Construction sites can be dangerous places for workers, particularly when employers ignore, or cut corners on safety. And, while progress has been made to improve safety standards on job sites, the truth is that no matter how stringent standards are regarding workplace safety, construction workers are at risk every day while on the job.
In fact, 20% of all on-the-job fatalities and 1 in 10 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the U.S. happened to construction workers in 2010. Construction ranks third for all injury-caused deaths following closely behind mining and agriculture. According to OSHA, for every 100,000 workers, 15 die due to injury at the workplace.
Falls from heights, defective/inadequate equipment, forklift injuries, exposed power lines, mobile construction accidents, and toxic materials like solvents are just some of the many hazards that contributed to the more than 1,500 deaths, and nearly 400,000 injuries to construction workers that year.
Even a simple sprain or broken bone can put an employee out of work for months, even years, while the injury heals. And, workers' compensation benefits are often not adequate for families to live on, let alone cover the mounting medical expenses they often incur.
TYPES OF CONSTRUCTION RELATED ACCIDENTS
Types of construction related accidents we often represent at Raphaelson & Levine include: carpenters/iron worker accidents, construction elevator accidents, hand injuries, crane accidents, cutting/electric saw accidents, electrical accidents, faulty safety equipment, foot/ankle fractures, forklift accidents, hit by falling objects, ladder accidents, nail gun accidents, repetitive strain injuries, scaffolding accidents, steamfitter accidents & weather-related accidents.
Stop Work Authority: Injuries Can Be Prevented!
Can you, as a construction employee, prevent physical harm to yourself and your coworkers? New York law firms have been taking on case after case where the unfortunate occurrence of construction injury and even death take place due to lack of safety precautions - and these injuries are far too common and frequent an occurrence. There is something you can do, and it is officially referred to as "Stop Work Authority." A brief explanation follows.
What Is "Stop Work Authority"?
Through stop work authority, injuries like hand injuries can be prevented. Some workers may not know that they have this right, and that no legal repercussions will take place if they exercise it. It is your duty as a construction employee, contractor or BCI to bring a construction project to a halt in the event any risk of damage to personal safety, environment, property, or the reputation of a company is posed by the work.
Am I Required to Exercise My "Stop Work Authority"?
It is most certainly your duty as an employee, contractor or BCI to exercise stop work authority; injuries to construction workers are not work the risk of not saying something. If the working conditions or behaviors related to the project are considered to be unsafe, you are expected to exercise your right to stop the project until the safety has been evaluated and corrected as necessary. Failure to exercise this authority could result in potential liability along with the full legal repercussions associated.
Workers' Compensation Stop Work Authority
The New York Workers' Compensation Board may also exercise stop work authority if injuries to construction workers are potentially at stake, but that is not the only time this authority may be exercised. When a business does not have workers' compensation, the board has clearance to close the project or business down as a result.
Hiring An Attorney Might Be Your Only Option
In times of crisis like these, the only recourse a worker, or a family member, might have to get the compensation he or she deserves is to hire a top New York construction accident attorney. While it is also true that laws in New York State prohibit employees from suing their employers for on-the-job accidents, contractors, architects, manufacturers and property owners may be held liable for injuries or wrongful deaths that take place at the construction site.
If you work on a construction site and have experienced a work-related personal injury, you may be asking yourself, "Is it necessary to contact a lawyer? Or should I just try to recover and return to work?" As much as you may want to "play the tough guy," so to speak, you may be eligible for multiple types of compensation under workers' compensation and personal injury laws.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
The time to contact an attorney is as soon as possible after you are injured. They can help you with the preliminary steps of being evaluated for your injuries and compensated properly. Not only may you be eligible for workers' compensation, you can also file suit to recoup medical expenses and other damages.
Do I Have A Case?
Even if you are unsure whether you have a real case, you should get a basic consultation from a law firm. They can help you determine if you indeed could file a lawsuit with your employer. Attorneys' understanding of personal injury law makes them ideally equipped to help you determine what your legal recourse may be. They may be aware of more angles that you can take than you may be aware of.
Getting Better Settlements
The best way to get a better settlement is to enlist help from an attorney. You may receive compensation not only for your medical bills and loss of work, but also for your emotional and psychological damage that occurred as a result of the accident. A qualified attorney who has experience with construction accidents is the best means to ensure a favorable outcome with your case.
Top 3 Questions to Ask A Lawyer
When you experience an injury on the job at a construction site, you will undoubtedly be contacting one of the many available attorneys in NYC. You will have many questions in your mind, but there are certain important pieces of information you will need to obtain when you select one.
Here are the Top 3 Questions to Ask:
1. Have you tried personal injury cases before?
Just because a law firm has been in business for some time does not mean they have experience with your type of case. You may prefer to enlist an attorney who has tried cases like yours.
2. Do you have room in your schedule to take on my case at the present time?
If your attorney does not have time, and is already over-booked with cases, it may take months for your suit to even be filed. Keep in mind that New York has a statute of limitations of 3 years after a personal injury incident takes place. If that time is drawing near, you should make sure to only give consideration to attorneys who have the time to file suit well in advance of the final deadline.
3. Approximately how much is my case worth?
While it is understood that certain variables will affect the range of settlement amounts you can expect, qualified lawyers can help you understand what the general range could be. An exact figure usually cannot be given upfront, due to unknowns such as liability, discovery and medical evidence.
CONTACT OUR NEW YORK CITY LAW FIRM
After experiencing an injury on the job at a construction site, your legal rights are undoubtedly crossing your mind. Hiring an attorney is a good first step. A lawyer that specializes in accidents on construction sites will help you to gain knowledge about your rights, the regulations and laws that apply to your situation, and what potential courses of action you can take.
Do Not Wait Too Long to Contact a Law Firm after Your Accident
It is important that you act immediately or soon as possible after the incident takes place. Hiring an attorney who specializes in construction accidents must be done within the first couple of years, to avoid New York State's 3-year statute of limitation from preventing you from being eligible to file a lawsuit based on personal injury claims.
Become Informed by Asking Questions
When hiring a law firm, it is important to ask questions. Make a list of your top curiosities about legal matters, and also ask the attorney to give you any general advice that normally is given to people in your situation.
Remember that law professionals are accustomed to receiving questions of all types, so do not hesitate to ask whatever is on your mind. The attorney knows that the more informed you are, the more thorough of a job the firm can perform on your behalf.
Do Your Part
After you hire an attorney, recognize that you are still a key component in the process and that your participation is vital. You must be proactive and stay on top of the status of your case. You do so by making regular calls to your firm - although it is important not to be a pest.
Ask the attorney when you can call to confirm whatever actions or other items you may be waiting on. Ask if there is anything you can do to expedite the process, and then follow through with any suggestions the lawyer gives. Last but not least, you must appear at all court dates and be on time when you have an appointment with the firm.
If you feel you've been injured as a result of neglect by a contractor, developer, or some other on-site third-party vendor, please contact the New York construction accident law firm of Raphaelson & Levine for a free consultation. By calling 212-268-3222, you can speak with an experienced Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten island, and Bronx construction accident attorney immediately.