Working in the construction industry can be deeply rewarding and satisfying, but that job fulfillment also comes with a higher risk than many other professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 150,000 construction accidents in the United States each year.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation or sue a negligent party to recover damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. It’s recommended that you contact an experienced New York construction accident attorney for help.
In addition to contacting an attorney, there are several other steps to take to maximize your personal injury claim. This article outlines these steps to guide you as you navigate your claim.
7 Steps to Take Immediately After an NYC Construction Site Accident
The steps you take in the moments, days, and weeks after a construction site accident can make or break your case. An attorney can guide you in this process to ensure that you do everything possible to maximize your claim without making critical mistakes that could reduce your amount of compensation or jeopardize your case.
Each of the steps below should be taken as soon as possible after you are injured.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Your health is your number one priority, regardless of any other circumstances. If your injury at the scene is severe, you (or someone at the scene) may need to call 911 to be transported to the hospital. If you do not require an ambulance, be sure to visit a medical doctor a physical examination immediately.
In addition to protecting your health and well-being, seeking medical attention is vital to protect your claim. If an insurance company tries to argue that you were not injured or the injury occurred at another time or place, evidence that you sought medical care consistent with your injury claim can be invaluable evidence.
Even if you think you might not have been seriously injured, it’s recommended to visit a doctor after any slip and fall incident, being struck, electrocution, or a fall from heights. It’s possible that your injuries may manifest themselves later, and you need evidence that you sought medical attention at the time of the incident.
2. Report the Incident to Your Employer
Another crucial step in a New York construction accident is to report the incident to your employer. There are several reasons why someone might be reluctant to do this, but it is essential that you share the incident with a foreman, supervisor, or other authority figure.
Often, there are concerns about reporting an incident due to their immigration status. Each state has different laws that protect workers, regardless of immigration status, and a New York attorney can discuss these laws with you during a consultation.
In some situations, your employer may be reluctant to take your report seriously due to fear of facing OSHA penalties or inflated insurance premiums. However, you must put your health and financial well-being above any concerns your employer has.
3. Gather Evidence at the Scene
The immediate moments after an accident are the best time to collect evidence. If you are able, take photos and videos of the site, focusing on the equipment, structure, or hazard that caused your injury. If you are unable to perform this task yourself, you can ask a coworker or witness to do this for you.
4. Collect Witness Statements
Similar to collecting forensic evidence at the scene, gathering witness statements can also be instrumental in your personal injury claim. Coworkers, supervisors, foremen, and even a passerby could have observed the incident and be able to share valuable information about what happened.
Witnesses may also be interviewed later by your employer, insurance companies, and attorneys. Therefore, you should also be sure to get their full names, phone numbers, and email addresses so that each person can be contacted for statements during settlement talks or in a lawsuit.
5. Document Your Injuries
From the moment of the incident, you should be documenting as many details of your injury as possible. This means photographing your injuries and healing journey, journaling your pain levels and how your life has been affected, and keeping detailed medical records provided by your doctor.
A couple of tips to make this documentation effective include:
- Write down the date and time of each of your injuries
- Be consistent by making daily entries
- Document your mental health as well as your physical health
- Make notes of how your injuries have affected things like the time it takes for you to do things and things you can no longer do while you are healing
- Keep track of any expenses you have incurred, including medical bills, transportation, administrative costs, etc.
6. File a Workers’ Compensation Claim (When Applicable)
Because most businesses in New York (with some exceptions) are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, you will need to ensure that your employer initiates a workers’ comp claim on your behalf. However, you must notify your employer within 30 days of the injury, or you could forfeit your rights to receive benefits.
Assuming your injury is covered by workers’ compensation, you will generally be unable to sue your employer. There are, of course, exceptions, including the following:
- Your employer intentionally caused your injury
- Another party is fully or partially responsible for your injury
- Your employer violated workers’ compensation laws
- Your employer retaliated or discriminated against you
Further, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can file a claim against the employer or another party who is at fault. Other third parties who could be sued include equipment manufacturers, building materials suppliers, property owners, architects, site engineers, drivers, or other employees, to name a few.
Your attorney can help you identify who else could be at fault for your injuries, while assisting you with any complications that could potentially arise during the settlement of your workers’ compensation claim.
7. Contact a New York Construction Accident Lawyer
It’s recommended to contact a construction accident lawyer in New York with experience in construction accidents to ensure that your rights are protected and you can collect the compensation that is warranted for your case.
Navigating the legal landscape after a construction accident is complex, and it’s often the last thing you want to be dealing with as you recover from your injuries. Insurance companies are known to pay as little as possible to settle a claim and look for any viable excuse to avoid paying. Your attorney will gather the evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and file a lawsuit if necessary.
In the meantime, you can focus on your recovery, knowing that your case is in good hands
Contact an Experienced New York Construction Accident Attorney
If you are injured in a construction accident, New York has a statute of limitations that requires you to file a lawsuit within three years of the incident (in most cases). There could be variations depending on the specific claim that is being filed.
For example, a wrongful death claim in New York has a statute of limitations of two years. This means your case could be dismissed if you wait too long to take action.
At Dervishi Law Group, P.C., we are advocates for construction workers’ rights. Our team of attorneys has a long and successful track record of achieving seven-figure settlements and verdicts in construction accident cases. To find out how much your case could be worth, contact us at (718) 484-4757 for a free consultation.