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Frequently Asked Questions: Construction Accidents

I Was Just Hurt On The Job. What Should I Do?

You were involved in a construction accident. You may be hurt severely. Here's a list of our recommendations:

1. Seek independent medical attention immediately.

By "independent" we mean your preferred doctor, rather than one that your employer suggests. If your employer offers on-site medical help, accept it. But always see your own doctor too.

While your employer's preferred medical professionals are most likely competent, ethical individuals, they are still working with a corporation's best interests in mind, rather than your own.

2. Report your accident.

Failing to properly report a construction accident can seriously damage your case, whether your just filing a workers comp claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. After a serious construction accident, you should call 911. When the appropriate officials arrive, detail the circumstances of your accident completely and accurately. The police's accident report often plays a significant role in legal proceedings if you choose to pursue them.

3. Request copies of everything.

Besides pain and emotional challenges, construction accidents generate a lot of paperwork. Your employer will almost always have to file a report of your accident for their records. Get a copy. Ask for copies of any related medical reports and law enforcement's accident reports, as well. These may become evidence later on.

4. Document the accident scene.

Keep personal records of all information pertinent to your accident, including:

Thoroughly photograph the accident scene. Make sure to take pictures of any equipment that was involved and your resulting injuries, like bruises, cuts, and x-rays.

5. Contact a New York City construction accident lawyer.

It's best to discuss your construction accident with as few people as possible. Of course, you can tell your family but refrain from consulting anyone from an insurance company. Any statement you make to an insurance adjuster can be misinterpreted - and used to minimize your settlement offer.

Instead, consult an experienced construction accident lawyer. The personal injury lawyers at Banville Law will be able to review the facts of your case and guide you through the proper legal avenue. Contact us now for a free consultation.

How Does Workers Compensation Work?

America's current Workers Compensation system was instituted largely to protect employers. Before workers comp, injured workers would routinely sue their own employers for negligence when they were involved in accidents. This put a tremendous burden on corporate pocketbooks and state court systems. In the event that their case was found lacking, many injured construction workers were forced to pay for all related expenses out of pocket.

Under Workers Comp laws, employers must purchase insurance for their employees. But in return for this security, workers are no longer allowed to sue their employers. Only in rare instances, like OSHA violations, can workers pursue their own employers. But workers comp settlements only cover medical expenses and lost wages, damages directly affecting your utility as a productive member of the economy.

Unfortunately, workers comp settlements are generally minimal. Most offers will be insufficient to cover the full range of medical treatments required in recovering from a serious injury. In addition, claims for workers compensation in New York City do not take liability, responsibility for your construction accident, into account. If you are offered a workers comp settlement, your employer is not being held guilty for your accident.

Who Is Responsible For My Construction Accident?

As we mentioned previously, New York State's Workers Compensation system prohibits injured workers from suing their employers in most cases. When workers comp is not enough, many injured New York workers turn to the services of personal injury lawyers.

Personal injury lawyers seek legal responsibility by investigating the roles that independent contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, equipment manufacturers, and distributors may have played in contributing to your accident. These players, known as "third parties," may be held responsible for your injuries if it can be proved that their actions were negligent.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is simply a failure to use proper care in performing an action.

For example, a distributor knowingly sold your construction company defective pressurized gas cylinders. When you tried to use it, a bottle exploded and you were severely injured. Would a "reasonably prudent," sensible person have sold you that cylinder? Of course not, because they would have known that an accident might happen (in legal terms, the accident was "reasonably foreseeable"). The distributor, who endangered lives, could be found guilty of negligence due to their carelessness.

Do I Have A Legal Case?

We strongly urge all injured construction workers to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York City, regardless of your accident's circumstances. Until reviewing the particular facts of your case, we cannot say with any certainty whether or not you will be able to file a lawsuit in New York. With that being said, the most common NYC construction accident lawsuits involve the following types of accident:

Do I Need A Lawyer?

If you are injured, and an insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, or you suspect that negligence was involved in your accident, you should contact a New York licensed personal injury lawyer immediately.

In fact, whether or not you are seriously considering pursuing litigation, calling a lawyer is probably a good idea. At the very least, an experienced construction accident attorney can advise you on filing a strong workers compensation claim. They may even think you have a case, and can help you decide whether or not pursuing legal action is the best choice for you.

Are Construction Accident Cases Different?

Yes. Because employment in the construction industry is inherently dangerous, New York's State Legislature has passed additional safety regulations that construction companies must follow. These laws have a dual purpose. On the one hand, they are meant to keep workers safe. On the other, they are meant to hold construction companies accountable when they make mistakes or are negligent.

New York State's labor laws allow some injured construction workers to file lawsuits for full economic damages, in addition to workers compensation claims. Workers comp limits the types of compensation workers may receive to those that cover medical expenses and lost wages. A personal injury lawsuit will allow you to pursue compensation for pain and suffering, as well.

What Areas Do You Serve?

Our lawyers are licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Although, the firm primarily focuses on Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island boroughs and counties.

How Much Will This Cost Me?

The services of an experienced lawyer are notoriously costly. We've all heard stories of friends and families running retainer bills into the hundreds of thousands.

At Banville Law, we ensure that that doesn't happen. Your initial consultation, in which our construction lawyers will review the facts of your case, is completely free. If you decide to employ us as your legal counsel, we will work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless we return a verdict or settlement in your favor.

Other Pages Of Interest

Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: June 27, 2015
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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