If a construction accident hurt you, you will probably require medical treatment to regain as much of your health as possible. You will need replacement income to pay your living expenses while you recover.
Fortunately, New York law provides many avenues for pursuing medical and disability benefits. New York construction companies must carry workers’ compensation insurance. You can also sue parties other than your employer for any losses they inflicted if your workers’ compensation policy does not cover them.
But securing the compensation you need after a construction accident in the Bronx is not easy. Workers’ comp and third-party insurers will pay as little as possible for your claim. They may even deny your claim outright and force you to file a lawsuit.
A Bronx personal injury attorney from the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond has experience fighting insurers for the compensation you deserve. When insurers fail to negotiate in good faith, your Construction Accident Lawyer can represent you in litigation against the insurance company to get fair and just compensation.
Contact the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond to discuss your construction accident and receive your free case evaluation.
Common Bronx Construction Accidents
Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs possible. According to the National Safety Council, the construction industry has more workplace fatalities than any other U.S. sector. It also produces the sixth-highest number of workplace injuries.
In a typical year, construction workers experience over 1,000 fatal injuries and nearly 75,000 non-fatal injuries. Workers can suffer painful conditions, disabilities, and even dismemberment or disfigurement due to construction accidents.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) spends about 60 percent of its time on construction site inspections. These workplaces are responsible for over 20 percent of worker deaths in the U.S.
The four most common causes of fatal construction accidents, called the focus four or fatal four, include:
- Struck by
- Caught in/between
These accidents account for nearly 60 percent of construction worker deaths and hundreds of injuries daily.
Falls account for over 34 percent of construction accidents. These accidents include both elevated falls and same-level falls caused by slips and trips.
Elevated falls happen when you fall from a height. Construction workers often need to work on roofs, scaffolding, ladders, and other elevated surfaces. Workers also work around unmarked floor openings, trenches, and pits. Falls from a height can cause fractures, brain injuries, and even paralysis.
Slip and fall accidents happen when a worker’s foot loses traction. These accidents can be caused by liquid spills, ice or snow, gravel or sand, or other slick materials. Slip and fall accidents usually cause you to fall backward, injuring your head, neck, back, and buttocks.
Trip and fall accidents are similar to slip and falls, but they usually result from your foot catching on an object. Examples of tripping hazards include raised thresholds, objects on the floor, and unmarked steps. When your foot unexpectedly stops, you lose your balance and fall forward.
These accidents often result in knee, head, and face injuries. You can also injure your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands if you throw your arms out in front of you to catch yourself.
Struck By Accidents
These accidents happen when construction workers get hit by a moving object. Struck by accidents account for about 10 percent of construction deaths and over 20 percent of construction injuries.
OSHA counts all moving objects in this category, including:
- Falling objects like tools or building materials
- Propelled objects, such as nails fired from a nail gun or material kicked out of a saw
- Objects swinging out of control from a hoist or crane
- Rolling objects like pipes
- Motor vehicles and trailers
Struck by accidents can cause crushing injuries, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
Caught In/Between Accidents
Caught in/between accidents happen when you get trapped by machinery, objects, or vehicles. Struck by accidents differ from caught in/between accidents in the way they injure workers. Struck by accidents cause impact injuries, while caught in/between accidents cause crushing injuries, including strangulation.
Some common caught in/between accidents include:
- Crushed between a vehicle and a fixed object
- Trapped in a collapsed trench or tunnel
- Snagged and pulled into moving machinery
Caught in/between accidents account for over 9 percent of construction deaths.
Workers get injured by the electric current running in live electrical wires, extension cords, generators, power tools, and other electrical hazards.
Electric current can cause:
- Electrocution, a fatal electric shock
- Electric arcs where a spark jumps across an open circuit
- Electrical fires
When you experience an electric shock, the current can overwhelm your nervous system, causing nerve damage, brain injuries, and heart attacks. Electric current causes about 9 percent of construction deaths and about 1 percent of non-fatal construction injuries.
In addition to the focus four accident types, construction accidents can result from:
- Defective safety equipment
- Non-construction traffic
- Hazardous waste and toxic substances
- Hot objects
- Damaged or defective tools
Even though the focus four accidents account for nearly 60 percent of fatal construction accident injuries, other types of accidents cause over 40 percent of fatal injuries and thousands of non-fatal injuries.
Compensation for Construction Accident Injuries in New York
After a construction accident, your health and finances could face disaster. You need to work to pay for medical care, physical therapy, and medication. But you cannot work until you get treated for your injuries.
Fortunately, you have options for getting the compensation you need. To discuss your legal options, you should speak to a construction accident attorney. A lawyer experienced in representing construction workers can explain your legal rights after your accident and how to protect your injury claim.
The two most likely sources of compensation for your accident include:
Almost every employer in New York must buy workers’ compensation insurance. After you suffer an on-the-job injury, you can file a claim with your employer’s workers’ comp insurer.
