Have you or a loved one recently been injured while working on a construction site in New York? Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States and injuries are common. Fortunately, construction workers may be eligible for financial compensation for work-related injuries.
Dedicated work injury lawyer Paul Giannetti serves clients in Albany and Upstate New York, helping them secure the financial compensation they deserve. Contact Paul today to learn more about what to do after a construction site injury.
How Common Are Construction Site Injuries in New York?
Construction workers are at a much higher risk of work-related injuries than most other occupations. According to OSHA statistics, those who work in transportation and material moving occupations and construction and extraction occupations accounted for over 47 percent of fatal work-related injuries in 2020.
In New York City, construction workers represent a disproportionate share of work-related injuries. Data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that although construction workers only account for 5% of the city’s workforce, they represent 27% of all work-related injuries.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Construction sites often have several hazards that can easily lead to serious injuries. Here is an overview of the most common construction site accidents.
Fatal Four Construction Accidents
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of fatal accidents fall into one of the following four categories:
- Falls – CDC statistics show that falls account for over 36% of work-related deaths in the construction industry.
- Struck-by-object – Struck-by-object accidents involve construction workers suffering injuries after being hit by machinery, equipment, vehicles, or other moving objects on the construction site. They account for over 15% of construction injuries.
- Electrocution – Although electrocution on construction sites is preventable, electrocution still accounts for about 7% of fatal construction injuries. In addition, data shows that between 2012-2016, construction workers represented 77% of contract worker electrocutions.
- Caught in equipment or machinery – This type of accident happens when a worker gets caught in or between pieces of equipment or machinery and represents about 5% of fatal construction accidents.
If your loved one lost their life in a fatal construction accident, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with an experienced work injury lawyer.
Falls and Falling Objects
Along with workers falling from high elevations, falling objects are another common height-related accident on New York construction sites. Workers who fall from ladders, scaffoldings, rooftops, or other high elevations often suffer severe or even fatal injuries. In addition, being struck with an object that falls from a high distance can also cause severe and fatal injuries.
New York State’s Scaffold Law is designed to protect construction workers from preventable heigh-related injuries. Under this law, construction employers and property owners may be held fully liable when employees are injured in heigh-related accidents that involved improper safety equipment. For example, if a construction worker was not provided with a hard hat and suffered a head injury after being hit with a falling object, their employer could be held liable in a lawsuit.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
OSHA requires construction site management to ensure that their sites are free of known hazards that could end up hurting workers. Floor and ground hazards can easily cause a slip or trip and fall accident, which may involve serious injuries. These slip or trip and fall accidents are especially dangerous if they occur while working at a high elevation.
Some of the most common causes of slip, trip, and fall accidents for construction workers include:
- Wet or slick walking surfaces
- Debris or clutter blocking walking paths
- Uneven or damaged walking surfaces
- Environmental hazards, such as ice and snow
Heavy Machinery Accidents
Construction sites rely on several pieces of heavy machinery, such as forklifts, cranes, hoists, and bulldozers. When something goes wrong while using heavy machinery, serious or even fatal injuries can happen. This is why OSHA has stringent regulations for employee training and the use of heavy machinery.
Heavy machinery accidents can also happen due to no fault of any worker on the site, but because of third-party negligence. For example, if a crane accident occurred due to a defective part or design flaw in the crane, the manufacturer could be held liable for injury damages.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Construction workers with assignments on highways or other busy roadways are at risk of being injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Construction employers are required to adequately mark off their sites with signs that notify drivers of the work site. However, negligent drivers can still cause accidents and injure construction workers through negligent behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, or drunk driving.
In cases where a negligent driver causes an accident that leaves a construction worker injured, the worker may have grounds to seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
What to Do After a Construction Site Injury
Construction workers should be prepared for how to respond if and when they suffer an injury on the job. Some key measures to take following a construction accident include:
- Seek medical attention – Prompt medical attention is vital following a construction accident, even if your injuries appear minor at first. Certain types of construction injuries may not show their full symptoms until hours or days after the accident. Medical documentation will also be useful when seeking financial compensation.
- Notify your employer – The accident should be reported to your employer as soon as possible. New York requires injuries to be reported within 30 days, but it is best to do so the same day if possible.
- Document the injury – Documentation of your injuries will be necessary when filing a claim for workers’ compensation or a personal injury lawsuit. Some key information to gather includes contact info from witnesses, photos of the scene and damage, medical records, and all correspondence with your employer.
- Consider speaking with a lawyer – An experienced work injury lawyer can evaluate your case and help you determine how to get the full financial compensation you are entitled to. For many work injuries, the only recourse may be workers’ comp. But in some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be an option.
Can Construction Workers Sue For Injuries in New York?
Under New York workers’ compensation laws, employees give up their right to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers or co-workers for work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, meaning that benefits are provided regardless of who caused the injury. However, there are some scenarios in which a lawsuit is an option.
Injured construction workers may file a lawsuit against a contractor, construction site owner, or another party whose negligence contributed to the accident if the worker suffered “grave injuries”, such as blindness, lost body parts, or permanent loss of use of an appendage.
In addition, lawsuits can be filed against third parties if their negligence caused the injuries. For example, the manufacturer of a defective power tool could be sued for a construction site injury caused by their product.
Learn More From New York Work Injury Lawyer Paul Giannetti
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a construction site accident, New York personal injury lawyer Paul Giannetti is here to help. Paul can review your case and help you determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, in addition to guiding you through the workers’ comp process. Contact Paul today to learn more about what to do after a construction site accident.