Queens Construction Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ Compensation for Construction Workers in New York City
At any given time, there are hundreds of construction sites and thousands of workers operating in New York City. Unfortunately, construction workers are among the most at-risk workers when it comes to serious on-the-job accidents and work-related injuries.
If you or someone you love was hurt on a construction site or diagnosed with a work-related medical condition, the Harris Firm, LLC can help. Many construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation in New York City. Our attorneys can help you file a claim and seek the fair benefits you are owed. Unlike many law firms that refer out workers’ comp cases, we handle these claims in-house. When you hire our firm, you will work directly with your attorney throughout the entire process.
What Are the Most Common Construction Accidents & Injuries?
A construction accident refers to an unexpected, unplanned event that occurs on a construction site and results in harm, damage, or injury. These accidents can happen during the construction, renovation, or demolition of buildings, infrastructure, or other structures.
Construction sites are inherently hazardous due to the presence of heavy machinery, tools, elevated work areas, and various materials. Accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, including human error, equipment failure, or unsafe working conditions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the construction industry is the most dangerous for workers, with the highest overall rate of accidents and work-related fatalities.
Common types of construction accidents include:
- Falls: Falls from heights are a significant risk in construction. Workers may fall from scaffolding, ladders, roofs, or other elevated surfaces.
- Struck by Objects: Workers can be struck by falling tools, equipment, or materials. This includes situations where items are dropped or when equipment malfunctions.
- Caught In/Between: This category includes accidents where a worker is caught between two objects or is caught inside machinery or equipment. Examples include being caught in a trench collapse or caught in moving machinery.
- Electrical Accidents: Construction sites involve the use of electrical systems and equipment. Accidents can occur due to electrical shocks, burns, or fires.
- Collapse or Structural Failure: Buildings, scaffolding, or other structures can collapse if not properly constructed or maintained, leading to serious accidents.
- Machinery Accidents: Construction sites use various heavy machinery and equipment. Accidents can occur if machinery malfunctions, is operated improperly, or if workers are not adequately trained.
- Hazardous Material Exposure: Construction often involves the use of hazardous materials. Accidents can happen if workers are exposed to toxic substances or if these materials are not handled properly.
- Fire and Explosions: Construction sites may have flammable materials, and accidents involving fires or explosions can occur, leading to injuries and property damage.
- Vehicle Accidents: Construction sites typically have a high volume of vehicular activity, including trucks, cranes, and other heavy equipment. Collisions or incidents involving these vehicles can result in accidents.
- Overexertion and Musculoskeletal Injuries: Construction work can be physically demanding, and overexertion or improper lifting techniques can lead to musculoskeletal injuries.
- Trench Collapses and Cave-Ins: Workers can be trapped or buried in trenches if proper protective measures are not taken.
Construction workers often sustain traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputation, hearing loss, and other catastrophic injuries. Even when construction accidents are not fatal, workers often face months or even years of medical treatment and rehabilitation. In many cases, they suffer significant and permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to their previous employment.
What Are the Common Causes of Construction Accidents?
Construction accidents can result from a combination of various factors, such as:
- Lack of Training: Insufficient training for workers on the proper use of equipment, safety procedures, and hazard recognition can lead to accidents. Adequate training is essential to ensure that workers are aware of potential risks and know how to mitigate them.
- Poor Communication: Ineffective communication between workers, supervisors, and other stakeholders can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and ultimately accidents. Clear communication is vital for coordinating tasks, sharing information about hazards, and ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding safety protocols.
- Inadequate Planning: Poor planning, including inadequate risk assessments and failure to develop comprehensive safety plans, can contribute to accidents. A lack of proper planning may result in unexpected hazards and insufficient safety measures.
- Lack of Safety Equipment: Failure to provide and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) increases the risk of injuries. This includes equipment such as hard hats, gloves, safety glasses, and harnesses that are essential for protecting workers from specific hazards.
- Equipment Failure: Malfunctioning or poorly maintained machinery and equipment can lead to accidents. Regular inspections, maintenance, and prompt repairs are essential to ensure that tools and equipment are in good working condition.
- Unsafe Working Conditions: Hazardous working conditions, such as cluttered work areas, inadequate lighting, and poor ventilation, can contribute to accidents. Creating and maintaining a safe work environment is crucial for accident prevention.
- Lack of Supervision: Inadequate supervision can lead to workers taking unnecessary risks or not following safety protocols. Effective supervision ensures that workers adhere to safety guidelines and that corrective actions are taken when needed.
- Human Error: Mistakes made by workers, such as operating equipment improperly, misjudging distances, or not following established procedures, can contribute to accidents. Addressing human error often involves comprehensive training and continuous improvement efforts.
- Fatigue and Overexertion: Construction work can be physically demanding, and fatigue can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Adequate rest breaks, reasonable working hours, and promoting a culture of health and well-being can help address issues related to fatigue.
- Pressure to Meet Deadlines: Tight project deadlines and pressures to complete work quickly can lead to shortcuts in safety procedures. It's important to prioritize safety over speed and ensure that workers have the time and resources needed to perform their tasks safely.
- Subcontractor Issues: Lack of coordination and communication among subcontractors can contribute to accidents. Ensuring that all subcontractors are aligned with safety protocols and standards is essential for a safe construction site.
What Are the Benefits for Injured Construction Workers?
