Construction Accident Lawyer in Queens, NY
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States, with more than 174,000 nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported among construction workers in a single year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction workers often suffer significant injuries in accidents while working around heavy machinery, power tools, and toxic chemicals. A serious accident could result in catastrophic injuries and overwhelming medical bills.
The Queens, NY, construction accident attorneys at The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., want to help you seek the money you need to recover from the injuries you suffered on the job. Our construction accident lawyers have experience handling both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims for injured workers.
Contact us today to speak with a construction accident lawyer in Queens. The consultation is free.
Understanding Your Rights as a Construction Worker
If you were injured in a construction accident in Queens, it is essential that you understand your legal options. As an injured construction worker, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If someone other than your employer caused the construction accident, you may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim.
Some of the key labor laws that apply to construction workers in New York include:
- Your right to a safe workplace – Section 200 of the New York labor law says all employers are required to operate and maintain their workplace to keep workers reasonably protected. This provision extends to construction sites as well. While there is no way to prevent all construction accidents, property owners, employers, and managers are required to take reasonable steps to provide a safe workplace and warn of any foreseeable hazards.
- The Scaffold Law – Section 240 of the New York Labor Code lists protections for construction workers working off the ground. Specifically, Subsection 2 requires employers to place safety rails on any scaffolding more than 20 feet off the ground. The safety rail must run the entire scaffold length. Its design must minimize swaying. The scaffold must be sturdy enough to bear four times the weight of the people and objects placed on it. Finally, the Scaffold Law gives injured construction workers the right to sue a general contractor if the contractor fails to meet the legal obligations outlined in the law.
- Additional protections just for construction workers – Section 241 of New York’s labor law establishes specific safety requirements for construction sites. Among other provisions, all elevator shafts, hatchways, and stairwells at a worksite must be covered by planks at least two inches thick for at least two stories above and one story below the location where the workers are present.
Damages You Can Recover Because of a Construction Accident
The compensation you may be able to recover after a construction accident depends upon how the accident occurred and who was responsible. Generally speaking, you have two options:
- Workers’ compensation – You cannot hold your employer liable for an accident at work in most cases. However, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt on the job, regardless of who was at fault. These benefits will cover all medically necessary treatments and procedures related to your injuries as well as a portion of your lost wages, whether you’re kept from working entirely, or you have to be moved onto light duty because of your injury.
- Third-party personal injury claims – If someone other than your employer caused the accident, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against them seeking compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit allows you to demand compensation for the entirety of your medical bills, lost income, reduced earning potential, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
Who Is Liable After a Construction Accident in Queens, NY?
Some of the parties who could be held liable for a construction accident in New York include:
- Your employer – Workers’ compensation benefits are the remedy available to injured construction workers in most cases. However, there are situations in which you may have a right to sue your employer, such as if the employer violated the New York Scaffold Law and you suffered a serious injury as a result.
- The general contractor – You typically can’t sue your own employer, but you may have a right to sue the general contractor who has responsibility for the construction site. In most cases, the general contractor is ultimately responsible for the safety of anyone working on a construction project.
- The property owner – Property owners are responsible for keeping their premises reasonably safe and warning workers of potential dangers on their property. If a property owner fails to fulfill their legal obligations and a construction worker is injured as a result, the worker may have grounds for a third-party lawsuit against them.
- Subcontractors – Just as you can potentially sue the general contractor who hired your employer, you can also sue another construction subcontractor if their failure to follow safety regulations resulted in your injury. If an inattentive subcontractor strikes you with a construction vehicle or creates hazardous conditions that cause an accident, you could sue the subcontractor for your injuries.
- Equipment manufacturers – The makers of the equipment and tools used in construction work can be held liable for an accident if the tool or equipment is defective and causes injury.
- Architects/site engineers – If poor planning or a building design issue caused your accident, you can hold the architect or site engineer liable.
How Long Do I Have to File a Construction Accident Lawsuit in Queens?
New York’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases gives you three years from the date of a construction accident to file a lawsuit. Do not file a lawsuit within the time limit, your case may be dismissed as untimely, and you could lose your chance to demand compensation through the courts.
Dangers and Hazards of a Construction Accident Site
As part of their jobs, construction workers in New York work around heavy machinery, and many work on elevated platforms. The accident risks they encounter include:
- Power tools, heavy machinery – Tools and heavy vehicles can cause severe injuries if workers do not have proper safety training to avoid accidents. Workers can be seriously injured if they become entangled in machinery or get caught between heavy objects.
- Working above the ground – Many construction projects require workers to do their jobs several stories off the ground. If a worker falls from a scaffold, ladder, or elevated platform, the worker may suffer serious or fatal injuries.
- Falling objects – Workers on the ground at a construction site face hazards too. Falling tools and other objects can inflict serious injuries if they hit someone on the ground.
- Fall accidents – Construction sites are full of potential hazards that can lead to falls. The hazards include holes, uneven surfaces, unsecured hatches and skylights, and loose stairs and railings. Even seemingly minor falls can result in significant injuries, especially if a worker lands hard on their back or head.
- Moving and carrying heavy objects – Carrying heavy items without proper safety equipment can lead to sprains, strains, and other stress injuries.
- Noxious chemicals – Certain chemicals used in construction work can cause injuries if touched, ingested, or inhaled. These injuries are more likely if workers do not receive proper safety training or do not have sufficient safety equipment.
- Electrical hazards – Construction workers can sustain electrical shocks and burns due to faulty components, frayed wires, or contact with energized overhead lines or buried cables.
- Building collapses – There have been several high-profile building collapses in New York in recent years. If a building collapses while workers are nearby, they are at risk of fatal injuries.
- Fires and explosions – Chemicals and fuels used in construction work can ignite due to a stray spark, improper storage, or if someone places a flammable chemical too close to a source of ignition.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
Workers involved in construction accidents frequently incur major injuries, such as:
- Electric shocks
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Vision and hearing loss
- Crushed, severed, or amputated limbs
Contact Our Construction Accident Lawyers in Queens, NY
The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., wants to help seek the compensation you need to rebuild your life if you have been seriously injured in a construction accident in Queens, NY. Contact our office today for a free case review.