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Construction Accident FAQs

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Construction Accident FAQs

Construction Accident FAQsHave you been seriously hurt in a construction site accident in New York City, NY? You may feel overwhelmed attempting to navigate the workers’ compensation system. You deserve an experienced NYC construction accident attorney to help you pursue the compensation you need.

At the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers, we have represented injured construction workers for more than 25 years. Attorney Jay S. Knispel is a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and has the “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He has recovered millions for his clients.

Our law office is prepared to help you with filing or appealing a workers’ compensation claim. We will also pursue third-party claims against anyone who contributed to your accident.

Get answers to your questions about construction accidents, workers’ comp, and personal injury law. Contact our New York City law office for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us at (212) 564-2800 today.

Am I Entitled to Recover Compensation After a New York Construction Accident?

Am I Entitled to Recover Compensation After a New York Construction Accident?Most construction injuries that happen on the job are eligible for compensation. Under New York state law, all employers must carry workers’ compensation coverage for employees. Subcontractors are generally considered employees for the purposes of workers’ compensation. Contractors must pay benefits to employees of uninsured subcontractors.

If your construction accident occurred on the job, you might be entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This no-fault system allows you to recover benefits even if you caused your injuries.

Many construction workers are entitled to benefits outside of workers’ compensation. Was your accident caused by unsafe work conditions, building code or safety violations, or a fall from a height? You may be entitled to file a lawsuit for additional damages not covered by workers’ comp.

You may be entitled to compensation through one or more types of construction injury claims:

  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • New York Labor Law 240 claims related to falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolding
  • New York Labor Law 200 claims for accidents related to unsafe work conditions
  • New York Labor Law 241 claims for safety violations that led to an accident
  • Highway work zone accident claims against a government agency, construction company, or motorist
  • Product liability cases related to defective heavy equipment or machinery
  • Third-party injury claims against a negligent party other than your employer

At the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers, we handle all types of construction accident cases. Contact our law office to discuss your legal options after a construction injury.

What if My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

If your employer violated New York law and does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you are still entitled to compensation.

You have three primary options:

  • Suing your employer directly for your damages
  • Filing a claim with the New York Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF)
  • Filing a claim with the project owner’s or general contractor’s workers’ compensation policy

Employers who do not maintain workers’ compensation in New York are liable for damages. You can recover compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit under New York Workers’ Compensation Law §11.

Most importantly, the limited liability protection of a corporation or LLC will not apply. Everyone from the president and treasurer to the secretary can be held personally liable, meaning their personal assets are available.

However, many employers who do not have workers’ comp coverage have limited financial resources for injury claims. In this case, a workers’ compensation claim can be filed with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (NY WBC) Uninsured Employers Fund. This fund is maintained by the state to provide workers’ comp benefits to uncovered workers.

If you were injured as a subcontractor and your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage, you may be entitled to file a claim against the property owner, project manager, or general contractor.

Can I Recover Compensation for a Construction Accident Outside of Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation prohibits employees from suing their employers for workplace injuries. In exchange, employers must maintain insurance that offers no-fault benefits to injured workers. Accordingly, workers’ compensation may be your sole remedy for compensation after an accident.

However, there are many circumstances for which you can pursue additional compensation.

You can seek compensation from third parties such as:

  • General contractors
  • Architects
  • Subcontractors
  • Property owners
  • Engineers
  • Suppliers or manufacturers of defective materials, equipment, and machinery
  • Motorists

General contractors and property owners can be held completely liable for accidents caused by:

You cannot sue your employer, but property owners and general contractors can bring your employer into a lawsuit. This can happen if you suffered a “grave injury” and file a lawsuit against a third party.

If you recover a third-party settlement, you may be required to pay back the benefits you received minus the proportionate share of your litigation costs.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Construction Accident Case in New York?

As a general rule, personal injury cases are subject to a three-year statute of limitations. This includes negligence claims related to construction site accidents. A wrongful death claim resulting from a workplace accident has a two-year statute of limitations.

There are different deadlines that apply to workers’ compensation claims. You are also required to notify your employer in writing within 30 days of a work-related injury or illness. New York law gives you up to two years from the date of your injury to file a workers’ comp claim.

Occupational hearing loss has separate deadlines. You have up to 3 months to report your work-related hearing loss and 90 days to file a workers’ comp claim.

Many construction injuries are not immediately apparent. This includes repetitive stress injuries and illnesses caused by toxic exposure. Remember that the deadline in these cases does not start until you know or should know the cause was your employment.

Do not delay in pursuing the compensation you deserve, as this can jeopardize your right to benefits and damages. The statute of limitations can be complicated to calculate if your injury was not acute. It’s also vital to document your injuries and preserve evidence before it is lost.

