New York Construction Accident Lawsuits

New York Construction Accident Lawsuits are filed when a construction worker suffers a preventable injury or dies while working on a building project. These lawsuits succeed when the accident stemmed from an employer’s failure to provide proper safety equipment or safe working conditions. When a construction worker suffers an injury or death on the job, a construction accident lawsuit can help offset the financial burden of medical care and lost wages.

Were you injured in a construction accident fall? Talk to a lawyer who can help

Why File a New York Construction Accident Lawsuit?

According to a recent report, New York City construction accidents increased by more than 10% in 2018, with worker falls constituting more than a quarter of those accidents. Unfortunately for NYC construction workers, the risks associated with a fall during the course of their day-to-day job have become quite severe. The average NYC building towers 142 meters tall, but falls from only 22 meters carry a 50% mortality rate. Though state and federal regulations hold construction sites to strict safety standards, accidents still happen.

Both New York State and the City of New York have created comprehensive construction safety laws that provide protections in addition to those of federal agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Construction companies and building owners are responsible for the health, safety, and lives of all their respective employees. When they fail in that responsibility, the law sees them as negligent and demands compensation for the party injured by their mistakes.

A fall from height can cause serious injuries, resulting in substantial medical bills, lost wages, and other financial hardships for the victim. A New York construction accident lawsuit can help victims offset some of the unexpected costs associated with a fall from a building, scaffolding, or other height.

Types of Construction Accidents

  • Excavation/Soil Work
  • Material Fell
  • Mechanical Construction Equipment
  • Scaffold / Shed / Fence / Shoring / Installation
  • Worker Fell
  • Other

Source: New York City Department of Buildings

New York Construction Accident Injuries Due to Falling From Height

The City of New York reported almost 200 construction worker falls in 2018, making them the second most common method of injury in the NYC construction industry. In general, the further a person falls, the more severe their injuries are likely to be. Though the method of impact varies based upon how the person falls, most accidental fall victims end up taking the brunt of the force on their lower limbs. One study shows that almost 60% of injuries sustained during a fall from height occur at the pelvis level or lower, but that leaves plenty of damage for the upper body and internal organs as well.

Fall From Height Injuries

Construction workers can fall from scaffolding, a roof, a ladder or internal structures like elevator shafts on any given day, possibly sustaining a variety of serious injuries.

  • Bone fracture
  • Head injury
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Skull fracture
  • Broken ribs
  • Hemothorax
  • Internal organ damage
  • Pelvis fracture
  • Nerve damage
  • Spinal fracture
  • Other back injuries
  • Epidural hematoma
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cardiac or aortic rupture
  • Internal Bleeding

Physical injuries caused by a fall from height can be extensive, and some people suffer from long-lasting mental and emotional damage as well. Even in cases where individuals fall a short distance without injury but require search and rescue (i.e., scaffold malfunction), victims can develop post-traumatic stress disorder. It can be difficult to process the feelings associated with this type of accident, leaving many in need of long-term therapy.

Some people who fall from a height survive their injuries only to face the prospect of living on long-term or even permanent disability. For those who suffer a fall during the course of their construction employment, they may be covered by workers compensation. The best way for anyone to understand their options is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

What to Do After a New York Construction Accident

The most important thing after any construction accident is to get everyone to safety and seek medical attention for all injuries. Once everyone’s physical wellbeing has been confirmed, it’s important to document and formally report the circumstances leading up to and immediately following the incident. These details can simplify insurance, workers compensation, and lawsuit claims. Finally, you should discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you understand your rights prior to accepting any workers compensation, insurance, or other settlements.

New York Construction Accident Laws

The State of New York has multiple laws aimed at protecting the construction labor force. According to one court opinion, construction workers “are scarcely in a position to protect themselves from accident,” requiring the legal system to place that burden on both their direct employers and the building owners who contract them. Though Labor Law 200 requires all employers to reasonably protect the lives, health, and safety of their employees, other laws specifically address the safety of individuals working more than twenty feet from the ground.

Labor Law 240: The Scaffold Law

New York’s Labor Law 240, aka The Scaffold Law, assigns responsibility for providing protective equipment and safe working conditions for any project at height to both general contractors and building owners. It mandates safe installation and maintenance of equipment like scaffolds, pulleys, hoists, ropes, and other devices used in construction projects working more than twenty feet off the ground. It has generated a substantial amount of controversy, as New York construction accident lawsuits arising from Labor Law 240 have commonly resulted in awards worth millions of dollars. Opponents of Labor Law 240 have suggested its open-ended liability prevents small businesses from competing in the New York construction industry.

