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Guide: Construction Accident Lawsuits

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Construction Accident Lawsuits in New York

Construction workers that are injured on the job may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused your injury, however, New York law limits who you can sue and under what circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about construction accident lawsuits in New York.

For legal advice or to learn more about filing a lawsuit, contact the experienced construction accident lawyers of O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP, as soon as possible after an accident. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and we will review your case and explain your legal options. The free consultation is completely confidential.

Suing For Injury When Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Enough

If you have suffered a serious injury, workers’ compensation will not be enough to protect your family from financial hardship.

The decision to file an injury lawsuit should not be taken lightly. If you suffered a minor injury and expect to recover fully in a few weeks, workers’ compensation may provide all the help you need to get back on your feet. Workers’ compensation provides free medical care and wage replacement benefits for people who are injured on the job regardless of who was at fault.

However, there are times you should explore other legal options. Here are some examples:

  • You suffer a serious injury as a result of the negligence of someone else.
  • You suffer an injury requiring medical care and your employer does not provide workers’ compensation insurance.

Injured construction workers can recover additional compensation through our civil justice system by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Here are some examples of times when you may have the right to file a lawsuit:

  • Your employer violated safety rules that are designed to protect construction workers, such as Section 240 of New York’s Labor Law that protects workers on elevated structures.
  • Your injury was caused by someone who doesn’t work for your employer, such as a subcontractor or property owner.
  • You were injured by a defective product.
  • You were injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Our lawyers will evaluate your accident case and then seek compensation from all parties who may be liable. In many cases, these cases are resolved through negotiations with the negligent party’s insurance company. If the insurance company does not make a reasonable offer, we can try the case in court.

Who Can Be Liable For Damages In A Construction Site Injury Lawsuit?

Unlike workers’ compensation, the civil justice system is fault-based. As a general rule, you can sue the party or parties responsible for your injury. The following are examples of parties you may have the right to sue:

  • Your employer: As a general rule, your employer and others who work for your employer cannot be sued for a work-related injury. However, there are specific exceptions under New York law that would allow you to sue your employer. For example, under Section 240 of New York’s Labor Law, you can sue your employer if you were
  • injured in a fall or by a falling object and your employer was negligent.
  • Other contractors working on the site: Construction sites typically contain several contractors working for different employers. If you are injured as the result of the negligence of another person who does not work for your employer, you can sue his or her employer.
  • Property owners: If you are injured due to unsafe conditions on the job site, you can sue the property owner.
  • Other drivers in motor vehicle accidents: If the other driver was negligent, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against his or her insurance company.
  • Manufacturers of equipment and tools: If you are injured by construction equipment or tools that are defective or unreasonably dangerous, you can sue the company that manufactured, distributed or sold the tool.

Determining Fault In A Construction Site Accident Lawsuit

If you are injured in a construction accident, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault. If someone else was at fault, you may be entitled to additional compensation through our civil justice system. As a result, determining fault is an important part of your case.

The investigation of a construction accident is a search for the truth. Since millions of dollars may be at stake in the outcome of a construction accident lawsuit or wrongful death case, employers often attempt to shift blame to employees to avoid liability. There are some construction contractors that ignore proper Stop Work Authority guidelines for their employees that can result in serious consequences.

Even if you were partially at fault, you may still have the right to sue if your employer or another party was also negligent. Examples of fault in a construction accident may include:

  • An unsafe work environment, such as a work area containing tripping hazards
  • Uncovered holes
  • Unsafe operation of equipment such as
  • cranes, derricks and hoists
  • Lack of fall protection for workers on elevated structures
  • OSHA violations
  • Unsafe ladders and
  • scaffolds
  • Defective equipment

It’s important to contact our attorneys as soon as possible after an accident so we can collect and preserve evidence of fault. Examples of evidence include:

  • Pictures of the accident scene before it was cleaned up
  • Statements from witnesses
  • The results of an OSHA or other investigation

We work with experts who can help us build the strongest possible case of negligence against your employer or other parties responsible for your injury.

What Should I Do If I’m Injured In A Construction Accident?

After an accident, understanding your legal rights and important timelines is critical to recovering maximum compensation. To learn more about filing a construction injury lawsuit, call 212-571-7100 to arrange a time to talk with one of the experienced construction accident lawyers at O’Dwyer & Bernstien today.

Our attorneys have helped construction workers throughout the New York City area and those who have lost a loved one to a work injury recover millions of dollars through construction accident lawsuits and wrongful death claims. If you are unable to travel to us, we will travel to you.

Learn more: How much time do you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in NY?

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.