In New York, nearly all employees are covered by workers’ compensation. This includes construction workers who are employed by contractors, subcontractors, and other entities—as long as they are classified as “employees.” Those classified as “independent contractors,” as well as sole proprietors, typically do not qualify for workers’ compensation.
If you were injured in a construction accident, or suffered a work-related medical condition, you may be eligible to receive the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Benefits: In New York, workers’ compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical costs associated with treating work-related injuries and illnesses. This includes emergency care, surgery, ambulance fees, hospital fees, chiropractic care, physical therapy, medications, orthopedic equipment, medical devices, and more.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: If you are entirely unable to work during your initial recovery, you may qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. These are calculated based on your average weekly wage and are available for a certain number of weeks. If you are able to return to partial capacity or light-duty work, you may be entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), as determined by your doctor, you will receive an impairment rating. If you have an impairment rating between 1 and 99%, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. If you have an impairment rating of 100%, you could receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Both PPD and PTD benefits are calculated based on numerous factors.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits: Some injured construction workers who are unable to return to their past employment due to a permanent disability or impairment may qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits are intended to assist injured workers with certain costs associated with retraining and reentering the workforce.
The New York workers’ compensation system also provides death benefits to certain surviving family members when a construction worker dies in an on-the-job accident or due to a work-related medical condition.
Why Hire a Construction Workers’ Comp Attorney?
Construction workers put their health, safety, and lives on the line every day. When they are injured on the job, they deserve to be fairly compensated. Unfortunately, recovering workers’ compensation benefits is not always that simple.
At the Harris Firm, LLC, our Queens construction workers’ compensation lawyers help injured construction workers file workers’ compensation claims and seek the benefits they are owed. We have extensive experience in this area of law and understand how the system operates. We have represented contractors, subcontractors, roofers, electricians, and others against employers and insurance companies that disputed, delayed, or denied claims. We have also assisted workers who were misclassified as independent contractors, as well as those working for uninsured employers. No matter your unique situation, our team is prepared to fight for you.
Construction Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Can I Get More Than Just Workers’ Compensation If I’m Injured While Working on a Construction Site?
The benefits available to you after an on-the-job construction injury will depend on your type of employment and what insurance policies are available, either purchased on your own or by your employer. Most employees are covered by their employers’ workers’ compensation policies, so these are the only avenues to use when seeking recoveries. If you are an independent contractor without workers’ comp coverage, though, then you might have to use a personal injury claim against your employer. In rare situations, multiple insurance policies can be used to compensate you after an accident, such as your employer’s workers’ compensation policy and a disability insurance policy you purchased for yourself.
Are All On-the-Job Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
No, not all injuries that happen while you are on the job are covered by workers’ compensation. The key to workers’ compensation coverage for a construction worker – or a worker in virtually any other industry – is that it applies to workplace accidents. If an injury happens due to behavior that was intentionally or flagrantly against safety protocols, then workers’ comp insurance might not apply. For example, if a forklift operator drinks on the job and then crashes their forklift in a trench, they probably will be challenged if they file a workers’ compensation claim after. In that situation, the worker was breaking safety rules and intentionally putting themselves and others in danger by using heavy machinery while intoxicated, so the insurance company would try to deny that claim.
Can Your Workers’ Comp Claim Be Denied Because You “Should Know” That a Construction Site is Dangerous?
Working in an inherently dangerous occupation does not make you less eligible for workers’ compensation if something does go wrong. Industries like construction work, firefighting, and law enforcement have natural risks to them, but workers in these industries are still owed workers’ comp coverage based on their state’s rules. Your employer or their insurance provider can’t deny your claim because you “should have known” about the risks of your job.
Can You Get Compensation if You Lose a Limb on the Job?
Losing a limb due to an accident at work is a devastating experience for any worker. In Queens, amputation attorneys can help workers who have suffered this type of injury seek the full benefits and compensation they are owed under New York State's Workers' Compensation laws. An amputation attorney in Queens will be experienced in handling these types of cases and will fight to get their clients the financial assistance they need after suffering such a traumatic injury on the job. From medical bills to lost wages, our Queens amputation lawyers understand how important it is for injured workers to receive adequate compensation so that they can focus on healing and getting back on their feet.
Besides Receiving Workers' Comp Benefits, Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Construction Injury?
Yes, a third-party claim typically involves seeking compensation from someone other than the injured worker's employer or co-workers. These claims may arise when a party other than the employer or fellow employees is found to be at fault for the accident. Common third parties in construction accidents include property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, architects, and engineers.
Choose a Legal Team You Can Count On
At the Harris Firm, LLC, we dedicate a significant portion of our practice to workers’ compensation. Not only do we understand the law, but we also understand what you and your family are going through. Our team offers personalized representation tailored to you. We have an open-door policy and assist clients in a variety of languages to ensure that they fully understand their legal rights and options. Every initial consultation is completely free, and we do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.
When you choose our legal team, you can trust that we will be there for you every step of the way. We are aggressive advocates for the injured and are here to help eliminate your stress so that you can focus on healing.
Injured in a construction accident in Queens or the surrounding areas? Call our workers’ compensation lawyers now at (718) 487-8669 for a free consultation.
Mr.Harris handled my case perfectly- Saidou K.
I changed my attorney to Mr.Harris and it was the best decision I've made- Genesis A.
Mr. Harris was very professional, and I’m very grateful what he has done for my case.- Lola L.
Very grateful! Definitely will recommend Mr. Harris to anyone who needs.- Sharanjeet S.
Mr. Harris is the very best in the business has been doing this for over 25 years- Israel Y.