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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Who is Liable for Construction Site Injuries?

The lawyers of The Orlow Firm have helped individuals who have been injured in forklift, crane and elevator accidents, and other accidents, on construction sites in New York. When you retain our services, you can rely on our effective representation, personal client service and focus on results. We are dedicated to helping each client recover maximum compensation for their injuries.

There are many different parties who may be liable when a construction worker suffers an on-the-job injury, including the property owner, the general contractor, sub-contractors, architects or other designers, engineers, construction managers and suppliers of equipment and materials. The number of potential liable parties depends on how large and sophisticated the project is. While many construction projects are based on general contract relationships (where a general contractor retained by the site owner enters into agreements with sub-contractors as needs require), larger projects are increasingly being handled by “construction management” organizations.

If you or your loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a construction accident, take steps to preserve your legal rights by speaking with an attorney about your case as soon as possible. Contact The Orlow Firm in Flushing, NY, today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer experienced in construction accident and injury litigation to discuss your options.

Potential liable parties in construction accident cases

To determine who may be liable for injuries resulting from a construction accident, it is helpful to take a close look at the duties and legal responsibilities of individuals who may be involved in the construction project at issue:

  • Construction site property owners — Generally, landowners have a duty to keep and maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. If someone is injured on their property, landowners will be liable if they knew or should have known of the dangerous condition. Whether or not the property owner of the construction site will be liable for any injuries depends on the amount of control over the property exercised by the property owner. If the landowner turned over control of the premises to an independent contractor, the landowner may not be liable for a construction worker’s injuries.
  • General contractors and sub-contractors — Both the general contractor and sub-contractor must provide workers a construction site that is reasonably safe. General and sub-contractors also have a legal duty to warn of any defects or hazards at the site as well as any hazards inherent in the work being performed. Typically, a general contractor or sub-contractor will have a duty to make sure that, to the extent they have been delegated control over a portion of the work being performed at a construction site, work is being performed safely. This duty extends to the hiring of reasonably competent employees, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.
  • “Prime” contractors — Prime contractors share similarities with both general and sub-contractors, depending on the specific construction project at issue. While a general contractor has responsibility for the entire project, a prime contractor is responsible only for the work that is identified in his or her prime contract. A prime contractor also is responsible for any work that he or she chooses to delegate to sub-contractors, and has exclusive responsibility over those sub-contractors, including as to payment and work quality.
  • Architects and engineers — These design professionals can be charged with differing amounts of responsibility for a construction project, and often the way to determine the extent of that responsibility is to look to the design professional’s contract with the site owner. Duties can include progress observation to ensure compliance with plans and specifications, and site inspection to ensure compliance with code regulations. Aside from any duty specifically identified in the relevant construction contract, these design professionals are held to certain accepted standards in performing professional services during the design and/or construction phases of the project. An architect or engineer can be held liable for any injuries suffered by construction workers as a result of their failure to meet those standards.
  • Manufacturers of construction machinery or equipment — Manufacturers of defective construction machinery or equipment can be held liable for the design and manufacture (and in some instances maintenance) of that equipment. The legal principles that place liability on a manufacturer or designer of a defective product apply to construction machinery and equipment, including the concept of “no-fault” or “strict” liability. In products liability law, manufacturers have a duty to design products that are reasonably safe for their intended and foreseeable use.
  • Insurers — Especially in situations involving major construction projects, the parties involved will be required to carry adequate insurance coverage. For example, the owner or property manager may be required to carry premises or property liability insurance; and the general and/or sub-contractor may need workers’ compensation, commercial general liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance. The insurance coverage of each party involved in a construction project, and the extent of that coverage, are important issues when assessing legal responsibility for a construction injury.

Contact a construction accident attorney

If you have been injured in a construction site accident, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Orlow Firm in Flushing today to schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in handling NY construction site injury cases.

Copyright © 2014 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Construction Workers’ Rights Under OSHA

The lawyers of The Orlow Firm have helped individuals who have been injured in forklift, crane and elevator accidents, and other accidents, on construction sites in New York. When you retain our services, you can rely on our effective representation, personal client service and focus on results. We are dedicated to helping each client recover maximum compensation for their injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the Department of Labor with the mission to reduce workplace hazards and create a system of health and safety regulations and programs. Under OSHA regulations, employees are granted certain rights and employers are required to ensure those rights are not violated.