The benefit of workers’ compensation is that you can start receiving medical treatment almost immediately. The insurer provides your workers’ comp benefits regardless of fault. This means you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for almost any on-the-job injury or work-related illness.
But workers’ comp has its limits. You do not receive your full wages while you are disabled. Instead, you receive only up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
More importantly, you cannot seek compensation for non-economic losses. These losses, also called pain and suffering damages, compensate you for the impact of your injuries on your quality of life.
You can file a third-party lawsuit against any entity except your employer, provided it bought workers’ comp insurance. This lawsuit is based on a breach of duty owed to you. Importantly, you can pursue both a workers’ comp claim and a third-party lawsuit for the same injury.
Some examples of third-party lawsuits you might file include:
- Car accident lawsuits against careless drivers
- Product liability lawsuits for defective tools and equipment
- Premises liability lawsuits for hazardous conditions on the property
- Negligence lawsuits against contractors, vendors, or service providers on the construction project
These lawsuits can cover much broader ground than your workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp insurers can pay only for workplace injuries that happened in the course and scope of your employment. A workers’ comp claim can get denied if you were not injured while on the job.
But a third-party lawsuit is not limited to job-related injuries. You can file a third-party lawsuit regardless of whether you were working when you got injured.
Thus, if you got injured in a car accident, a workers’ comp insurer would investigate whether driving was part of your job duties and who directed you to be on the road that day. But in a third-party lawsuit, a negligent driver bears liability for your injuries regardless of why you were driving.
The deadline to file a third-party lawsuit depends on the grounds for your lawsuit. You should speak to a construction accident attorney as soon as possible after your injury to determine any impending deadlines in your case. If your lawsuit involves a government entity, you might have as few as 90 days to take action.
Grounds for a Third-Party Lawsuit
The grounds for a third-party lawsuit will depend on the nature of your accident and who you are suing. In most situations, the grounds for a lawsuit against entities that caused or contributed to your accident will rely on negligence.
Negligence occurs when an entity breaches a duty of care owed to you.
Here are some of the duties owed to you on a construction site:
- Property owners must remedy or warn you about any reasonably discoverable hazardous conditions
- Drivers must exercise reasonable care while driving
- Other contractors on the job site must take reasonable precautions to maintain a safe site
A third party breaches the duty of care by committing an act or omission that no reasonably prudent person would have committed.
This breach of duty must cause your accident. Causation includes two components. Cause-in-fact means that the breach of duty fell within the sequence of events that resulted in your injury. Proximate cause means an injury was a foreseeable result of the breach of duty.
The grounds for a third-party lawsuit can also rely on strict liability. When you sue a manufacturer for a defective product, you need only to prove the existence of a defect. You do not need to prove that the manufacturer knew about, or should have found, the defect.
Product defects can come in three different types:
- Design defects render a product unsafe for all uses
- Manufacturing defects mean a product could have been made safe but was not
- Warning defects happen when the instructions fail to identify known hazards or explain how to use the product safely
After you prove the existence of the defect, you must prove that the defect caused your injury and your injury resulted in damages.
Damages from a Construction Accident Lawsuit
In a third-party lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
Your economic losses include all the financial costs of your injuries, including:
- Medical expenses for treatment, therapy, and medication
- Lost wages from missed work during your recovery
- Diminished earning capacity from disabilities that prevent you from working as you did before your accident
Your construction accident lawyer will prove your economic losses with financial records like credit card statements, bank account statements, and medical bills.
Your non-economic losses include all the ways your quality of life diminished due to the injuries you suffered. These losses usually do not come with a price tag.
Some examples of non-economic losses include:
- Mental anguish
- Disabilities that keep you from your work, home duties, or hobbies
- Loss of marital relations
- Disfigurement and dismemberment
You do not need to prove your non-economic losses. Instead, an insurance adjuster or jury will award fair compensation for your non-economic losses based on the severity and duration of your injuries.
More severe injuries, like the loss of a limb, will merit greater non-economic compensation. Permanent injuries, like a fracture that causes you to limp the rest of your life, will also increase the value of your non-economic losses.
Bystander Injuries From a Construction Accident
If you suffered an injury not as a construction worker but as a bystander, you could pursue a claim against those responsible for causing the accident. In many cases, you will have solid grounds for pursuing a negligence claim because the construction company must take reasonable steps to protect bystander safety.
To pursue a claim, your construction accident attorney will need to show that you fell within the group of people the construction company needed to protect. This usually just means you did not cross any barriers or ignore any warning signs.
Your construction accident lawyer must also show that the construction company failed to exercise reasonable care when securing its site. This usually requires you to show that the company did something it knew or should have known to be hazardous.
Hire Bronx Construction Accident Lawyer Ivan M. Diamond for Your Accident Claim
A Bronx construction accident attorney understands the trauma a job accident can cause. You have financial responsibilities, and without the ability to work, you need to fill the gap somehow.
To discuss how a compensation claim can help you and your family after your injuries, contact a Bronx construction accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond for a free consultation at (718) 588-2000.
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