If you were injured in a construction accident, you are guaranteed minimal insurance benefits by New York State’s Workers Compensation Law.
For minor injuries, workers comp may be enough. But serious injuries, ones that require multiple surgical procedures or result in long-term disability, are extremely expensive. At some point, your benefits will run out. And an insurance company will never compensate you for your pain, suffering or psychological trauma.
Negligence On New York’s Construction Sites
The construction accident attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. offer a solution.
If your accident was caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, and pursue damages that are actually fair and adequate.
Negligence lies at the heart of many accidents, but rooting it out is a matter of thorough investigation. In this guide, we’ll fill you in on the key legal concepts that can make your injury case a success.
What Is Negligence?
Almost every personal injury lawsuit relies on the legal theory of “negligence,” and it’s really just a basic ethical principle.
In order to successfully complete any construction project, numerous parties have to work together. Everyone has their own specialties and expertise, but at the end of the day, it’s combined efforts that get the job done.
With so many people on the jobsite at once, everybody needs to perform their duties in accordance with certain standards of safety. You agree to fulfill your responsibilities without creating dangerous situations for other workers, and everyone else agrees to act in as safe a manner as possible, too.
But mistakes are made, all the time. Some mistakes are innocent, and no one could have predicted the consequences. But other mistakes are the direct result of another person’s carelessness, their disregard for the safety of others. When others violate their duty to keep us as safe as they can, and we get hurt, they have acted “negligently.”
Personal injury lawsuits hold people accountable for their negligent actions.
Your Employer’s Duty
In the majority of cases, you are not allowed to sue your employer, even when their negligence directly caused your injuries. New York’s workers gave up that right long ago, in exchange for guaranteed insurance coverage.
But there’s one crucial exception, and it’s specific to New York:
If your accident involved elevation, if you fell from a ladder or scaffolding, your employer may be legally liable for your injuries.
New York State’s “Scaffold Law” holds property owners and contractors accountable for the safety of any equipment that allows workers to reach heights above the ground. If an accident is caused, even partially, by unsafe scaffolding, workers have the right to sue their employers.
The Scaffold Law may also protect workers hurt in “falling object” accidents, which cause almost 40% of all construction injuries that require hospital stays.
You can find detailed information on New York’s Scaffold Law and elevation-related lawsuits here.
New York’s Workers Compensation system may restrict you from suing your employer, but look around any construction site and you’ll find numerous parties.
The fact is that a successful construction project relies on demanding, physical labor. But no task on the jobsite is one person’s sole responsibility; every scaffold erected, and trench dug, is a team effort. These team members may be other employees of the same company, but they’re just as likely to be architects, engineers and contractors who work for different bosses.
If the actions of a “third-party” caused your accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, and hold them accountable in court.
Negligent Property Owners
Whether you’re repairing, restoring, or building a structure from scratch, you’re working on someone else’s property. And that property owner has specific responsibilities to you and your health.
In exchange for your service, property owners agree to provide you with a safe workplace. When they don’t deliver on that agreement, property owners can be found liable for worker injuries.
Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death within the construction industry. Many electrical hazards are the result of a property owner’s failure to maintain wiring up to date. Others are caused by electrical work that was faulty from the start.
If you sustained injury in an electrical accident, click here to learn more about filing a lawsuit.
In existing properties, owners routinely skimp on needed updates to heating systems. But if these systems leak gas, even the smallest spark can set a structure ablaze, or lead to a deadly explosion.
In confined spaces, gas leaks often result in death, from asphyxiation, or long-term disability after prolonged toxic poisoning.
Architect & Engineer Negligence
Despite advanced degrees, architects and engineers can make critical errors in a building’s design. The life of any structure depends on exacting calculations, and a careful consideration of materials, physical forces and loads.
When designers make mistakes, buildings can come toppling down with little warning. Workers inside, or those on the ground, often suffer intense traumas in building collapses.
Survivors may be able to hold negligent architects, engineers and even private contractors responsible for improperly planning a structure, or utilizing the incorrect materials during construction.
Heavy machinery is a frequent cause of worker injuries across the nation.
Forklifts, cranes and earth movers should be operated only by trained, qualified employees. Tragically, many independent contractors are less than rigorous in upholding their duties. Additionally, people who operate heavy machinery must exercise the utmost caution to ensure worker safety.
If you were injured by an untrained or negligent operator, you may be able to sue their employer.
Slip, Trip & Fall Accidents
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries within the construction industry. But even a minor fall can lead to debilitating back pain.
While all workers on the jobsite are tasked with handling trip hazards as soon as possible, threats are often forgotten. Property owners and other contractors may be liable for your injuries.
In an industry filled with danger, welding, brazing and cutting are quite possibly the most dangerous occupations. Almost 500,000 American workers are injured in welding accidents or develop chronic conditions due to the peculiar stresses of this work each year.
Intense heat, harsh noise and toxic fumes released by melting materials are only a few of the hazards that welding creates. Welding is skilled work and those who engage in it must be properly trained.
Equipment manufacturers have a duty to produce tools and machinery free of foreseeable defects.
When they fail to do so, and release faulty equipment onto the market, workers injured as a result of these defects have the right to hold them accountable.
Nail Gun Injuries
Over the last decade, tens of thousands of dangerous nail guns were sold to unsuspecting workers.
Major corporations, including Dewalt and Hitachi, produced nailers that could jam, override their own safety mechanisms and cause devastating injuries.
Now, injured contractors are fighting back, filing personal injury lawsuits in the name of justice and fair compensation.
Contact New York’s Leading Construction Accident Lawyers
Did you suffer serious injury in a construction accident?
Call the personal injury attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. In a free, no obligation consultation, you can begin discussing your case with an experienced construction accident lawyer today.
Our attorneys have successfully fought for the rights of New York’s workers for decades. In total, our lawyers possess 80 combined years of practical experience, and we’ve recovered over $500 million for our clients.
Call 212-285-3300 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation immediately.