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New York Construction Accident FAQ

Can I file a lawsuit if I’m an undocumented immigrant worker in New York City?

Yes, if you have been injured on the job in New York City or New York State, you have rights regardless of your nationality or immigration status. A report titled "Fatal Inequality" that was released and compiled by the Center for Popular Democracy, points out the disproportionately high number of Latino and immigrant construction workers who are killed on the job every year in New York City. According to the Oct. 24, 2013 report, between 2003 and 2011, 74 percent of fatal construction accident related falls in New York City involved Latinos or immigrants. The statistics were compiled based on investigative reports provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which probes workplace accidents that result in injuries and fatalities. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker – an undocumented immigrant (an "illegal alien") ­– who was injured on the job. This was one of the highest construction case settlements in New York State in 2010.

About the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm

The Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm is a personal injury litigation firm with an unwavering dedication to its clients. With more than 42 years of experience, our firm strives to obtain the best compensation for those who have been injured or those who have lost a loved one due to an accident or by someone else's negligence. We handle cases dealing with personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, workers' compensation, dental malpractice, motor vehicle accidents including car, bus, train and truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, rape, paralysis, comas, seizures, false arrest, lead poisoning, trips and slips and falls, falls on sidewalks or stairs, elevator accidents, construction accidents, Erb's palsy, cerebral palsy, brain damage, blindness, hearing loss, dog bite cases, fire and smoke inhalation accidents, bicycle accidents, falls from windows or scaffolds, food poisoning injuries, and many other types of accidents and injuries. Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys' fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case. Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES Please visit us at: http://www.WORK4YOULAW.com

Do I need an attorney?

Yes. That is the best course in most cases for you. If, you have missed an amount of time from work and are worried about receiving fair compensation, it will be in your best interests to discuss your legal options with a construction accident attorney.

Is the property owner liable for my injuries?

There are circumstances in which a property owner can be held responsible for the accidents that occur on their premises. The owner of the property has a duty to maintain the premises in a safe condition for the construction workers. Similarly, the general contractor has a duty to work with sub-contractors and oversee the implementation of safety procedures at worksites.

Can I file a third-party claim even if I am collecting workers’ compensation benefits?

Yes. Injured workers have the right to seek money through workers compensation and to file a third-party claim against the person or company that caused or is responsible for the accident. The benefits covered by workers' compensation are limited and often do not cover significant damages such as large losses of earnings, emotional distress, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Therefore, a third-party claim is often the only way to receive adequate compensation.

What is a third-party claim?

In addition to workers' compensation claims, injured construction workers may be able to file a "third-party claim." Such claims are usually filed against a party other than an employer whose actions may have caused or contributed to the construction accident. Examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective products, etc.

Who will pay for my lost wages and hospital bills?

All injured workers have the right to file a workers' compensation claim when they have suffered a job-related injury. A successful workers' compensation claim will result in money for all of your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. It will not, however, cover non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, or adequately cover serious permanent injuries or large loss of earnings claims etc. For that type of coverage, you may have to file a lawsuit. In general workers' compensation only covers a small amount of what you may be entitled to.

What should I do immediately following a construction accident?

It is important to get prompt medical attention. If you or anyone else sustained an injury, you must notify your manager right away. Inform the supervisor that you were injured, write down the names of everyone who witnessed the accident and seek medical attention right away. Before seeing a doctor, discuss with your manager if there is a specific hospital or doctor you must see in order to get covered by your employer's workers' compensation insurance.

What types of injuries can occur at a construction site?

Construction workers commonly suffer bone fractures in fall-related accidents and incidents involving heavy machinery. They could suffer laceration injuries when working with power tools and electrocution if they come in contact with live wires. It is possible for construction workers to also suffer amputation injuries, neck injuries, muscle strains, concussions, internal injuries and even spinal cord injuries.

How can I reduce my chances of getting hurt?

There are many ways in which construction companies and workers can prevent accidents from happening. If you feel unqualified for a particular task on the jobsite, it is important that you express your concerns and request training. It is simply not safe to use power tools or heavy machinery when you are inexperienced. If you are asked to work at an elevation, make sure you are provided adequate fall prevention gear. You should not be on a roof without a safety harness or net. You should not be on a scaffold that has not been properly secured or inspected. In general, supervisors can prevent accidents by actively monitoring the work conditions, while workers can reduce their chances of being hurt by using caution.

What makes construction work so dangerous?

There are many different types of hazards that put construction workers at risk of suffering serious or even fatal injuries. A worker may get hurt if a trench or scaffold collapses. Falling debris, large machinery, heavy loads or cranes can crush workers as well. Construction workers are often hurt in accidents involving any number of factors including, but not limited to, falls, cranes, power tools, live power lines, adverse weather conditions, inadequate supervision, improper safety gear and inexperienced contractors, etc.

How common are construction accidents?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the total number of fatal work-related injuries decreased to 4,383 in the year 2012 from 4,693 the previous year. Despite this overall decrease in fatal workplace accidents, the private construction sector saw a 5 percent increase to 775 from 738 in terms of worksite fatalities.


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