Worksite Injury Claims & Legal Advice
Your Source for Experienced Construction Site Injury Lawyers
At LaMarche Safranko Law, our years of experience handling worksite injury claims directly translate to you obtaining the maximum possible recovery for your construction site injury.
Did you fall from a height? Was something dropped on you? Was the equipment you were provided defective? Were safety devices absent from the worksite?
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, at the job site in either a commercial building or residential building, you should know that worker’s compensation claims are not your only option. If your injuries are serious they can result in economic loss, and long term pain and suffering. In addition to worker’s compensation, you may be entitled to pursue a claim against other contractors who may have caused your injury, as well as the owner of the work site or building.
Working in the construction industry is dangerous. If you are injured at a job site, you were likely injured because of a fall, being struck by a falling object or by suffering an electrical shock. Whatever the cause of your injury, as a construction worker, you have the right to expect reasonable protections to enable you to do your job safely each day. Labor Laws in New York protect workers on construction sites against unsafe conditions. There are special laws in place designed to protect workers who are involved with building and construction. For work site and construction site accidents, the applicable laws are:
- NYS Labor Law § 240(1) – also known as the “Scaffold Law,” provides protections to injured workers when a fall from a height or an elevation-related injury is involved. For example, falling off a ladder or scaffold, or being injured by a piece of falling debris not properly secured.
- NYS Labor Law § 241(6) – provides that those who are directing and controlling the work site take steps under the law and provide certain equipment to keep the job site safe. For example, work areas must be free of debris and sharp objects and must be properly illuminated.
- NYS Labor Law § 200 – Requires owners and contractors to take reasonable steps to protect workers and provide safe workplaces.
These statutes are designed to place the responsibility for a worker’s safety squarely on the owners and contractors rather than on the workers.
Frequently Asked Questions about Construction Site Accidents
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
If you are injured on a worksite you have options. Your first option is to file a worker’s compensation claim so your medical expenses and a portion of your lost earnings can be paid if you are unable to work. Another option is to bring a lawsuit against the owner or contractor or subcontractor who caused or contributed to your injuries.
In order to bring a successful lawsuit, you must demonstrate you were not provided the required protection at a construction site, and that as a result, you suffered an injury. If you demonstrate both of these things, and if the injury you sustain is elevation related (fall from a height or struck by something that fell) the owner and/or contractor are fully responsible for your injuries and damages.
No. Because of the existence of the workers compensation law in New York State, an employee can not bring a claim against his employer or any other employee even if the employer or employee caused your injuries. However, if you are injured at a construction site and bring a claim against an owner or contractor or subcontractor who caused your injuries, they could bring a claim against your employer for the role your employer played in contributing to your injuries if you sustain a “grave injury”. A grave injury is defined as: death; permanent and total loss of use or amputation of an arm, leg, hand, or foot; loss of multiple fingers; loss of multiple toes; paraplegia or quadriplegia; total and permanent blindness; total and permanent deafness; loss of nose; loss of ear; permanent and severe facial disfigurement; loss of an index finger; or an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in permanent total disability.
Yes. You may be able to pursue both claims. If you have been injured because of the negligence of the owner of the building, a contractor or subcontractor at the construction site, you may be entitled to pursue a legal action in addition to your worker’s compensation claim.
If you are injured on a job site, you can bring a claim against any other party that caused or contributed to your injury including the owner of the building, or other contractors or subcontractors.
Following an accident on a construction site, a personal injury attorney will meet with you to determine what occurred and how this incident happened. The attorney will conduct an investigation, determine who caused or contributed to your injuries, and if appropriate bring a claim against any negligent parties. Once a claim is filed, lawyers for all parties will exchange discovery. Upon completing discovery, depositions of all parties will be conducted. Once depositions are completed, and all other discovery is complete, a trial date will be scheduled if the matter cannot be resolved by way of a settlement.
- What does discovery mean?
If your personal injury lawyer initiates a lawsuit on your behalf, before a trial, a “discovery” period occurs during which lawyers from each side exchange documentary evidence regarding the case. This includes medical records, incident/accident reports, photographs, witness information and insurance information. A document known as a “Bill of Particulars” provides details about how the case happened and describes the extent of your harm and injuries.
