Construction Accident (Queens)
New York Construction Accident

Construction Accident Lawyer Queens

If you've been injured on the job you have the right to pursue fair compensation for your injury. Contact us for a free consultation, we're here and ready to help.

Did you know that accidents among construction workers account for nearly 20 percent of workplace fatalities? In New York State, the statistic is closer to 25 percent while Queens and the entire New York City area has a construction site fatality rate of over 37 percent. Even construction workers who have never experienced a serious injury likely know someone who has. To say that construction is a dangerous occupation is a severe understatement.

If you have sustained serious injuries from falling objects, machinery collapse, or another common cause of construction accident cases, we encourage you to contact the law office of O’Dwyer & Bernstien. We also work with clients who have experienced the trauma of the wrongful death of a loved one due to a construction accident. Whether you’re in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, NYC, Staten Island, Long Island, Nassau, or another local community, our personal injury attorneys have years of experience and are here to help.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims for Injured New York Construction Workers

New York State offers workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers who meet certain criteria. This includes construction workers. You need to meet the following criteria at a minimum to file a claim:

  • Currently employed by the same company that employed you at the time of the construction site injury. While the law typically doesn’t apply to independent contractors, some exceptions do exist.
  • Your employer pays into the workers’ compensation system.
  • Your sustained serious injuries or developed a chronic illness due to your job in the construction industry.
  • You must file your workers’ compensation claim no later than two years from when the original injury occurred.

A successful workers’ compensation claim can provide you with up to two-thirds of your weekly salary while you recover. Like other states, New York sets a maximum weekly benefit based on the average weekly salary of workers across the entire state. For fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the typical weekly wage of New York workers was $1,357.11. This results in a maximum benefit of $904.74 per week.

Although New York law typically doesn’t allow you to sue your employer for serious injuries sustained at a construction site, you retain the right to sue anyone else involved. This could include several possibilities, including the following:

  • Architects
  • Companies that sold or manufactured defective equipment
  • Co-workers
  • General contractors
  • Property owners
  • Subcontractors

If you have been the victim of construction site accidents, it’s important to preserve your legal rights by contacting a Queens construction accident lawyer from O’Dwyer & Bernstien as soon as possible. This is especially important when you’re out of work and have medical bills that you’re not sure how to pay.

What Every Construction Worker Should Know About New York Labor Law

Due to the high prevalence of death and serious injury, New York State has implemented three labor laws specific to the construction industry. These labor laws provide injured construction workers with greater protection when it comes to recovering financial resources. Could one or more of these apply to your situation?

New York Labor Law 200

Informally known as the Common Negligence Law, the official name of New York Labor Law 200 is General Duty to Protect Health and Safety of Employees. It requires all employers and general contractors to provide a reasonably safe work environment as well as sufficient safety equipment. Machinery and equipment must be placed, guarded, operated, and lit in such a manner as to provide an adequate level of safety for all affected persons.

New York Labor Law 240

Commonly referred to as the Scaffolding Law, the correct name for this labor law is Scaffolding and Other Devices for Use of Employees. It applies to all general contractors, agents, and owners except for those who own one-story and two-story dwellings who do not control the work of construction crews. In addition to scaffolding, the law requires ropes, hoists, irons, stays, ladders, hangers, pulleys, blocks, slings, and braces to be constructed, operated, and placed in a proper manner that doesn’t threaten the safety of construction workers or work site visitors.

New York Labor Law 241

This labor law applies solely to construction, demolition, and excavation work. The law enforces 10 specific requirements for employers and general contractors to ensure the safety of construction workers involved in these activities.

You should never assume that you don’t qualify for some type of financial compensation for your job site injuries. Even if you are an independent contractor or think your injuries were minor, we encourage you to speak to a construction accident attorney from O’Dwyer & Bernstien. You have been through a terrible ordeal with your New York construction accident, and we want to see you receive maximum compensation with the help of our legal representation.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents in New York?

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), one in four workplace fatalities nationwide in 2018 occurred within the construction industry. Of these, nearly 60 percent happened due to what industry insiders dub the Fatal Four. These include:

  • Falls, 33 percent
  • Struck by an object, 11 percent
  • Electrocutions, 9 percent
  • Caught between, which refers to construction workers killed when caught, crushed, or stuck in a collapsing structure, piece of equipment, or other materials, 5 percent

Other common causes of construction site accidents besides the Fatal Four include:

  • Lack of proper ventilation
  • Lack of proper safety equipment and other precautions
  • Not following safety rules
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Tripping hazards
  • Unsafe equipment

Whether the cause of your serious injury or the wrongful death of a loved one is on this list or not, we encourage you to secure the services of an injury lawyer from our law firm to protect your legal rights. You have three years from the date of your brain injury, broken bones, paralysis, or other common construction industry injuries to file a personal injury lawsuit unless your claim is against the government. Then you may only have 90 days. You may file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death of your loved one due to construction site negligence by any party other than the employer.

Top 10 OSHA Violations in the Construction Industry in 2018

OSHA issued thousands of citations to construction company owners and general contractors for the fiscal year running from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. Here are the 10 most common violations:

  1. Inadequate fall protection resources
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolding general requirements
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Hazardous energy control
  6. Misuse of or not providing ladders
  7. Misuse of powered industrial trucks
  8. Inadequate fall protection training
  9. Unsafe machinery and inadequate machine guarding practices
  10. Lack of proper face and eye protection

While the specifics of each violation may differ, what they all have in common is negligence. Employers and general contractors have a legal and moral obligation to make the construction site as safe as possible for workers and visitors. Unfortunately, that happens far less often than it should.

Construction Accidents Can Cause Significant and Life-Altering Injuries

The number of wrongful death cases and serious injuries in construction is devastating enough. What makes the situation even more tragic is that many injuries change the course of a person’s life forever.

If you suffer a brain injury, for example, you could experience indefinite problems with fatigue, concentration, mood regulation, balance, speech, and much more. An accident that leaves you unable to use some or all limbs severely limits your independence and quality of life. Other types of common construction industry accidents include:

  • Back injury
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Deep cuts and lacerations
  • Ear injuries, including total deafness
  • Eye injuries, including total blindness
  • Loss of limb(s)
  • Neck injury
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Wrongful death

Many of these injuries require surgery, years of doctor visits and physical therapy, modifications to your home or vehicle, leaving the workplace or severely restricting your employment, and dealing with ongoing emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While our personal injury lawyers can’t change the outcome of your injury or the treatment you require, we will aggressively pursue fair compensation on your behalf. We feel it’s the least we can do to help accident victims.

Contact O’Dwyer & Bernstien for a Free Consultation Today

A construction injury has controlled your life for far too long already. We invite you to reach out for legal advice today by requesting a free consultation with our law firm. Our attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury cases just like yours.

Never settle for offers from insurance companies before you talk to us. They simply don’t have your best interests in mind like we do. We know you require funds to pay your medical bills, make up for lost wages, and compensate you for the drastic change in your lifestyle.

At O'Dwyer & Bernstien, we will put our 100 years of experience as a law firm and numerous resources to work for you.