Construction workers are exposed to dangerous conditions on a daily basis — and unfortunately, accidents happen all too often. Whether the tasks involve operating heavy machinery, working on a scaffold, or unloading heavy materials, accidents can arise if proper safety precautions aren’t taken. Additionally, workers may not always be provided with adequate training or safety gear, leading to the risk of serious injury or fatality.
If you’ve been in a construction accident, it’s important to understand that you have legal rights. Here are five steps you must take to ensure they are protected:
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do after you’ve been in an accident on a job site is seek medical attention. Even if you’re not transported to the emergency room, you should see a doctor immediately. Not only is getting the medical help you need crucial for your health, but failure to do so could potentially affect any third-party claim for damages you might pursue.
Your medical records will serve as key evidence to establish the extent of your injuries — as well as impact the amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.
2. Document What Happened
Various accidents can occur on a construction site, including ladder falls, scaffold collapses, welding accidents, incidents involving defective machinery, and crane accidents. After any accident that has resulted in injuries, it’s essential to document how it happened while the facts are still fresh in your memory. Although it may not always be possible, it’s also a good idea to take photos of the accident scene and note any witnesses who were there.
3. Notify Your Supervisor
Your supervisor must be made aware if you were injured in a job-related accident as soon as possible. Critically, in order to preserve your right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, you must let your supervisor know about the accident within 30 days of its occurrence. It’s best to report the incident in writing to ensure every detail is documented, including:
- The nature and extent of the injury you sustained
- How the incident occurred
- The time, date, and precise location the accident happened
- Whether any other parties were involved in the accident
- Any medical treatment you received
A well-written accident report may also be invaluable to help protect your rights should you decide to file a third-party lawsuit for your injuries.
4. File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After a construction site accident, medical expenses can quickly add up — and you could be out of work for a considerable amount of time. Significantly, Workers’ Compensation will cover the costs of medical care for your work-related accident injuries, a portion of your lost wages, and travel expenses to and from your medical appointments.
Although negligence doesn’t need to be proven to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, there are specific requirements that must be met in order to obtain the benefits to which you’re entitled.
In addition to seeking immediate medical treatment and notifying your employer of the accident within 30 days, you must complete a “C-3” form to file with the Workers’ Compensation Board. Subsequently, you must also make an appointment to see an authorized Workers’ Compensation medical provider.
5. Commence a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Third-Party
While an injured construction worker cannot sue their employer due to New York’s Workers’ Compensation laws, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed against a negligent third party. On a construction site, there are many other parties whose carelessness or recklessness may have contributed to the accident, such as the site owner or a general contractor.
If you can demonstrate that a third party’s negligence caused your injuries, they may be liable for your damages — including your unreimbursed medical expenses and the lost earnings that were not covered by Workers’ Compensation. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may also be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in some cases.
Contact an Experienced New York Construction Accident Attorney
Being injured in a construction site accident can have a devastating impact on your life. It’s essential to contact a personal injury attorney who can ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process — and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has more than three decades of experience representing injured construction workers and achieving positive results in their cases.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.