Frequently Asked Questions about Construction Accidents

Q: How do I take steps to assert my rights to a safe workplace?

A: If you feel that your workplace is unsafe, your first action should be to make your supervisor aware of the danger, then follow up in writing. If you are still unsuccessful in getting the safety hazard corrected, you can file a complaint at the nearest Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office.

Q: If I’m injured while working on a construction site, is it possible for me to recover more than just workers’ compensation benefits?

A: Workers’ compensation laws only affect your recovery from your employer, not other parties. If other parties, such as equipment manufacturers, property owners or third-party contractors, are responsible for your injuries, you may be able to recover from them in addition to collecting workers’ compensation benefits.

Q: Is the construction company liable if a person is injured by materials or other debris from a construction site while walking on a public sidewalk next to that site?

A: The injured person may be able to recover damages from the construction company. Contractors owe a duty to the public to warn and guard against known or reasonably foreseeable dangers from a construction site. Further, the warning must be effective, so merely posting a danger sign usually is not sufficient. The contractor also is responsible for providing adequate walkways around or through the site. In this case, materials from a construction site must be stored in such a way so as not to pose a danger to the public.

Q: I was injured while working on a large construction project. Can I sue the person who owns the property?

A: Depending on the amount of authority over the work that the property owner exercised, and the amount of control he or she had over the property itself when the injury occurred, the property owner may be liable for some or all of your injuries.

Q: Will workers’ compensation cover any injury that happens at work?

A: Workers’ compensation covers most injuries that happen at work or during a work-related activity, although there are some exceptions. By definition, workers’ compensation covers any accidental injuries that occur in the course of employment, regardless of whether the employee or the employer is at fault for the injury.

Q: Who is responsible for making sure that the construction site where I work is safe?

A: The property owner and general contractor (and in some cases sub-contractors) are responsible for ensuring the safety of workers at a construction site. The extent of each party’s responsibility will vary depending on your case.

Q: If I file a complaint against my employer to OSHA, can my employer take any action against me?

A: Your employer cannot retaliate or discriminate against you for filing a complaint with OSHA. This includes denying you a raise, decreasing your hours or pay, or transferring or firing you, among other actions. OSHA provides protection against these types of activities, known as “whistleblower” protection. To preserve your rights, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the retaliatory or discriminatory action.

Q: I was injured on the job and an investigation showed that my employer violated OSHA regulations. What will this do to support my case?

A: The answer will depend on whether the violation caused your injury and where your case is heard. Some courts have held that the violation of an OSHA regulation in which an injury resulted is negligence per se, meaning that the OSHA violation is enough to prove the employer’s negligence. Other jurisdictions, however, have found that an OSHA violation can be one factor in finding the employer negligent, but cannot be the only factor.

Q: Should I consult a personal injury attorney to discuss my construction injury claim?

A: Definitely. Your claim may involve complex issues concerning third-party liability, compliance with safety regulations, engineering and indemnity. A personal injury lawyer who is experienced in the area of construction accident liability can help you determine if you have a case, and if you do, how to pursue it.

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New York Lead Paint Detection

Facts on Lead Paint Poisoning

Helping You Understand Lead Poisoning Law in New York City

“Lead is still present in many of our neighborhoods, but we can limit exposure to children and adults by working together.” — EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The effects of lead poisoning can be insidious. In the 19th century, workers routinely suffered from and died from lead poisoning in a broad range of industries for decades before a causal connection was suspected and, later, proved. If you work or live in the presence of lead, it’s important that you understand the basics and facts of lead poisoning as well as your legal rights in the event of injuries or the loss of a child or other loved one.

At The Orlow Firm, we have provided lead poisoning facts and committed legal representation to New Yorkers since 1981. If you or your child has been poisoned by lead, chances are symptoms will be invisible and that serious harm, if it occurs, will manifest itself long after exposure begins. Symptoms and injuries can include:

  • Adults: headaches, abdominal pain, memory loss, kidney failure, pain and tingling in the extremities
  • Children: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, anemia, kidney failure, irritability, lethargy, learning disabilities and behavior problems

The primary method for detecting lead poisoning is a blood lead level (BLL) test, administered by a doctor. If you suspect you or your child has been poisoned by lead, or if you need help in accessing medical care, contact the lawyers of The Orlow Firm. We have handled lead poisoning cases and can help in all aspects of blood poisoning litigation, from initial testing to the pursuit of compensation through settlement negotiations and trial.

Contact the Orlow Firm

Contact The Orlow Firm for experienced representation and for additional information on lead poisoning. We offer free initial consultations and operate four offices across New York City for your convenience. We can go to you if you cannot come to us.

To contact a New York lead paint attorney, call (646) 647-3398.

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New York Lead Paint Laws

New York Lead Paint Regulation

Handling Injury Cases Resulting from Exposure to Toxic Substances Since 1981

Since 1995, New York City, aided by strict laws protecting residents from the dangers posed by lead paint and other lead sources, has greatly reduced the number of child suffering lead poisoning. Over a 10-year period, lead poisoning among children declined by 82 percent.

