Construction work accounts for an alarming number of serious injuries and fatalities every year. As a Queens construction worker, you have the right to work in a safe environment. Employers are supposed to make work sites as safe as possible by following safety guidelines and providing proper protection equipment.
If an employer fails to follow certain safety laws, or a third party causes your injuries, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for damages above and beyond what you receive from workers’ comp.
If you were seriously injured in a Queens construction accident, you want the best lawyers representing you. That is what you will find at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP. Our experienced personal injury attorneys, led by the internationally recognized Thomas Giuffra, have successfully won many cases throughout New York in both state and federal court.
Our case results speak for themselves. These include:
In 2022, two people died and 79 were injured in Queens construction accidents.
Examples of Queens construction accidents that year include:
Workers’ compensation does not allow the injured worker to sue their employer. In lieu of filing a lawsuit, workers’ compensation pays for your medical treatment and provides temporary disability payments of approximately 2/3 of your weekly wages.
Keep in mind that the wage amount is capped, so most injured workers will receive less than 2/3 of their pay.
However, if the employer violates certain construction regulations and you are injured, you do have the right to file a New York personal injury lawsuit. The same holds true if a third party caused your injuries.
For example, if you were injured because of defective machinery or equipment, the manufacturer may prove liable.
Under New York labor law §200, also known as the Scaffold Law, any “scaffolding or staging more than 20 feet from the ground or floor, swung or suspended from an overhead support or erected with stationary supports, except scaffolding wholly within the interior of a building and covering the entire floor space of any room therein, shall have a safety rail of suitable material properly attached, bolted, braced or otherwise secured, rising at least 34 inches above the floor or main portions of such scaffolding or staging and extending along the entire length of the outside and the ends thereof, with only such openings as may be necessary for the delivery of materials.”
In addition, the law states that the scaffolding or staging must be fastened to prevent it from swaying from the building or structure. All scaffolding must be able to bear four times the maximum weight required when in use.
The Scaffold Law holds contractors and construction companies liable for injuries involving falls from heights. Should the contractor or construction company violate the law, such as not including a proper safety rail resulting in a worker’s fall and injury, the worker can then bring a claim against the party responsible for this violation.
Then there is New York Labor Law §241, which addresses safety measures concerning construction, demolition, and excavation work.
One provision of this law states: “All areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.”
A provision regarding elevators and other hoisting apparatus states, “If elevators, elevating machines or hod-hoisting apparatus are used in the course of construction, for the purpose of lifting materials, the shafts or openings in each floor and at each landing level shall be enclosed or fenced in on all sides by a barrier of suitable height, except on two sides which may be used for taking off and putting on materials, and those sides shall be guarded by an adjustable barrier not less than three nor more than four feet from the floor and not less than two feet from the edges of such shafts or openings.”
An injured worker may file a personal injury claim if the general contractor or the property owner violates this law.
Compensation for construction accident injuries in New York may include:
For a workers’ compensation claim, you must report the accident to your employer within 30 days. Failure to do so can result in loss of your medical benefits and lost wages.
For a construction-related personal injury lawsuit, the statute of limitations in New York is usually three years from the accident date. However, if any type of local, state, or federal agency was involved, you must file a Notice of Claim within six months.
For instance, if you were working on a public library, police station, public school, or similar venue, your time to file a claim is limited.
Even though you have up to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in most situations, do not wait to contact a New York personal injury lawyer. Waiting too long means evidence critical to your case may get lost.
Always seek immediate medical attention after a construction accident, even if you do not think you were seriously hurt. Many injuries, even severe ones, are not apparent right away.
If badly hurt, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room via ambulance. If your injuries appear less serious, notify your supervisor and ask where you should seek medical evaluation and treatment.
Since on-the-job injuries fall under workers’ compensation, you may have to go to a doctor chosen by your employer’s workers’ comp insurer. Injuries suffered while on the job are not handled by your personal physician or health insurance.
Try to take photos of the accident scene. If you are too injured to do so, ask a co-worker to take photos or videos for you. If there are eyewitnesses, obtain their names and contact information.
Once you have been evaluated and the doctor provides a treatment plan, make sure to follow that plan exactly. Failure to do so, such as not attending doctor’s appointments or physical therapy, can affect your workers’ compensation benefits as well as a personal injury lawsuit.
If you were injured in a Queens construction accident by a third party or your employer violated New York labor laws resulting in your accident, you need the services of an experienced New York Construction Accident Lawyer at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay no fee unless you receive compensation.