Labor Law 241 and Labor Law 241-A

Construction workers can encounter danger even outside the confines of tall building exteriors and scaffolding installations. Labor Law 241 and Labor Law 241-A address safety requirements for workers in these environments, requiring protection of elevator shafts and multi-story framing projects where incorrect safety protocol could allow a person to fall several stories within an incomplete building structure.

Were you injured in a New York construction accident? Speak with an experienced lawyer today.

New York Construction Accident Lawsuits

In 2012, 14 of the 30 largest settlements in the state of New York involved construction accidents, most involving falls from scaffolding, ladders, or other heights. In the majority of construction injury lawsuits, the victim must prove the injury did not stem from their own failure to correctly use safety equipment, but the situation is different in New York. Due to the wording and specificity of Labor Law 240, the injured worker is not held responsible for their own negligence. Instead, the contractor and building owner bear full responsibility for the injured worker’s safety at the work site, regardless of the worker’s compliance with safety regulations. This means that proving negligence after a construction worker falls from a building, ladder, or other height is much easier in New York, resulting in a number of lawsuits and judgments in favor of the injured party.

Types of New York Construction Accident Claims

Depending on the type of accident, the nature of a victim’s relationship with the contractor or building owner, and the extent of injury, an individual fall from height may be treated as either a personal injury claim or a workers compensation claim. Workers compensation benefits are usually capped and may not provide enough coverage for the injured party.

Even if workers compensation applies to your situation, you may still be eligible to file additional claims.

New York Construction Accident Claims

Personal Injury Claims: filed by individuals hurt in a construction accident fall
Wrongful Death Claims: filed by the loved ones of an individual who died due to a construction accident fall

An experienced New York construction accident lawyer is the best person to help you decide which type of claim covers your individual situation.

New York Construction Accident Damages

Judges or juries award damages to an individual whose lawsuit adequately proves they were harmed by the bad acts of the defendant. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages seen in New York construction accident lawsuits, but punitive damages may apply in certain situations. Compensatory damages can cover a multitude of accident-related expenses.

Compensatory Damages in New York Construction Accidents

  • Ambulance Costs
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Future Lost Earnings
  • Future Medical Costs
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Loss of Opportunity

New York Construction Accident Settlements

Each year NYC reports hundreds of construction site accidents involving a fall from a building, scaffolding, or other height. Some New York Construction accident lawsuits have resulted in substantial compensation for the injured construction workers.

Weislaw Lawsuit – $2.7 Million Settlement

A construction employee repairing the roof of a one-story building on Long Island suffered multiple injuries after falling from the roof. His lawyer argued that the employer failed to provide adequate safety equipment, and the case ultimately settled for $2.7 million.

Petrides Lawsuit – $6.3 Million Settlement

Brian Petrides suffered a 20-foot fall from scaffolding while working at a Brooklyn public school work site, leaving him with extensive injuries and lifelong disabilities. He settled his lawsuit for $6.3 million in 2014.

Wozny Lawsuit – $7.5 Million

Lucas Wozny sustained a foot injury after a terrifying construction site accident sent him plummeting to the scaffolding floor. Due to his New York scaffolding fall, Mr. Wozny now suffers from reflex sympathy dystrophy, causing him to permanently walk with a crutch and depend on prescription painkillers. A NYC jury awarded him $7.5 million, but due to a pretrial agreement Wozny only took home $2.5 million.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about New York construction accident lawsuits.

Do I Need a New York Construction Accident Lawyer?

After a construction-related fall from any height, it’s important to obtain legal counsel promptly after getting appropriate medical treatment and informing work supervisors or employers of the accident. Construction accident attorneys can help you understand which type of claim best fits your situation and ensure you complete all the steps necessary to make the most compelling case.

How Much Will a New York Construction Accident Lawyer Cost?

A lawyer experienced in New York construction accidents will work on a contingency basis, meaning you will not pay anything up front. Instead, the lawyer will typically offer a free consultation to determine your eligibility, and they will only receive payment if they accept and win your case. The best way to understand the whole process is to speak with a lawyer today.

How Much Compensation Can I Receive for a New York Construction Accident Lawsuit?

Every situation is different, meaning awards and settlements for construction accident lawsuits vary greatly. With legitimate cases it is not unusual to see settlements and verdicts in the range of several million dollars, but only a qualified attorney can reliably estimate the amount of compensation you may receive.

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