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New York City Construction Accident Lawyer

Meirowitz and Wasserberg photo and text: NYC Construction Accident Lawyers

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New York City is a tremendously busy place, with thousands of miles of road and a consistent need for extensive infrastructure maintenance. Construction is common in NYC, and it’s vital for citizens of the Big Apple to understand the risks involved in the construction industry including the potential for injury to both construction workers and citizens who must pass by construction sites.

Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, helps injured New Yorkers recover their losses after suffering injuries and property damage due to the negligence of others. Construction workers in New York City have a dangerous job, often contending with both the inherent dangers of construction work and the congestion of traffic and pedestrians in the city. When construction site accidents happen, injured victims need to know where to turn for help. Contact a qualified New York City construction accident attorney at our firm today.

How common are construction site accidents in New York City?

According to the City of New York, dozens of construction accidents are reported across New York City each month. In 2021, there were 24 construction accidents reported in the month of October, with that number jumping to 33 in November.

From automobile accidents to falls from extreme heights, these types of accidents are avoidable with the proper safety precautions.

NYC Construction Accident Statistics

Construction accidents can happen to anyone. However, looking at the statistics can make it easier to observe patterns in construction accidents.

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 30% of NYC work fatalities occurred in the private construction industry in 2018. There were 22 deaths in 2018, compared with 20 deaths in 2017.
  • Hundreds of construction workers suffer severe injuries each year.
  • Accidents are most commonly due to heavy machinery and slips, trips, and falls. 
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the construction and extraction occupational group is responsible for more fatalities than any other group, with construction trades workers accounting for 26 of the 29 fatalities in 2019.
  • Private construction has the highest number of fatalities in New York City, at 24.
  • Contact with heavy objects and equipment resulted in 6 of the 24 fatalities in the construction industry.
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments accounted for 4 of the 24 construction industry fatalities.

Types of Construction Accidents

The types of construction accidents that can lead to injury are varied and almost always preventable. When an accident is due to the carelessness or negligence of an employer or other entity, the injured party is entitled to compensation. Those who work on construction sites, should be aware of the dangers and potential for all types of construction accidents.

Types of NYC construction accidents infographic

Falling Objects

Much construction activity occurs at significant heights, which means items can fall on people walking beneath them and can cause injuries.

Roof, Scaffolding, or Ladder Falls

Failure to properly secure equipment can greatly increase the risk of a fall.

Equipment Malfunctions

When construction equipment malfunctions, especially when the safety guards on that equipment stop working, it may lead to catastrophic injury. 

Forklift and Crane Accidents

Construction workers require special training to use forklifts and cranes safely and effectively. However, severe accidents can result from inattention or carelessness even when workers have completed the appropriate training.

Fires or Explosions

Between the heavy equipment frequently used on construction sites and the dangerous chemicals often present, fires and explosions can occur. 

Chemical or Hazardous Material Spills

Contact with dangerous chemicals can lead to burns, lung damage, or death.

Ground and Trench Collapses

When the ground collapses under or around construction workers, they may have little time to get out of the way to avoid severe injury.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicles frequently move around construction sites without following traffic lines or signals, increasing the risk of a car accident.

Getting Trapped or Crushed Between Two Objects

With the heavy equipment and construction supplies present on construction sites, workers may face substantial damage if something falls and is trapped or crushed.

Overexertion

Workers keep going despite exhaustion and may continue working through hot New York summers, leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Electrocutions

When an electrician fails to properly manage the electricity flowing to certain areas, including closing off exposed wiring, it can quickly lead to electrocutions and severe injuries.

Respiratory Exposure to Dangerous Elements

Construction workers may be exposed to hazardous substances, such as asbestos, which can lead to illness, including an increased risk of cancer.

Causes of Construction Accidents

Just as there are several types of construction accidents, there are also many causes of accidents on a New York City construction site.

Causes of NYC construction accidents infographic

Poor Machine Maintenance

Failure to properly maintain equipment can lead to malfunctions or errors, which can cause severe injury to the parties around the machine or using it at the time of the accident.