General liability laws protect injured individuals’ rights to pursue compensation following the diagnosis of lead poisoning injuries. Additionally, New York’s Local Law 1 provides numerous safeguards, such as:

  • Requiring landlords to inform tenants of lead hazards
  • Providing for the inspection of apartments occupied by children under 6 years old
  • Providing guidelines and requirements regarding the legal removal of identified lead

Despite New York City’s effective lead paint laws, large numbers of adults and children continue to suffer from lead poisoning each year. In a recent year, almost 3,500 children in New York City were identified with elevated blood lead levels (BLLs).

Because lead poisoning can lead to serious injuries and even death, parents in New York must remain vigilant both in protecting themselves and their children from lead poisoning and in pursuing their legal rights if lead poisoning occurs. The attorneys of The Orlow Firm can help in all legal matters relating to lead poisoning. We bring a nearly 30-year trial history to each lead poisoning case we handle, and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured clients.

Contact the Orlow Firm

Contact The Orlow Firm for experienced personal injury legal help and for information regarding lead paint laws. We offer free initial consultations and operate four offices across New York City for your convenience. We can go to you if you cannot come to us.

To contact a lawyer, call (646) 647-3398.

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Slip and Fall Accident in the Workplace: A Case Study

In 2014, one in five workplace accidents took place on a construction site (source). Despite dozens of codes, regulations and laws companies are required to follow; construction sites naturally expose workers to what the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) calls the “Fatal Four.” Electrocution, struck by object, stuck between objects and, with the highest number of incidents, falling, put each worker in danger regardless of their experience. That same year, OSHA also discovered its most violated standard is fall protection (source).

The Orlow Firm took action in a recent case involving a workplace fall due to company negligence. Sabatello Zaami, a 57 year old, union-affiliated painter and New York City resident suffered a six-foot fall from the top of a ladder during a restoration project in 2012. The fall was the result of regular movement shifting the ladder and knocking him off balance. While current labor law requires a spotter to ensure this doesn’t happen, the company had transferred that worker to a new task.

Zaami was taken from the site, by ambulance, to a hospital. A fractured heel and impact related joint damage left him with a cast, physical therapy and the inability to continue working. Permanent damage led to ongoing pain, loss of movement and a surgical procedure to the joint the following year.

Fearing that his and his family’s livelihood was at stake due to lost wages, Zaami contacted The Orlow Firm to make a case. In February 2016, The Orlow Firm filed a lawsuit against the parties in charge of the construction site for failing to provide adequate protection. Despite the obvious negligence, Zaami’s employers stated he was at fault for the accident and that his lost earnings were exaggerated, further claiming he wouldn’t have worked until the average age of retirement regardless of the fall. The court denied Zaami’s case.

The Orlow Firm is built on over 30 years of dedication to its clients. We aim to bring quality, caring service to ensure our injured clients receive what they deserve. As long as there’s a fighting chance, we will not back down. After Zaami’s case was denied, our legal counsel appealed the decision and began discussions for a pretrial settlement. Before the court could reach a decision on proceeding to trial, The Orlow Firm closed the case with a $1.3 million settlement. The physical and emotional hardship may never be undone, but Zaami’s future wellbeing has been saved in the face of company negligence.

An accident in the workplace shouldn’t mean an uncertain future. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on the job, contact The Orlow Firm today.

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Case Study: Queens Car Accident Lawsuit

Accidents happen all the time, and sometimes they happen when we least expect them. In situations like the ones we are about to share, accidents can happen while we’re on the road following the rules. In this particular case, our client Eugenia Cajigas was in a car accident in New York City. She and her friend were driving along a highway exit when a vehicle hit her car when clearly there was a stop sign in front of them.

Cajigas, a housewife living in the Bronx, was too surprised with what’s happened. She had her signal light on and was just checking the driveway to see if it was clear to cross, when the vehicle hit them. Her car sustained heavy damage, and all the while the driver of the other vehicle said he thought she was going to accelerate.

When she came to The Orlow Firm, we quickly set her up with one of our car accident attorneys. Our resident lawyer Brian Orlow made sure she was updated with her case, and offered free consultations. We make sure Cajigas felt comfortable every step of the way, as it is our job as practitioners in the legal field to protect the rights of our constituents.

Car accidents can be very tricky procedures, especially as there are multiple factors involved. Cajigas did not know what to do as this was the first time she was actually in an accident. Her records were spotless – she has a clean license and never hit anyone. The situation was very uncomfortable for her as she had no idea what to do.
As we told her, just because we’re not calling her back doesn’t mean we aren’t working with her case. Cajigas and our clients can call us anytime, and we will be very glad to answer your queries about your case.

Feel free to contact The Orlow Firm and speak with one of our car accident attorneys in New York City, as we are sure to provide you enough details for you to be aware of both your rights and responsibilities as a driver in New York.

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