- What are depositions?
After discovery is exchanged, all parties to the case and any relevant witnesses, may be required to give testimony under oath. Depositions are usually done at one of the lawyers’ offices, before a stenographer who makes a record of everything that is said and provides a written transcript in Question and Answer form. Sometimes these depositions are recorded by video as well. There is no judge at a deposition and all lawyers are present with their clients. Your lawyer will meet with you before your testimony so you can feel well prepared before testifying. While it may seem easy to simply answer questions, it’s important to take preparation with your attorney seriously as there may be many types of questions lawyers are trained to ask that you are not used to answering.
No. In fact most cases do not go to trial and can be settled at some stage of the case prior to trial. In some instances, cases can even be settled prior to bringing a formal lawsuit.
Yes. These are the common names for the labor law statute that protects workers who are performing certain types of construction work, such as demolition, repair work or painting, and who fall from an elevated height, such as a scaffold or a ladder.
If I am on a worksite, who is responsible for providing necessary safety equipment so I am not injured?
If you are involved in the erection, demolition, or repairing of a building or structure you must be provided safety equipment by all contractors and owners of the building. This protective safety equipment includes scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes or any other devices to provide proper protection for the work you are performing. The failure of the owner or contractors to provide this, or other reasonably required safety equipment depending on the job, makes them strictly liable for your injuries.
If I pursue a claim against a building owner or a contractor do I have to pay back my workers compensation benefits?
In New York if a worker is injured on the job, he/she has a right to workers compensation benefits. If, in addition to workers compensation benefits, a personal injury lawyer pursues a successful claim on behalf of the injured worker, the workers’ compensation carrier has a lien against the “third party recovery”. The repayment of this lien will come directly from the “third party recovery” and the injured worker will not have to pay anything back out of his/her own pocket. However, any money provided and paid for by workers compensation will ultimately reduce the amount of money that the injured party will receive.
- What is a “third-party recovery”?
In the context of a worksite injury in New York, a “third-party recovery” results when a claim or lawsuit is successfully pursued against another party that is not your employer. In other words, if a personal injury lawyer sues the owner or contractor or subcontractor who caused your injuries on a worksite, the money you receive is called a “third party recovery”. If there is a worker’s compensation lien, your lawyer will repay that lien from the “third party recovery”.
Under the Labor Law, owners of one- and two-family dwellings who do not direct or control the work on the dwelling are not liable if you are injured. However, if you are injured working on such a dwelling, it is still important to contact an attorney in case there are extenuating factors in your case which may affect liability determinations.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
- If injured, when ready, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if a claim can be pursued on your behalf
- Meet with a lawyer to discuss the incident
- Bring medical records or other relevant documents including an accident report if available
- Your lawyer will help you understand the process of a personal injury case
- Follow the doctors’ advice
- Go to all medical appointments
- Report all symptoms to doctors
- Take photos of injuries
- Tell lawyer anytime a new doctor is seen
- Determine how and why the injury occurred
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain any investigative reports
- Obtain scene, vehicle and product photos, as applicable
- Obtain medical records and bills
- Consider all possible claims and theories of liability against any potential defendant
- Consult with experts
- Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
- Obtain a settlement or pursue a lawsuit
- File a summons and complaint prior to the statute of limitations
- Serve the legal documents on the defendants
- Prepare and exchange evidence with the other lawyers in the case
- Conduct depositions of all relevant parties (also called EBTs)
- Defense medical examination conducted
- File motions (written applications) to the court if necessary
- Participate in arbitration or mediation if appropriate
- Determine liens if any
- Settle the case or proceed to trial
- You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
- The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
Recent Verdicts & Settlements
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.
The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.
Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.
Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.
Nursing Home Negligence
An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.
Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body. He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.
Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.
* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.
LaMarche Safranko Law Testimonials
“Throughout the attorney client relationship regarding my personal injury lawsuit, George and his staff continually exhibited tremendous amounts of legal knowledge, skill, and a vast amount of expert resources that ultimately resulted in a final judgment in my favor. George was there every step of the way to explain where we stood and what to expect next and there was never a need to question his professional judgment…
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