If you are employed in the construction industry you already know how dangerous a construction site can be for the workers who are working there. In fact, the construction industry is second only to the transportation industry in the number of fatal workplace accidents in the United States each year. If you have been injured in a Queens construction accident, or have lost a loved one as a result of one, you could be entitled to substantial benefits from the New York workers' compensation system.
Each year, thousands of workers are injured across the United States in construction site accidents. Although we referred to these as "accidents", the truth is that someone's negligence often plays a role in a construction worksite accident. If you are injured while in the scope of your employment, negligence is not important. If you are a covered employee, and you were injured while on the job, you should be entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault. The workers' compensation system is a no fault system, meaning that the law is not concerned with assigning responsibility for the accident. Instead, the law wants to compensate a worker who is unable to work because of his or her injuries.
In New York, however, a construction site injury could also qualify for third party liability in lieu of, or in addition to, workers' compensation benefits. Third party liability applies if someone other than your employer caused, or contributed to the accident that caused your injuries. Construction site accidents are particularly prone to situations where third-party liability applies because of the numerous different companies and individuals typically working at a site at the same time. It is not uncommon, for example, to have several sub-contractors handling different aspects of the construction project at the same time.
By way of illustration, imagine that you work for a company that does concrete block work. You are working at a new construction site when a crane operator, who does not work for your employer, drops a load of building materials. You are struck by a metal pipe as a result and receive injuries that prevent you from working. You could have a valid workers' compensation claim because you were on the job at the time of the accident. You could also have the basis for a third-party personal injury lawsuit against a number of potential defendants, including:
- The crane operator
- The company that employs the crane operator
- The crane manufacturer
- The company that rented the crane
- A service company that recently serviced the crane
- The general contractor
- The property owner
Both workers' compensation claims and third-party lawsuits are determined on a case by case basis based on the unique facts and circumstances of the accident. If you have been involved in a Queens construction accident you need to consult with the attorneys at SIMON & GILMAN, LLP, experienced New York construction site accident attorneys right away to determine and assess the legal options you may have as a victim.