Queens Construction Accident Lawyers
The construction industry is one of the largest job sectors in country's
economy. According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 5.5 million employed construction workers in the
United States based on the latest census. Although there is a large job
market in the construction field, it still remains one of the most dangerous
professions. According to another study conducted by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the construction industry is also one of the most dangerous. In
2013, a total of 4,585 workers from all sectors died on the job. Out of
those 4,585 people, a total of 828 construction workers died on-site.
In other terms, one in every five worker deaths resulted from a construction
accident. In the event of a serious construction accident, a lawsuit may
seem like a daunting task; however, it can be comforting to know that
our Queens construction accident lawyers are experts in this field and
will make every effort to relieve your financial burden.
If you were injured or a loved one has died in a construction accident,
please do not hesitate to call us at 212-406-1700 or contact us online
for your free consultation. Our Queens Construction accident attorneys
will review your claim and evaluate whether or not you may have a meritorious
personal injury lawsuit.
Significant New York Construction Labor Laws
It is pertinent to mention that New York has very strict labor laws that
allow a construction worker to sue the owner, general contractor, or their
agent if they violated any of these laws. The most common labor laws that
are cited are Labor Laws 240(1) and 241(6).
Labor Law 240(1) is commonly referred to as the “Scaffold Law” because it is
mainly targeted towards elevation-related injuries. 240(1) requires that
certain safeguards be taken for the “erection, demolition, repairing,
altering, painting, cleaning, or pointing of a building or structure.
If these safeguards are not properly enforced then the State holds the
owner/general contractor/agent under absolute or strict liability for
any injuries that occur as a result. Absolute or strict liability refer
to the fact that precedents make it very clear that as long as a violation
of the statute proximately results in an injury, the owner’s lack
of notice or knowledge of the incident is not a valid defense. In other
words, even if the owner or general contractor was not physically in control
of the situation or was unaware of the issue, it is legally irrelevant.
If the violation of 240(1) statute resulted in an injury of any employee,
the owner/general contractor/agent is liable for any damages. A violation
of 240(1) must be related to work that is affected by gravity. A falling
worker, an object falling on a worker, or a worker being stuck between
two objects are all cases that fall under the mandatory characteristics
of a “gravity-related injury”.
There used to be an exception to this criterion where a worker wouldn’t
be able to sue if they were injured from a minimal height. In a recent
years this exception has been ruled against. The new standard of whether
there should be a minimum elevation to constitute a violation was decided in
Runner v. New York Stock Exchange, Inc. The facts of the case show that the plaintiff suffered serious permanent
damage to both of his hands when he and his coworkers were given a task
to lower an 800-pound reel of wire down four stairs. The workers were
instructed to wrap a rope around the reel and act as counter-weights in
order to guide the reel horizontally down the few steps toward a metal
bar. The workers weren’t able to control the speed of the descent
of the reel due to its immense weight. Experts later testified that a
pulley or a hoist should have been utilized to move the reel safely down
the stairs. The court ruled that the elevation differential involved cannot
be viewed as minuscule, particularly given the weight of the object and
the amount of force it was capable of generating. As a result, construction
workers that were injured from any height can bring a 240(1) lawsuit against
the owner or general contractor.
Labor Law 241(6) places vicarious liability on the owner or general contractor when section
23 of the industrial code has been violated. Section 23 explains all the
necessary safety steps that must be taken in the event of demolition,
construction, or excavation of a building or structure. In essence the
labor law 241(6) places an undelegable duty upon the owner and general
contractor to create a safe working environment for their employees and
supply all the necessary safety equipment. An owner or general contractor
cannot use the excuse that they gave the responsibility of overseeing
all the safety requirements to someone else. It is strictly their duty
to ensure safety of their workers.
If you have recently been injured in a construction accident and the episode
fits one of these labor laws, you may have a valid lawsuit. Our Queens
construction accident attorneys have decades of experience handling labor
law-related lawsuits and would be happy to assist you with your claim.
Exemptions to Labor Laws 240 & 241 in Queens Construction Accidents
The only exemptions to both labor laws are that only employees can benefit
from the statutes protections. Volunteers or people that are not part
of the project, like passersby, cannot benefit from labor laws 240 and
241. In addition, owners of one or two family dwellings who hired construction
workers but do not direct or control work cannot be targeted by a lawsuit
under 240 or 241. Architects and engineers are also exempt under the same
pretenses. Nevertheless, it is still possible to file a general personal
injury claim if your injuries were inflicted due to the negligence of
Types of Queens Construction Site Injuries
As the aforementioned statistics show, the construction site can be a very
hazardous place. Severe injury is very common when a construction accident
occurs in Queens. In particular,
OSHA has documented the top four leading causes of worker deaths on construction
sites. They include falls, followed by or being struck by an object, electrocution,
and being caught between two objects. OSHA has classified these as “Construction’s
Fatal Four”. These four causes were responsible for 57.7% of all
the construction worker fatalities in 2013.
- Falls – 302 out of 828 construction workers died due to falling from
a high elevation.
- Struck by Object – 84 workers were killed by an object that fell
and struck them.
- Electrocutions – 71 workers died from being electrocuted on the job.
- Caught in Between – 21 construction workers in 2013 were impaled
and trapped between two objects that caused their unfortunate deaths.
Effectively protecting workers from these four causes would save the lives
of 478 people each year in the United States.
Recoverable Types of Compensation Following a Queens Construction Accident
When an injury or death occurs at the worksite, the injured worker or the
families of the deceased could recover compensation for their injuries
and financial loss. Our Queens Construction accident lawyers understand
that recovering compensation for a lost family member or severe extended
injuries would not solve all of your problems and distress. Nevertheless,
the compensation that you may receive will relieve some of your financial
burden that comes with a sudden death or major injury. The types of compensation
that can be recovered includes the following:
Medical Bills – A severe construction-related injury may result in the worker
needing to be hospitalized and receive long-term care. These bills will
start to accumulate and become a heavy burden on you and your family,
but our attorneys can help relieve that pressure.
Lost Wages – Due to major injuries, you may not be able to return to work for
an extended period of time, which would limit your flow of income. You
may recover the wages that you have lost from not being able to work due
to the injuries that you have incurred on the job.
Pain and Suffering – Some more severe cases, an injured construction worker may experience
long-lasting or permanent pain and suffering from their injuries. You
may sue for any constant pain and loss of enjoyment of life that may accompany
Wrongful Death – As was demonstrated earlier, it is very common for a construction
worker to die on the job. In this type of case, the decedent’s family
has the right to sue for all the aforementioned types of compensation
as well as funeral costs and the economic value of the los of a parent.
How Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool Can Help You?
If you or a loved one was injured or have died in a construction accident
and you decide to retain our legal services, we would begin by thoroughly
reviewing your claims. Our attorneys would work closely with you in order
to determine if you may have a valid lawsuit under a violation of the
Labor Laws or a general negligence claim. After determining that you may
have a meritorious lawsuit, we will then build your case through conducting
an extensive investigation and interviewing all the applicable witnesses.
Then we will employ the services of various experts to determine what
we believe is the maximum amount of compensation that is appropriate for
your individual situation. In addition, our Queens Construction accident
attorneys have over 50 years of experience and are always prepared to
go to trial if necessary. It is also pertinent to mention that our firm
works on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not be charged
for our services unless we recover compensation for your losses. Call
us to schedule your free consultation regarding your claim at
212-406-1700 or contact us online.