If you believe your rights guaranteed under OSHA were violated while working on a construction site, contact The Orlow Firm in Queens, NY, today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer experienced in construction accident and injury litigation.

Employee rights under OSHA

Under OSHA, employees are granted certain rights, including:

  • The right to obtain training from their employer on any chemicals or other hazardous materials they may be exposed to or working with, such as blood-borne pathogens
  • The right to information about OSHA standards, job hazards, worker injuries and workers’ rights from their employer
  • The right to request that a dangerous condition or OSHA violation is corrected by their employer
  • The right to file a complaint to OSHA of a violation or serious hazard in the workplace and to have their name withheld from their employer
  • The right to be involved in any OSHA inspection and, if necessary, appeal the final action
  • The right to file a complaint to OSHA without possibility of retaliation or other discriminatory acts by their employer

Employees also have certain obligations under OSHA, including complying with OSHA and employer safety standards, using all necessary protective equipment (like ear plugs, safety goggles) and reporting any on-the-job injuries or illnesses to their employer immediately.

Employer obligations under OSHA

Among the obligations imposed under OSHA, employers have a duty to:

  • Provide employees a reasonably safe work environment free from recognized hazards
  • Comply with OSHA standards and ensure the work environment conforms with those standards
  • Provide employees with the appropriate safety equipment and training and maintain the safety of the equipment
  • Post the OSHA poster that lists employees’ rights and obligations in a prominent location
  • Keep records of all work-related injuries and illnesses and provide access to this information to employees, former employees and their authorized representatives
  • Do not retaliate or discriminate against employees who file a claim with OSHA or otherwise exercise their rights under OSHA

OSHA inspections

If an employee believes that his or her workplace is hazardous or is otherwise dangerous, the employee can submit a written complaint to the nearest OSHA office. OSHA then will make a determination of whether there are reasonable grounds for believing a violation or other danger exists and whether a workplace inspection is necessary. If it is determined that one is necessary, an inspector will visit the worksite and inspect the premises for unsafe working conditions. During this inspection, a representative of the employer and a representative of the employee may accompany the OSHA inspector during the walk-around. The employer is not allowed to choose the employee’s representative. The inspector also may collect evidence during the inspection, including taking photographs and samples, and interviewing employees and employers. The inspection by the OSHA representative is not limited by the conditions listed in the complaint and he or she may review the entire premises. There are few limitations on the inspection itself, but it may not disrupt the employer’s operations, must be during regular business hours and must be reasonable in nature.

Contact a construction accident lawyer

If you suspect that your employer is in violation of OSHA requirements, or if you have been injured as a result of an OSHA violation, an attorney can explain your rights to you. Contact The Orlow Firm in Queens, NY, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in handling construction site injury and OSHA violation cases.

 

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Construction Injuries at a Glance

The lawyers of The Orlow Firm have helped individuals who have been injured in forklift, crane and elevator accidents, and other accidents, on construction sites in New York. When you retain our services, you can rely on our effective representation, personal client service and focus on results. We are dedicated to helping each client recover maximum compensation for their injuries.

Hazards posed by construction sites include exposure to noise, dust and other chemicals, working from high elevations and in confined spaces, working with power tools and other mechanical equipment, exposure to electricity and performing excavations. More information on the specific types of injuries suffered by construction workers is provided below.

If you or your loved one has suffered injuries as the result of an accident at a construction site, consult an attorney to learn about your rights to compensation. Contact The Orlow Firm in Flushing, NY, today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer experienced in construction site accident litigation who can help you explore your legal options.