Lacking the Right Machinery or Tools

Often, workers try to make do with what they have on construction sites, especially if they have not been provided with the right tools for a specific task. Unfortunately, this can lead to increased risk of injury.

Improper Leadership and Communication

Lack of communication can lead to workers attempting dangerous tasks or failing to discover potential dangers until an accident has already occurred. 

Inadequate Safety Equipment

Construction companies must ensure that their workers and all visitors to their sites have the safety equipment they need to help protect themselves. 

Failure to Follow Safety Guidelines

Sometimes, workers may ignore safety guidelines to get things done faster or complete a task more easily. Construction companies may do the same by requiring their workers to ignore those safety precautions to cut costs or time.

Human Error

Construction accidents can occur simply because someone makes a vital error at just the wrong moment. 

Unsafe Working Conditions

Workers have a much higher risk of sustaining severe injuries if their employers fail to create a safe working environment in dangerous working conditions. 

External Conditions

Conditions such as extreme heat or cold can increase the risk of injury.

Construction Laws in New York City

New York City has several construction laws that govern construction activities and the safety measures that must be in place on construction sites. Labor laws exist to protect construction workers and others who visit the worksite. Workers who do not follow these rules increase their risk of serious injury.

Do you have questions about whether laws were violated in your accident? An NYC personal injury lawyer can review the rules and determine how they apply to your specific accident.

Section 240: NYC Scaffolding Law

The NYC Scaffolding Law indicates that construction workers must have scaffolding that can provide protection any time they need to stage several feet above the ground. 

Section 200: Duty to Provide Safe Working Conditions

Section 200 dictates that construction companies and contractors have a clear duty to provide for the health and safety of all employees, including adequate safety protection and assistance when needed. 

Section 241: Duty to Manage Demolition, Construction, and Excavation Effectively

Section 241 lays out the precautions that must be taken during construction to help ensure the safety of workers and others using the building, including flooring requirements and apparatus requirements.

Injuries Caused by Construction Accidents

Construction workers, or visitors to construction sites, may suffer from various injuries, depending on the type of activities in which they engage.

  • Repetitive motion injuries, such as swelling, tenderness, loss of motion, and pain due to performing the same action over and over again
  • Shoulder injuries, often due to objects falling, repetitive stress, or excessive lifting
  • Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries resulting from falls or falling objects
  • Brain injuries that can lead to considerable ongoing suffering, including loss of focus and memory
  • Crush injuries leading to amputation or causing substantial ongoing pain for the victim
  • Broken bones, which may take considerable time to heal
  • Electrocution or electrical burns, which result from exposure to high-voltage electrical currents
  • Burns, including chemical, heat, and electrical burns
  • Occupational diseases, including mesothelioma, which may result from respiratory contact with substances often used in construction
  • Amputations resulting from the use of heavy equipment malfunctions or lack of safety precautions when using equipment
  • Total or partial paralysis or loss of mobility following a spinal cord injury due to a fall or heavy equipment
  • Other permanent disabilities, including hearing or vision loss from exposure to loud noises from power tools and other construction equipment
  • Wrongful Death

Steps to Take After a Construction Accident Causing Injuries

Steps to Take after a NYC Construction Accident Infographic

Step 1: Get a medical evaluation and treatment for your injuries

Step 2: Report the accident to your employer

  • Make sure your employer knows the details of your accident. Regardless of who caused the accident, you may have the right to claim damages through workers’ compensation.

Step 3: Keep careful records

  • Track all documents related to your accident and to the injuries you sustained. You may want to collect evidence at the construction accident scene, including photos of the direct cause of the accident. Furthermore, save your medical bills and invoices, any notes from your doctor regarding your treatment, and any written correspondence related to the accident. That careful documentation can prove vital to your construction accident claim.

Step 4: Contact a construction accident attorney

  • An attorney can help you file a claim with your employer, negotiate a settlement with workers’ compensation or the insurance companies involved in your claim, and help you manage a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary.

