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New York Construction Accident Lawyers

Advocates Who Understand the Trade & Are Ready to Fight

Were you or a loved one seriously injured in a NYC construction accident? While working in the construction industry poses many dangers, construction accidents are preventable. For both profit and convenience, those in charge often make safety their last priority. Another party’s negligence or recklessness may have caused or contributed to you or your loved one’s injury.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may have options other than workers’ compensation benefits.

Our law firm has an established track record when it comes to construction accident settlements and case verdicts. For example, our client was injured due to a defective scaffold on a construction site. He received $2,032,000 in a labor law verdict. Another client received a $2 million settlement due to an unsafe worksite after his tibia was severed by a saw. In another case, we represented a man who received $1.6 million in a labor law verdict for a fall from a ladder at a dangerous construction site, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.

Our diligent construction accident legal department, led by Thomas P. Giuffra, protects your rights while identifying all parties responsible for your accident. We investigate every aspect of your accident so that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in a construction accident, or someone you love has been harmed or killed on a construction site, it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney. Let us provide the help and representation you deserve.

We’re ready to stand for the rights and interests of workers. Call us at (212) 684-1880 today or complete this form to send us a message.

Why Do Construction Accidents Happen?

While industry regulations are in place to protect construction workers, accidents happen. It doesn’t help that this type of work is done at great heights, often with powerful, complex machinery, and amid countless potential dangers. Still, most construction accidents could have been prevented if not for negligence.

Negligent Causes of Construction Accidents

Accidents on construction sites are often caused by:

  • Lack of training
  • Lack of supervision
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Poor communication
  • Poorly maintained equipment and machinery
  • Defective tools and machinery
  • Intoxication
  • Ungrounded conductors, or hot wires
  • Working in bad weather (rain, snow, etc.)

Whatever the cause, our New York construction accident attorneys have the experience to help you through this difficult time. Reach out to Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP for help. We’ll protect your rights!

Different Types of Construction Accidents

The Fatal Four

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long been concerned with the high rates of injury on construction sites. Data for 2019 showed that out of the over 5,000 workers who died on the job, 20% worked in the construction industry.

To curb this problem, OSHA has identified the top four types of fatal construction accidents—or the “Fatal Four.” People bereaved by any of the Fatal Four typically qualify for compensation. Non-fatal injuries may also result, and those injured may also be compensated.


Common examples include:

  • Scaffolding accidents: Scaffolding can be erected at great heights. When workers fall from these structures or when scaffolding collapses, significant and life-altering injuries can result. These accidents may involve mobile scaffolds, suspension scaffolds, scissor lifts, and pipe scaffolds, among others.
  • Slip and falls: Slips, trips, and falls are common on construction sites, such as those caused by exposed wiring, wet and slippery floors, or loose rubble.
  • Falls from heights: Whether it was because of a defective ladder or just gravity, these falls can prove tragic.

Non-fatal fall injuries can be enough to keep workers from returning to the job. These injuries may also require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Struck by an Object

Many major construction accidents are caused by falling objects, such as site debris, or moving objects/machinery.

Forklift and crane accidents may also fall into this category.


Electrocution is death from electric shock. Such accidents are common on worksites where there are building code violations.

When electric shock accidents aren’t fatal, they may result in severe pain, burns, internal injuries, and more.

Caught-In or Caught-Between Accidents

These major construction accidents involve one or more moving objects.

A common example is when a worker gets caught between a forklift and a wall. Another example would be having your arm (or another body part) caught in a piece of machinery.

Other Common Types of Construction Accidents

Some other common construction accidents are:

  • Fires
  • Structure collapses
  • Manhole accidents
  • Toxic exposure, such as to asbestos

Seeking Compensation for Your Construction Injuries

If you or a loved one was injured in a construction accident, you could be entitled to compensation for the damages below:

  • Hospital care
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Future medical care
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Vocational training
  • Pain and suffering

Those bereaved by a construction accident may be compensated for wrongful death damages, from funeral expenses to the loss of love and society.

What to Know About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

According to workers’ comp law in New York, an injured construction worker may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits through their employer’s insurance. These benefits do not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish. Instead, they compensate the worker for part of their lost wages and medical care.

If the accident caused a career-ending injury, workers’ comp may also cover vocational training so that the worker can find a new job.

A construction worker cannot sue their employer for a worksite injury, although there are exceptions to this. An exception is if the employer caused the injury intentionally. Another is if the employer should have had workers’ comp insurance but didn’t. If eligible, you can file for workers’ comp benefits even if you were at fault for the injury.

When Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Construction Accident?

Most construction workers who are injured on the job will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers comp will cover a portion of your medical bills and a percentage (usually around 66%) of your lost wages during the time you are forced to be out of work. In return for these benefits, you are typically prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.

In the case of a serious or catastrophic injury, however, workers comp benefits will often not be enough to cover the full extent of your losses, both now and in the future. If a party other than your direct employer – such as the property owner, equipment manufacturer or a sub-contractor – was responsible for your injury, you have the right to sue them for compensation above and beyond the payouts that workers comp provides.

Who May Be Liable for My Injuries From a NYC Construction Accident?

In some cases, the employer will need to compensate the worker through their workers’ compensation insurance. Other times, a third party will need to pay these damages. In either case, you can recover compensation if you were partially at fault.

You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if they deliberately tried to cause you injury by placing you in an especially dangerous situation.

Willful negligence on the part of your employer is also grounds for filing a lawsuit. That might involve being cited for an OSHA violation and ignoring it, with your injury caused directly by this violation.