Common construction site injuries

  • Falls — Falls are the most common source of injury and death for construction workers. While the greatest number of falls occurs from ladders and scaffolding, construction workers also suffer serious injuries and die in falls from roofs, buildings, openings in structures, and stairs and steps.
  • Electrocution — Construction workers also are at risk for injury and death from electrocution or other electricity-related injuries, such as electric shock and burns. These types of injuries are not only caused by contact with power lines and other sources of high voltage. Construction workers also can be injured by contact with faulty wiring, broken light bulbs or other equipment in contact with an electric source, like a ladder.
  • Cave-ins — Construction workers involved in excavation work face the possibility of cave-ins. General contractors should take precautions before the excavation project begins to limit the possibility of a cave-in from occurring. For example, OSHA standards require employers to create a support system designed to protect workers from the hazards created by the specific type of excavation work, the environment of the site, such as soil type, water flow, climate and other factors.
  • Other injuries — Construction workers also face injury from a number of other sources, such as defective machinery and tools, bodily and head injuries from falling objects, and illnesses from ingesting silica-based dust, asphalt fumes and other chemicals, among others.

Contact a construction accident lawyer

Contact The Orlow Firm in Flushing, NY, to schedule a consultation.

Copyright © 2014 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Construction Accidents – An Overview

The lawyers of The Orlow Firm have helped individuals who have been injured in forklift, crane and elevator accidents, and other accidents, on construction sites in New York. When you retain our services, you can rely on our effective representation, personal client service and focus on results. We are dedicated to helping each client recover maximum compensation for their injuries.

Construction workers face some of the most dangerous working conditions in the country on a daily basis. Although there are regulations, statutes, ordinances and industry standards that mandate employers must provide a reasonably safe working environment, construction workers still suffer serious injuries at an alarming rate. The sheer number of hazards on a construction site makes it virtually impossible to prevent all injuries from occurring. These hazards include falls from scaffolds and other elevations, being struck by moving or falling machinery, electrocution, health hazards resulting from exposure to asbestos and chemicals, injuries caused by defective or unsafe equipment, and lifting and repetitive motion injuries.

If you have suffered, or if one of your family members has suffered, injuries as the result of a construction accident, a lawyer experienced in construction accident and injury litigation from The Orlow Firm in Flushing, NY, can help you understand your rights.

Who may be liable for a construction site injury?

There are many different parties who may be liable when a construction worker suffers a work-related illness or injury:

  • Property owners
  • General, prime and sub-contractors
  • Architects, engineers or other designers
  • Construction managers
  • Suppliers and manufacturers of equipment and materials
  • Insurers

The liability of these various parties depends on the type of management and oversight system of the construction project. With regard to liability for construction workers’ injuries, the main legal question concerns who maintains control and authority over the property where the work is being done and the type of work that is being done. For example, in larger projects, much of the work is delegated to sub-contractors, whether by general contractors or a construction management organization.

It is important to name all potential liable parties at the outset of any litigation to preserve your claim against them. An experienced construction litigation attorney can help you determine who the responsible parties may be according to the specific circumstances of your case.

OSHA and safety regulations

Safety regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) have been adopted by most states in some form, and these regulations apply to work done at construction sites. Whether a general contractor, sub-contractor or other party has the responsibility for ensuring compliance with OSHA regulations often turns on who was in control of the job site or job activity when the employee was injured. The legal effect of a violation of OSHA regulations will vary depending on the state in which the injury took place. In certain jurisdictions, if it can be shown that an OSHA regulation was violated and an injury resulted, no additional evidence is needed to establish that the employer was negligent.

OSHA regulations are not the only legal standards to which a property owner, general contractor or sub-contractor may be held in determining liability for a construction accident. Often the property owner or general contractor will have his or her own set of safety rules, either generally applicable or specific to the construction project at hand, designed to protect those performing work on the project. Violations of these regulations may serve to support a claim for damages following a construction site accident.

Pursuing a claim for a construction accident injury

If you have been injured as a result of an accident at a construction site, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your legal rights:

  • Report the injury to your employer and/or construction site manager as soon as possible, noting the name and position of the person you notified.
  • Get the names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
  • If possible, try to preserve any evidence related to your injury by taking photographs of the area where you were injured, taking photographs of the injuries themselves) or keeping the equipment or tool that was involved in your injury.
  • Get medical attention for your injuries.
  • Consult an attorney as soon as possible to help you evaluate any potential claims and discuss your state’s workers’ compensation laws.

Contact a construction accident attorney

Your case may be won or lost based on the work done before it goes to trial. Discussing your case with a lawyer who is experienced in the area of construction injury law is a good place to start. Contact The Orlow Firm in Flushing, NY, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in handling construction accident injury cases.

Copyright © 2014 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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