Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Work-related injuries occur every day in New York, and workers are forced to spend days in hospital beds; sometimes they are permanently disabled, and other times their lives are lost. Workers must find a way to protect their families in the face of such danger. Construction companies must also try to protect themselves. Workers’ compensation insurance meets both of these requirements.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation offers payments to employees in the event of specific work-related diseases, injuries, or fatalities. It is frequently referred to as the “grand bargain” between workers and employers. Employees typically are not allowed to bring legal claims against employers in certain situations in return for this insurance.
Workers’ compensation history
Workers’ compensation, or “workers’ comp,” as it is more commonly known, was established to make medical care more accessible to those who sustain workplace injuries.
Workers’ compensation insurance has been developed to fulfill the interests of both employers and employees since the first law controlling it was passed in 1911. Injured workers no longer had to turn to the legal system to seek reimbursement for costs associated with their injuries. This came as a result of implementing a workers’ compensation law. Employers could more precisely budget their expenses for compensating employees for work-related accidents thanks to workers’ comp insurance.
Construction Workers’ Compensation Today
Workers’ compensation benefits have grown in number and scope since 1911. Though specific payments vary by state, they may also cover family members’ death benefits and job displacement training costs. These benefits cover both short- and long-term medical expenses for accidents that occur while a construction worker is performing job-related duties.
Accidental injury and sickness in construction can result from various accidents, such as ladder falls and chemical exposure. In these circumstances, most states demand that workers receive benefits through workers’ compensation, which construction businesses pay for out of pocket or through self-insurance.
Employers buy workers’ compensation insurance at different rates depending on things like:
- The kinds of jobs that the company carries out
- The location of the construction site
- The number of personnel employed by the company
- The total amount of prior construction workers’ compensation claims
Navigating workers’ compensation in the construction industry can be extremely difficult. The physiological strain of the profession is also a significant risk, as job sites, teams, and employers are constantly changing.
Common Accidents in the Construction Industry
Workers’ compensation coverage protects construction workers who sustain serious workplace injuries by providing financial assistance to cover lost wages and medical bills. The following are the most common construction site injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation:
Every year falls among construction workers result in numerous injuries and fatalities. Falls account for 58% of fatal construction worker injuries. Falls can occur from a variety of sources, including shaky ladders and unstable scaffolding.
Debris Fall Injuries
Construction sites frequently ascend several levels above ground. Equipment, construction supplies, and garbage frequently fall from higher levels and strike workers below. When a falling object strikes a construction worker, a hard hat is insufficient to protect the worker’s head and brain.
Electricians are not the only ones who are at risk of electrocution. Open power cables and live electrical wires are frequently found on construction sites for charging tools and integrating them into the project. Working near these power outlets with faulty equipment puts you at risk of electrocution or electric shock.
When operated incorrectly, power tools and heavy machinery can be deadly. Unfortunately, they are also challenging to manage on a construction site. Faulty tools or equipment can also raise the possibility of accidents, including scaffold falls, crane collapses, and nail gun puncture wounds.
Why Are Accidents So Prevalent in Construction Sites?
90% of construction accidents, according to OSHA statistics, were the result of training, falling objects, stairway, scaffolding, and ladder safety breaches. The five most typical construction accidents are those that involve these violations.
There are three leading causes of the current number of construction accidents:
- A shortage of skilled laborers exists. As a result, those employed are overworked or have equally skilled or trained coworkers.
- The issue of construction site jumping is another. Only a little time is allotted for workers to be on a job site. They are unfamiliar with the job’s surroundings, tools, and machinery, resulting in injuries.
- Due to the intense pressure to finish tasks as soon as possible, even though cutting corners results in injury or even death, schedules are exceedingly rigorous.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Why is It Important?
Workers in the construction industry use hazardous, large machinery. Additionally, they frequently perform their duties in acclimatized weather and high elevations. The NSC highlighted that since 2012, the construction sector has had the highest significant annual number of workplace fatalities among U.S. industries, placing the sector among the most hazardous in 2020.
According to the BLS, injuries, and fatalities resulting from work in the construction industry exceeded 150,000 in 2020.
The consequences of these incidents for construction workers and businesses that do not have workers’ compensation could be physically, emotionally, and financially disastrous. Businesses in 49 states are required to provide workers’ compensation.
Worker’s compensation benefits for construction employers
Employers in the construction industry should feel secure knowing that, in the event of an accident, illness, or fatality on the construction site, they probably won’t be subject to legal action. It is just as crucial as business insurance.
Even though employees typically waive their right to sue their employer in these situations, businesses may be held liable for negligence on rare occasions. Construction companies can purchase workers’ compensation insurance of various levels to help cover these cases’ costs.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Workers
Employees can rest assured that they and their families are protected by insurance. The benefits pay all or some of the costs associated with medical, disability, death, and burial expenses resulting from workplace accidents.
