The New York construction industry employs thousands of workers, from architects to engineers to site workers. While it is a lucrative field for many, construction also happens to be one of the most dangerous areas in which to work. Although state labor laws mandate that construction sites be inspected by safety engineers and observe stringent safety measures, workers are still more likely to be injured or killed on the job than in any other industry.
Examples of construction site accidents include:
- Scaffolding collapses
- Falls from a height
- Fires and explosions
- Building collapse
- Crane accidents
- Injuries due to defective machinery
- Forklift-pedestrian collision
- Elevator accidents
Any employee who has been injured on a construction site is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which include:
- Partial compensation for lost wages
- All medical costs
- Potential disability benefits
- Death benefits
In most cases, employees are barred from suing their employer for a workplace injury. The workers’ compensation system was set up as a compromise in which injured employees surrendered their right to sue their employers in exchange for the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, no matter who was responsible for their mishap. If, however, their injuries were due to unsafe working conditions, third-party negligence, or failure to implement safety devices, then the injured person may be entitled to additional compensation.
Scaffolding or ladder injuries
Section 240 of the New York State Labor Law states that contractors and some property owners can be held liable for accidents involving defective or improperly constructed scaffolding, ladders, and other equipment. Failure to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations can make these third parties liable for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering experienced by an injured worker.
Highway work zone accidents
According to Federal Highway Administration statistics, there are over 700 work zone fatalities across the nation every year. Highway sites involve constant movement, and the presence of other cars on the road limits work space even further. If a construction worker suffers an on-the-job injury due to defective machinery, a crane accident, electrical hazard, or similar mishap, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
When a construction worker sues a third party for their injuries, they may be able to recover damages beyond what workers’ compensation delivers, such as:
- Lost earning ability
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering (both physical and emotional)
- Rehabilitative therapy costs
- Punitive damages (in certain cases)
Hire an attorney
Determining fault for a New York construction accident can be a complicated process, especially if there are many potential defendants responsible for employee safety. Anyone injured on a construction site should contact a New York personal injury attorney with experience in on-site accidents. The right attorney will identify the negligent parties, provide the evidence needed to hold them accountable, and strive to provide the injured worker and his or her family with the compensation they deserve.