Construction sites are notoriously dangerous. Even when foremen ensure their workers are following all safety standards and exercising caution at every stage of a project, the risk of serious injury and death is ever present.


The statistics regarding work accidents highlight just how dangerous construction can be. In 2016, for example, more than 20 percent of all fatal accidents that occurred in the private industry were in construction.


Those who are involved in construction site accidents and are fortunate enough to survive are likely to sustain debilitating injuries. Getting hurt on a job site can be utterly devastating, and if the recovery process is lengthy, it will undoubtedly impact both the victim and his or her loved ones emotionally and financially.


If you or a member of your family was injured while working on a construction site in New York, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. To determine if you have grounds for a claim, contact Charnas Law Firm.


Led by attorney Scott Charnas, who has recovered nearly $50 million in successful verdicts and settlements, our legal team is passionate about helping the injured and their families recover the funds they need to maintain their financial security. We can handle all the logistics of your case and make sure the insurance company treats you fairly. Call 212-980-6800 to schedule a free consultation with a construction accident lawyer in New York.


Workers’ Comp Claims vs. Third-Party Claims After Construction Accidents


If you were injured on the job or lost someone in your family in a work-related accident, you may have grounds for both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim. In the state of New York, workers’ compensation law prohibits claims against employers for payments that exceed their workers’ compensation insurance coverage; however, you may be able to secure additional funds by filing a third-party claim.


If, for example, you were injured because a contractor violated safety codes, you might have grounds for a claim against that individual. Strict liability applies to cases involving safety code violations, which means you would not have to prove the defendant was negligent to prevail.


The legal team at Charnas Law Firm can perform an investigation to determine if any safety code violations occurred. We can then develop a strategy to pursue the maximum compensation for your healthcare expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.


We Handle Cases Involving Catastrophic Injuries


Some of the most common reasons why workers suffer an injury or die in the construction industry include:


  • Falling;
  • Getting struck by an object;
  • Getting electrocuted;
  • Getting caught in or compressed by equipment; and
  • Getting stuck under a collapsing structure.


It probably comes as no surprise that any one of these scenarios can cause catastrophic injuries. Examples include:


  • Skull fractures;
  • Spinal fractures;
  • Spinal cord injuries; and
  • Traumatic brain injuries.


At Charnas Law Firm, we understand the impact that catastrophic injuries can have on workers and their families. Such injuries often cause permanent damage, and in many cases, the victims are unable to return to work at all. Depending on the circumstances, the lost wages and benefits, while undoubtedly significant, may be a mere fraction of the total damages resulting from the work injuries.


If a worker who fell sustained a brain injury, for example, and suffered severe cognitive impairment, his or her family may have to find a way to provide ongoing treatment and 24-hour care for the rest of the victim’s life. This can easily amount to millions of dollars.


Incurring such exorbitant costs can threaten virtually any family’s financial security. Depending on the circumstances, though, the worker who suffered the catastrophic injury may be entitled to compensation for ongoing medical care.


Our legal team knows just how much is at stake for individuals facing permanently disabling injuries. We also know how to prove damages in such cases. Our attorneys work closely with a network of medical, financial, and vocational experts whose testimony may serve to strengthen your case.


We have many decades of experience negotiating with insurance companies. If they are uncooperative and refuse to accept a fair settlement offer, we are not afraid to take the case to trial and pursue a jury verdict.

We Are Well Versed in New York Labor Laws


Building a successful construction accident claim requires a comprehensive understanding of New York labor laws. After all, proving liability often comes down to demonstrating how one or more statutes were violated.


For example, New York Labor Law Section 240, or the “Scaffolding Law,” imposes strict safety requirements for constructing scaffolding. If the contractor fails to meet these requirements, a construction worker injured as a result may have the right to file a third-party claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.


At Charnas Law Firm, we are well versed in the various laws that could play a role in the outcome of a construction accident case. You can count on our attorneys to provide knowledgeable and strategic guidance through every stage of the proceedings.

We Will Make Sure the Insurance Company Treats You Fairly


Insurance adjusters have incentive to deny or at least undervalue every claim that they review. Tactics they might use to do so include:


  • Offering a Premature Settlement: It takes little more than a single missed paycheck to threaten the average family’s financial security. As a result, accident victims are motivated to settle as quickly as possible. Insurance adjusters know this. They also know the claimant’s damages are going to increase with every passing day. Therefore, they may offer a low settlement early in the proceedings, knowing full well that if the injured party accepts it, the insurer will not be financially liable for any costs the claimant incurs beyond the settlement.