In the event of an illness or injury on the job, employees can seek reimbursement for medical costs through workers’ compensation. They can also seek compensation for lost income during their time off. Death benefits help replace some of the income a family would have lost if a member of the household died.
What Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover?
Workers’ compensation benefits frequently fall short of fully compensating for more severe work injuries due to accidents. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not include pain and suffering damages, and injured claimants cannot sue an employer covered by workers’ compensation.
However, claimants may be eligible for supplemental compensation and pharmaceutical and medical problem payments. They can also get other state-sponsored benefits, depending on the specifics of the accident.
Complete medical care coverage.
All essential medical expenses must be fully covered, regardless of how long the injury lasts. The treating physician must have the Workers’ Compensation Board’s approval to be compensated.
Before they can start working again, claimants who are wholly or partially incapacitated may receive as much as two-thirds of the weekly average pay. Employees may be compensated for the disparity in their earning potential if they can return to limited work.
Partial replacement of income.
As they are recuperating from their injuries, employees are paid a percentage of their weekly average salary.
The surviving spouse and children of an employee who passes away due to a compensable accident may be entitled to weekly compensation equal to two-thirds of the worker’s median weekly wage.
On the other hand, if the accident was caused by a negligent third party other than the construction company, you could sue them. Third parties who may be present on construction sites include general contractors, independent contractors, construction contractors, and manufacturers of faulty equipment. Because they can be held legally responsible for fall injuries under the New York Labor Code, landowners are frequently named as defendants in accidents involving ladders, rooftops, scaffolds, and injuries from cranes and hoists.
Besides workers’ comp benefits, a range of damages is allowed in a third-party workers’ compensation case, such as:
Unpaid Medical Bills
Employees who sustain injuries may be eligible for compensation for future medical expenses. Emergency room care, physical therapy, surgery, medical exams, prescribed medications, counseling, and mental health treatments might all be part of it.
Pain and Suffering
Employees frequently experience mental discomfort, the loss of freedom, and a decreased quality of life alongside the physiological suffering and trauma of dealing with an injury. Victims might obtain pain and suffering claims in a third-party case to compensate for their injuries’ full extent.
For many people who require disability payments, these benefits are frequently their only source of income. If your injury has left you permanently disabled, it is critical that you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your losses, including the cost of home modifications or long-term nursing care.
What to Do in the Event of a Construction Accident
Take Urgent Medical Action
Getting medical help as soon as possible could save your life and prevent further harm. It is critical to remember that many construction site accidents appear minor at first but are actually serious. After deciding whether an emergency or personal transportation is the best option, get yourself to a medical practitioner as soon as possible.
Let Your Employer Know
As soon as you have received medical attention, notify your employer in writing, either by hand, print, or email, of the injury. This will strengthen your case and expedite the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. You should always keep a copy of the report in your files because you will need it during the claims procedure.
Collecting Important Data
This stage is required for your workers’ compensation claim to be successful because it will serve as supporting evidence. You must collect all medical records, eyewitness accounts, accident site photographs, and employer communications. This will be an ongoing procedure, especially if you require additional medical attention or if the discussion with your employer is ongoing.
Begin the insurance claims procedure.
Your employer needs to have given you a list of recognized in-network medical specialists covered by their insurance. This is a consequence of ‘Let Your Employer Know’ if you require further therapy. Your employer is obligated to provide you with a documented justification for their refusal if they decline to process your claim or supply you with this information.
Speak with a Competent Attorney
You have enough to worry about after a workplace accident without having to worry about finding money to support yourself while you recover. A skilled attorney can assist you in navigating the complexities of a workers’ compensation policy. They will have the necessary knowledge to handle everything on your behalf, allowing you to focus solely on recovery.
Why You Should Get a Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation in New York
A lawyer could give you thorough legal assistance if you were injured at a construction site while working. They will:
- Determine whether to initiate a third-party liability claim, a workers’ compensation claim, or both.
- If the bills are not being paid, if there is a disagreement regarding medical coverage, or if the insurance attempts to get you back to work too soon, they will speak with the workers’ compensation insurer.
- Assemble evidence to support your compensation claim.
- Continue to pursue your construction accident claim.
- Appeal a refusal of a workers’ compensation claim.
- In the event of a disagreement on benefits, they will negotiate a resolution.
- Sue a liable third party in court or negotiate a settlement with that party.
Looking for a Lawyer for Your Workers’ Compensation Case?
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a serious construction accident in the Bronx, NYC, Queens, Kings County, or Westchester County, you need an experienced Bronx personal injury lawyer.
You will need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, such as Dervishi Law Group, P.C., to obtain the full compensation you are entitled to. We will not be satisfied unless you are. Call us at 212-235-1447 at any time of day or night.