Some of the highest rates of work-related injuries take place in construction. Workers are handling heavy equipment, sometimes at extreme heights, and are many times surrounded by hazardous conditions. If you are a construction worker, you likely understand how dangerous your job can be. Nevertheless, you have the right to expect that your construction site is reasonably safe, that the machinery you are working with is routinely serviced, and that your employers are doing their job to keep you safe from injury on the job. If you were injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault, you entitled to Workers’ Compensation. However, if third-party negligence was involved, you may have a personal injury claim for a work injury.
A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM IN A CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENT CASE
Workers’ Compensation is considered a “no fault” system, which means there is no reason for you to prove that a third party was at fault for your injury to receive payment of benefits. All you must prove to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits is that you were injured while on the job. All employers must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, which is responsible for paying benefits such as medical expenses, lost wages, and partial/permanent disability. You may be required to undergo numerous medical examinations by medical professionals affiliated with and paid by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurer.
These exams may include multiple diagnostic tests, x-ray examinations, MRIs and other radiological examinations to prove your inability to work. These examinations often determine your “percentage of disability”. Your percentage of disability is used in calculating what lost wages you are entitled to through your Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation will pay out 2/3 of your lost wages multiplied by your percentage of disability. There is however, a cap as to how much money a Workers Compensation Carrier has to pay for your lost wages.
Unfortunately, Workers’ Compensation will not pay out for pain and suffering. It’s important to note that Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited since there is no need for you to prove third-party negligence. However, New York State Labor Laws do allow construction workers to bring a personal injury claim against general contractors for injuries sustained on the job.
A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM IN A CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENT
When you’ve incurred an injury while working at a construction site, you may be able to bring personal injury claims against multiple parties. Claims may be brought against construction managers, safety contractors, engineers/architects, and manufacturers/installers of job-site equipment depending on what caused your accident. Here are a few examples of who would may be held liable in particular situations:
- If a construction worker falls from a roof, a construction manager or safety manager may be held liable for lack of fall protection
- If an ironworker is injured in a fall from a slippery or icy beam, a general contractor may be held liable for insisting that the job-site open even though dangerous conditions existed
- If a demolitionist is injured by a collapsing wall, the architect or engineer of the building may be held liable for devising an unsafe demolition plan
- If an electrician is electrocuted while wiring floor ducts, a general contractor and building owner may be held liable for failing to de-energize necessary circuits
- If a faulty piece of equipment leads to your injury, a product liability claim may be brought against the designer or supplier of the faulty equipment
New York State Labor Laws offers construction workers who are injured on the job a great deal of protection in a personal injury case. However, these Labor Laws are abundant and complex. Your most prudent course of action is to retain a personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of New York State’s Labor Laws to oversee your construction accident case.