New York City Construction Accident Attorney
Construction Site Accidents in Brooklyn & Beyond
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. Each year, hundreds of construction workers in New York are injured due to falls, crane collapses, electrocutions, poorly maintained worksites, and faulty machinery. Construction accidents can result in long-lasting disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and, at worst, death. Fortunately, there may be multiple sources of financial relief available to injured workers or their families.
If you were injured or if your loved one died due to a construction accident, contact Rubenstein & Rynecki. Our New York City construction accident attorneys have been fighting for the rights of injured workers throughout NYC’s five boroughs since 1972. Based in Brooklyn, our firm provides compassionate, personalized legal representation and open accessibility to our clients. We understand the challenges these types of cases present—and we know how to fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
According to the Department of Labor & Industries, most work-related construction injuries result when a worker:
- Is in an accident that results in pinching, squeezing, or crushing a body part in machinery or between objects
- Falls from a significant height, such as from a roof, scaffold, or ladder
- Slips, trips, or falls on a flat surface, often as the result of poor maintenance
- Is struck by or hits a body part against something, such as a flying object, or suffers noise damage to the ear drum
- Is a victim of a motor vehicle accident, including an accident involving heavy motorized equipment
- Suffers musculoskeletal injuries of the upper body, typically affecting the neck, back and arms, which include repetitive motion injuries, overexertion, and other health problems.
When injuries are most serious, you can rely on our experienced New York City construction accident attorneys to pursue full compensation on your behalf. We have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, and we are ready to fight for you.
Who Is Responsible When Construction Workers Are Injured on the Job?
Often, injured construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation allows a construction worker to recover medical expenses and partial lost wages (up to certain limits) for job-related injuries. However, workers’ compensation, which is the sole legal relief available from an employer, does not allow recovery for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. It also does not provide compensation for the full cost of lost wages/income.
Where workers’ compensation is not adequate to fully compensate an injured worker for their injuries, the worker may consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party. In such a suit, a worker may be entitled to recover unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other non-economic damages.
There are often numerous parties involved on job sites, many of whom may potentially be held responsible for a worker’s injuries after a construction accident. They include:
- General Contractors and Subcontractors: Those in charge of construction projects or components of projects may be held liable if they create or fail to remedy a condition that caused safety hazards, or if they do not take adequate safety measures.
- Construction Site Owners: A landowner has a nondelegable duty to keep the premises safe for people who may reasonably be expected to be present, including construction personnel.
- Machine and Equipment Manufacturers: If a worker is injured by machinery or other equipment due to a defect in design or workmanship, liability may fall on the company that manufactured or distributed the product in question.
- Architects and Engineers: If a design or construction plan fails to meet safety standards, the architect or engineer that drafted it may be held liable for injuries that arise as a result.
While most lawsuits against third parties require an injured worker to prove negligence, there are exceptions. New York has tough labor laws in place to protect construction workers from jobsite accidents. Under Labor Law § 240(1), also known as the “scaffold law,” construction workers must be provided with proper safety equipment designed to prevent falls and height-related injuries. Labor Law § 241 sets forth safety requirements for especially hazardous construction activities, such as demolition and excavation.
Contractors, site owners, and others involved in a construction project can be held strictly liable for a worker’s injuries if they violate these laws. This means that negligence does not need to be proven for the injured worker to recover monetary compensation.
What New York Labor Laws Are Relevant to Construction Accidents?
In addition to Labor Law § 240(1), or the “scaffold law,” the state of New York has several labor laws that apply to construction accidents and other jobsite injuries. In fact, New York has some of the strongest legal protections in the country for construction workers.
- N.Y. Labor Law Section 200: This statute imposes a general duty on employers to provide “reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed” at a worksite. The law allows inspectors to shut down work on a construction site due to perceived violations.
- N.Y. Labor Law Section 240: New York’s famous "scaffold law" provides special protections for workers who labor at heights that expose them to risk of serious injury or death via a bad fall. If the contractor or site owner fails to provide adequate safety equipment, including safely constructed scaffolding, the responsible parties can be held strictly liable for accidents related to that failure.
- N.Y. Labor Law Section 241(6): This statute sets out safety provisions related to demolition, excavation, and construction and is meant to work in conjunction with Rule 23 of the New York Industrial Code. When a worksite violates Rule 23 and a worker suffers injury as a result, the worker can demand compensation from the contractor or owner.
At Rubenstein & Rynecki, our attorneys are highly knowledgeable about New York construction accident law, and we can pursue every avenue for compensation on your behalf.
How Long Do You Have to File a Construction Accident Lawsuit?
In New York, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the construction accident. When a government entity is a defendant in a personal injury case, the victim must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the injury-causing event and has an additional year from that date to file a lawsuit. In cases of fatal accidents, the victim’s eligible relatives have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
In regard to workers’ compensation claims, eligible employees have two years from the date of the injury or the date on which the injury/illness was discovered or reasonably could have been discovered to file a claim. However, injured workers who wish to pursue workers’ compensation benefits must report the injury to their employer within 30 days. Failure to do so could result in the injured workers losing their right to receive benefits.
Why Legal Representation Matters
New York workers’ compensation and labor laws are complex. These laws govern recoveries of damages for construction accidents and injuries, as well as issues of liability. While workers’ compensation coverage allows victims to collect benefits even if their own negligence causes an accident, filing a claim can be extremely difficult.
Some complications associated with filing a workers’ compensation claim after a construction accident in New York City include:
- Insurance companies can deny or shortchange claims by questioning the injury’s work-related nature or its extent
- Employers may attempt to require a return to work before being fully restored to health
- Contractors may be exempt from workers compensation coverage
By putting an experienced attorney on your side, you improve your chances of a fair recovery. Our construction accident lawyers can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system and/or file a third-party work injury claim after a serious on-the-job accident or work-related injury. We understand the complexities of the system and know how to make it work for you.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping injured workers receive fair treatment for their claims. When workers suffer injuries due to third-party negligence—such as the manufacture or provision of faulty equipment—we can pursue the additional claims necessary to helping ensure victims recover all damages they deserve.
Request a Free Consultation with Our Team Today
If you or someone you love was injured in a construction accident, turn to the team at Rubenstein & Rynecki for aggressive and compassionate legal representation. We offer accessible, attentive legal services centered on the unique needs of our clients. When you choose our firm, you choose a team that will fight for you.
We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our team can assist you in English, Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Greek, or Creole and provides free, no-obligation consultations to all new and prospective clients.