  • Prolonging the Proceedings: The insurance adjuster may attempt to prolong the proceedings until the accident victim is so desperate that he or she will accept virtually any settlement amount.


  • Misrepresenting Recorded Statements: It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to take recorded statements out of context in order to dispute liability or damages.


  • Contesting the Details of the Case: If you sustain a catastrophic injury on a work site, you may end up pursuing a fairly large settlement. Unfortunately, the more compensation you seek, the more likely the insurer is to contest the severity of your accident injuries or the extent of your damages. In other words, the more that’s at stake for the insurance company, the more important it will be to prepare a watertight case with strong evidence of liability and damages.


  • Disputing Liability: The insurance adjuster may attempt to shift fault to another party—or to the claimant. This is why it is critical to start gathering evidence of liability before even leaving the scene of the accident. It is also important that you hire a personal injury attorney who is willing to perform a thorough investigation. The longer you wait to consult a lawyer, the more likely it will be that essential evidence of liability will become unavailable.


  • Misleading Claimants: In most construction accident cases, the final payout will not exceed the policyholder’s coverage limits. Insurance adjusters may inform claimants of this fact, but they may not share just how large the liable party’s policy is. If an accident victim is led to believe only a fraction of the damages will be covered regardless of the strength of the claim, he or she may be inclined to accept an unfair settlement because some compensation will seem better than none at all.


  • Placing Victims & Their Families Under Surveillance: You should be wary of doing anything that might give the insurance company a reason to devalue or deny your claim. You should also limit the photos, statuses, and videos that you post on social media as long as your claim is pending.


The tactics mentioned above, although common, are not the only strategies an insurance adjuster might use to reduce your payout. In fact, there are countless ways an insurance company could attempt to minimize its liability.


If you let Charnas Law Firm handle all correspondence with the insurer, though, you will not have to worry about anyone taking advantage of you. We have many years of experience in high-stakes negotiations with insurance companies, and we can help you stay one step ahead of the claims adjuster.


Because of the reputation we have established over the years, many insurance adjusters respect our clients—and the legitimacy of their claims—from day one. If a particular insurer appears to be acting in bad faith, we are not afraid to take the case to court.


In addition to preparing your claim for trial, we may also be able to help you file an insurance bad faith claim against the insurer if they employ unethical tactics. In such a scenario, a successful case might yield compensation for both economic and non-economic damages stemming from the provider’s misconduct.


Time Is of the Essence in Any New York Construction Accident Claim


There’s always a lot to do in the aftermath of a serious construction accident. While your health should be your top priority, it’s important to think about your claim early on because time is of the essence.


Your first call should be to a doctor, and your second should be to a construction accident lawyer at Charnas Law Firm. There are several reasons to reach out to our legal team as soon as possible if you want to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim.


First, much of the evidence may not be available indefinitely. If the incident was captured by nearby surveillance cameras, for example, there is no guarantee that the owner of the footage will preserve it for any time at all. Eyewitness testimony also becomes less reliable with the more time that passes.


Second, it’s fairly easy to jeopardize your case inadvertently when attempting to navigate the proceedings on your own. A single misstep during one of your first conversations with the insurance adjuster could be all it takes to threaten your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. By hiring an attorney to handle all correspondence from day one, you can avoid making critical errors in the early stages that might hurt your case down the road.


Third, you have a limited amount of time to bring the case to court. If the insurance adjuster refuses to cooperate, you typically have just three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, or two years for a wrongful death suit. This may seem like a considerable amount of time, but it can pass much faster than you realize, especially if you are recovering from catastrophic injuries and then find yourself tied up in contentious negotiations with the insurance adjuster.


These two- and three-year deadlines to not apply to every case. If you want to name a government entity in the claim, for example, you are required to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. If your claim is denied, you must file your lawsuit within one year and 90 days of the date when the incident occurred.

If you are unable to reach a settlement with the opposing party before the deadline has passed and you try to proceed to trial, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case. In other words, you will lose the chance to recover any compensation whatsoever for the damages you have incurred and will incur in the future due to your injury or loss.


Discuss Your Case with a Construction Accident Lawyer in New York


Attorney Scott Charnas is one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York. He has an AV-Preeminent rating from the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating service and has also been rated as a Super Lawyer.


Scott is licensed to practice in both New York and Massachusetts. He requires no money upfront and does not charge a retainer to take advantage of his legal services. Call 212-980-6800 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a construction accident lawyer in New York.


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