What damages can I recover in a construction site accident case in New York?

The compensation you can recover for workplace injuries will depend on whether you can pursue compensation beyond workers’ compensation.

You can recover the following types of New York workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Medical benefits to pay for necessary, reasonable medical care
  • Temporary disability benefits based on your average weekly wage (AWW) and your disability rating. Weekly cash benefits are paid at two-thirds of your AWW up to a limit. Adjusted annually, the weekly workers’ compensation disability benefit through June 2022 is capped at $1,063.05.
  • Disfigurement awards. You can recover an additional $20,000 in benefits if your injury caused serious, permanent disfigurement to the neck, face, or head.
  • Vocational rehabilitation and job placement.
  • Death benefits to pay for funeral expenses to surviving family members.

Your disability rating plays a major role in the lost wages you recover through workers’ comp. You will be assigned a disability percentage of 0% to 100%.

Suppose your disability rating is less than 100% and you can perform some type of work while recovering. In that case, your disability benefits will be two-thirds of the difference between your AWW and current earning capacity, still subject to the same limit.

After reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI), you will be reevaluated and assigned a permanent disability rating. This will determine the permanent disability benefits you can receive, subject to the cap.

New York uses scheduled loss-of-use awards to determine disability and how long benefits may continue based on the loss of use of specific parts of the body. As an example, total loss of use of one hand is eligible for permanent partial disability benefits for 244 weeks. If you lost 50% of use in one hand, the length of time is reduced to 122 weeks.

Some injured workers receive a lump sum settlement for disability instead of weekly wages.

New York’s workers’ compensation system limits the benefits you can recover. You cannot recover anything for your pain, suffering, anguish, and personal losses.

A third-party lawsuit can allow you to recover the full value of your damages and compensation beyond what is provided by workers’ compensation.

If you are eligible for a third-party claim, you can seek compensation for:

  • Your full lost wages beyond the workers’ compensation limits
  • Medical expenses and costs not covered by workers’ comp
  • Non-economic losses including pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, disfigurement and scarring, reduced quality of life, and more

An experienced New York City personal injury lawyer will help you pursue full compensation from all avenues to protect your financial security and quality of life.

Am I entitled to compensation if I was injured while walking past a construction site?

If you were injured as a pedestrian or a visitor with lawful permission to be on the construction site, you are still entitled to compensation if you were injured on the job site.

Construction site companies, general contractors, supervisors, and property owners have a duty to protect construction workers as well as guests and pedestrians. They must properly warn these parties of dangers on the construction site.

What Is New York Labor Law 200?

New York has among the strongest legal protections for construction workers. New York Labor Law §200 is one of several labor laws that gives special rights to injured construction workers.

Under this statute, you may be eligible to sue a general contractor, building owner, or subcontractor for failing to provide a reasonably safe workplace. This law requires every worksite to reasonably and adequately protect employees and anyone lawfully at the site in terms. This can refer to building codes for exits, fire suppression, elevators, and more. It can also refer to the placement, operation, guarding, and lighting of machinery, devices, and equipment.

A Labor Law 200 claim allows you to seek compensation beyond workers’ compensation. Property owners and general contractors are held absolutely liable if they failed to provide a safe work environment with adequate safety equipment, even if they did not directly supervise or control your work.

What is New York Labor Law 240?

New York Labor Law §240, or the Scaffolding Law, is a unique statute protecting construction workers that work from heights. You might be eligible to file a Labor Law 240 claim if you were injured by falling objects or in a fall. This entitles you to compensation beyond workers’ comp.

This law requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from falls and falling objects. This can include adequate fall protection and safe ladders, scaffolds, hoists, and more. Property owners and general contractors can be held strictly liable for falls on a construction site with few defenses.

To make a Labor Law 240 claim, you must have been engaged in qualified construction work. Eligible work includes everything from repairs and demolition to building and alterations. Maintenance does not. What Is New York Labor Law 241?

What is New York Labor Law 241?

New York Labor Law §241 addresses safety measures on construction sites. Under this statute, property owners and general contractors can be held liable for accidents caused by a failure to provide adequate, reasonable protection and safety for workers.

If the owner or contractor violated a safety rule that led to an accident, you could recover damages outside workers’ compensation without proving they were negligent.

Contact a New York City Construction Accident Lawyer For More Information

Don’t be a part of the statistics. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, call the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers. Our New York City construction accident lawyers offer free consultations and will answer your questions about your claim.

Let us help you pursue all the damages you deserve after your construction injury.

Common NYC Construction Accidents We Cover

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