Additionally, you may be eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a third party (a person or entity that is not your direct employer) if this third party’s negligence in any way contributed to your serious injury.

Third-Party Liability

If someone besides yourself and your employer was at fault for the accident, you may sue that person for damages. A negligent company or corporation may also be the subject of these third-party lawsuits.

Suing a third party can result in compensation for all the damages you have suffered. That means both economic damages (medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

A common example would be a construction accident caused by an equipment malfunction. Manufacturers must make sure that their products are safe for use—otherwise, they’re on the hook for any damages.

Besides equipment manufacturers, third parties who are frequently found accountable for construction accident injuries include:

  • Property owners: Under New York Labor Law 200, property owners must keep job sites safe. The same holds true under general premises liability law. While owners are not responsible for every injury that takes place on their property, they are charged with ensuring that “foreseeable” hazards are addressed. For instance, if there is an environmental hazard on the site that causes injury, the property owner may be held liable if they did not remove or mitigate this hazard or warn workers about the dangerous situation so they could avoid it. Owners must not only follow general safety practices but must make sure general contractors also do so.
  • General contractors: In addition to following general safety practices, general contractors must ensure that scaffolding and other dangerous site equipment are secured and fastened. Workers hurt due to improperly functioning or installed devices, such as stays, hoists, pulleys, and ladders, may hold general contractors liable.
  • Subcontractors: These parties often perform a great deal of work on construction sites. They, too, are responsible for providing a safe working environment. Subcontractors may operate heavy equipment or motor vehicles, prime sources of serious construction accidents.
  • Architects and engineers: Did your injury occur because there was a structural collapse or another condition related to substandard engineering or planning? Was the project inspected regularly by site engineers? In such situations, these professionals may be held liable for your injuries due to their negligence.

It is not unusual for more than one third party to bear responsibility for the same injury, making it a joint contributory negligence situation. If a subcontractor’s equipment collides with a worker, that subcontractor might prove liable. If it turns out that an equipment malfunction contributed to the collision, both the subcontractor and the manufacturer may prove liable. If the property owner knew the subcontractor was not operating the equipment in a safe manner but failed to act, they could also be held accountable.

New York Labor Laws — Know Your Rights

Workers across all industries are owed a safe place to work. That’s not an opinion; it’s the law.

Construction workers have this right, as well as other special protections under New York labor law.

Labor Law 200

Labor Law 200 guarantees construction workers the right to a safe workplace.

If a worksite hazard causes injury, the construction worker may sue the:

  • Subcontractor
  • General contractor
  • Worksite owner
  • Or whoever was in charge

Labor Law 240

Labor Law 240, or the “Scaffold Law,” spells out specific guidelines for scaffolding on construction sites. It also grants injured construction workers the right to compensation if those guidelines are violated.

Because this is a “strict liability” law, you must prove your injury was rooted in a violation of the Scaffold Law.

Labor Law 241

Labor Law 241 details the rules and regulations for construction, excavation, and demolition.

Like the Scaffold Law, construction workers injured by violations of Labor Law 241 are entitled to compensation.


Statute of Limitations for Construction Accidents

In New York, the statute of limitations varies considerably depending on whether you are working on a private site or on public construction. For a private site, you usually have three years from the accident date in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured while working on a public site, such as a municipal entity or board of education, you have just 90 days in which to file a claim.

It is important to consult a NYC construction accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident. While the statute of limitations is often three years, waiting too long can mean valuable evidence vanishes. It is not always clear whether you are working on a private or public site. Do not assume the construction site was private only to find out too late that it was owned by a public entity and you have missed the 90-day claim filing deadline.

How Do I Know if I Need a Lawyer?

When there is a lot at stake, it is best to get a lawyer.

This is especially true for construction injuries, as they tend to be severe and put you out of work. Such injuries make it hard to afford the cost of living, let alone the medical care you need. And the worse the injury, the worse the hardship.

Consider the stakes of your case when thinking about hiring a New York construction accident lawyer:

  • How severe is the injury?
  • How has the injury affected your life?
  • Has the injury affected your family?
  • Who was responsible for the injury?
  • How long is the recovery expected to take?
  • Will you be able to return to the same job?
  • How much will your medical care cost?

When taking legal action, you need to know how to investigate and prove a case, fight for full compensation, and fully understand the laws that apply. An experienced lawyer can check all these boxes.

If you want to give yourself a strong chance of winning, getting a lawyer is the best way to do that.

What to Do After a Construction Accident

The first thing to do after a construction accident is get medical attention. If you were seriously injured, it is likely an ambulance was called. Sometimes, even serious injuries are not apparent right away.

Go to the emergency room or see a physician approved by your employer’s insurance company, even if you initially think you were not hurt. Failure to do so can jeopardize your claim.

If possible, take photos or videos of the accident scene. If there are eyewitnesses to your accident, obtain their names and contact information.

  • Report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. This is imperative.
  • Keep careful track of your medical records.
  • Keep a daily journal outlining your pain and disability levels.
  • Contact a NYC construction accident lawyer.

Start with a Free Consultation

At Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP, our attorneys are committed to advocating for construction accident victims and serving workers in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Whether you or your loved one was injured on a construction site, we want to make sure you get the help you need and deserve. Don’t let the responsible party stick you with the bill. You’ve been through enough as it is.

When you’re ready to act, we’re right here to hit the ground running. Find out why New Yorkers turn to us for help!

Contact a New York construction accident attorney online to request a free consultation. Nosotros hablamos español.