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Everything You Need to Know About Construction Accidents and the Law
As one of the world’s great capitals, New York City is home to a thriving construction industry. The city is also experiencing a construction boom of historic proportions. In 2017, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) issued more than 168,000 permits, an all-time high.
There’s a price to pay, however, for all of those gleaming skyscrapers, towers and residential buildings: More serious accidents, involving both workers and pedestrians.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a New York City construction accident, here’s what you need to know.
New York Construction Injuries: By the Numbers
Construction and New York City are linked in the public imagination, as the area is famous for its many notable bridges, roads, airports and commercial and residential buildings. The construction trade also serves an important economic engine and jobs provider for New Yorkers.
Increased activity in the construction sector, however, has resulted in a spike in serious injuries. Construction accidents saw a significant jump in 2018, according to the DOB. From January, 2018 to July, 2018, 469 people were injured in 457 on-the-job accidents — an increase of 17-percent over the same time period in 2017. The number of construction-related fatalities doubled over the same time frame, from four to eight.
Overall, construction jobs continue to be the most dangerous form of employment in New York City. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 40-percent of work fatalities in this area are related to construction.
The most frequent causes of construction-related injuries include:
- Falling debris
- Trips resulting from hazards or debris
- Lack of protection from falls
- Injuries from power tools or other equipment
- Being caught in between objects
- Pedestrian injuries from debris or falls
While these are some of the most frequent causes of serious construction injuries, there are myriad other ways to suffer harm on a job site. This is one reason why the construction industry is highly-regulated and may be subject to local, state and national codes, rules and laws.
I’ve Been Injured in a Construction Accident: What’s Next?
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, it’s important for you to realize that you have options. Depending on the particular facts of a case, New York State laws may allow those injured in such accidents to pursue action against property owners, general contractors, subcontractors and other parties who may be responsible for negligent action.
These laws require that contractors provide workers with adequate protection against many of the hazards involved in construction, while also providing injured workers the right to sue these contractors if they are negligent and/or fail to follow state regulations by offering inadequate protections. Those pursuing litigation may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.
There is one general exception of which to be aware, however: Those injured in construction accidents typically may not sue their employers. There is a separate system in place, called worker’s compensation, that is designed to deal with such claims.
By filing a worker’s compensation claim, injured construction workers can receive benefits that include coverage of medical costs, partial coverage of lost wages and death and certain compensation related to disability. The worker’s compensation system, however, may not always offer sufficient benefits to compensate someone injured in a worksite accident.
Determining who is liable for your injury — and the best way to recover compensation for that injury — can be a difficult process that requires close knowledge of all pertinent laws and regulations. Because of this, questions of liability and recovery are usually best left to legal professionals.
Choosing the right attorney, one with sufficient experience to litigate even the toughest construction accident cases, should be a top priority for anyone who has been injured on a worksite.
How Do I Find the Right Construction Accident Attorney?
Choosing a construction accident attorney is a critically important decision for anyone injured in a worksite accident. This is because of the complex nature of the law that surround this issue. Because construction sites typically involve a large number of parties (property owners, renters, contractors, subcontractors, supervisors working for contractors etc.), assigning liability can be a challenge and ultimately involve serious and timely investigation and during litigation extensive and penetrating interrogation of witnesses at depositions.
The many parties involved in a construction project also typically have separate insurance carriers and differing coverage limits on their policies. These cases often involve a wide variety of complex laws and regulations. This means that it’s almost always a good idea to choose a legal advocate with the relevant experience to litigate even the most challenging construction injury cases. This should be done as soon as possible after the event in order to obtain all relevant witness statements and start the involved process of locating the responsible parties and obtaining relevant records which will be key in establishing your case at trial.
With more than four decades of experience, The Frankel Law Firm will help you obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries.
We focus on each case in fine detail and devote the legal time and resources necessary to obtain a maximum recovery.
Many construction cases are more than injury cases – they are human tragedies.
We encourage you to consult with us to discuss your case.
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Frankel Law Firm was extremely professional. They were very helpful with every step of the process, always reachable to answer questions and give excellent advice. They were a pleasure to work with!