, you should immediately get in touch with an experienced and reliable construction accident attorney in New York. You should never accept any settlement or sign any form without discussing it with your lawyer.
Review Your Injury Claim With a Melville Construction Accident Lawyer
Our team of professional, highly skilled, and experienced Melville wrongful death attorneys at Cellino Law will work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call our Melville injury firm today to know more about the various legal options you have.
We offer a completely free consultation without any obligation, and you do not have to worry about the costs. You can have as much time as needed to discuss your case. We are interested in listening to your story and in advising you on the way forward.