Injured from a Construction Accident?

Sam Meirowitz & Dan Wasserberg

Who is liable for construction accidents in NYC?

When a construction worker suffers an injury on the job, it’s vital to ascertain the exact cause of the incident. Workers’ compensation exists to help injured workers handle the immediate financial strain an injury can cause, but more often than not workers’ compensation benefits do not cover the total costs of an injury. In some cases, construction workers may need to file personal injury lawsuits against negligent employers, product liability claims against manufacturers of defective products or third-party lawsuits against others who cause injuries to construction workers but who are not involved in the actual construction.

New York City construction workers also have protection under New York’s Labor Law 240, which requires any construction workers who work at high elevations to have access to the appropriate scaffolding, safety equipment, and other necessary provisions. When inspectors fail to provide such equipment, they can recover compensation from the third party responsible for supervising the safety conditions of the worksite. For more information regarding determining liability, speak with a knowledgeable New York City construction accident attorney.

Product Liability And Third-Party Claims

If a defective product such as a tool or piece of construction equipment causes an injury, the injured person must file a product liability claim against the product’s manufacturer. Unlike personal injury claims, a plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit does not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent, only that the product in question was defective and that the defect caused his or her injuries. Products qualify as defective if they have an inherent design flaw, incurred some flaw during the production or assembly process, or did not include adequate safety warnings and instructions for use.

In cases where a third party unrelated to the construction worker’s job causes an injury, the injured party would file a third-party claim for compensation. For example, imagine a construction worker is transporting materials between job sites. On the way to his or her destination, a motorist crashes into the construction worker’s vehicle and causes an injury. In this situation, the injured worker can file a claim for workers’ compensation since the injury occurred while he or she was performing job-related duties and the injured worker may also file a third-party claim against the negligent driver.

Filing An Injury Claim For NYC Constructions Accidents

When construction workers’ employers do not take adequate steps to ensure workplace safety or allow known hazards to remain unaddressed for any period of time, they will likely incur liability for any resulting accidents. For example, suppose a construction worker notifies his or her supervisor of a scaffold that appears to need repairs. The employer notes the worker’s concerns but does nothing to address the issue. A few days later, another worker suffers an injury after the scaffold breaks and collapses. In this situation, the employer is liable for the injury because he or she received proper notice of the hazard and had time to correct it, but did not, and this failure caused an injury.

Proving negligence in personal injury claims for construction site accidents follows the same path as any other personal injury lawsuit. The injured plaintiff and his or her New York City construction accident attorney must show the court that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, violated this duty in some way and that the plaintiff’s injuries are the direct result of the defendant’s negligence. While many construction site injuries lead to personal injury claims, hazardous equipment, and other defective products are also a major cause for concern.

How can a construction accident attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg help?

When you suffer injuries in a construction accident, having a dedicated lawyer on your side can prove critical. Construction accident lawyers can:

  • Evaluate your case (at no cost)
  • Conduct an independent investigation, separate from your employer’s investigation
  • Secure the evidence you need to support your claim
  • Determine all parties that may share liability for your accident (for example, both your employer and the manufacturer of a faulty piece of equipment)
  • Acquire investigations from a third party, such as OSHA or the New York City Department of Buildings
  • Gather vital eyewitness statements or depositions
  • Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Represent you in court, if necessary

The right New York City construction accident attorney can help injured construction workers recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages from missed time at work, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, and more. The legal team at Meirowitz & Wasserberg is committed to helping every one of our clients maximize their recoveries and secure as much compensation as possible following a workplace injury. Contact us if you have questions about a recent construction site injury or if you would like to schedule a free case evaluation. We will meet with you and review the details of your situation so we can advise you how best to proceed.

Injured from a Construction Accident?

Sam Meirowitz & Dan Wasserberg

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1040 Sixth Avenue, Suite 12B
New York, NY 10018
212-897-1988
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