On Long Island, the construction industry is booming. Construction projects keep our economy humming – but they also present some risk. This is particularly true for workers, pedestrians, and anyone else who might be injured on a construction site.
While many construction accidents are covered by workers’ compensation, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party. Through this type of claim, you can recover financial compensation for your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. A skilled Long Island construction accident lawyer can help you with the process.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping accident victims get maximum compensation for their injuries. We are fierce advocates for our clients, working tirelessly to get them the money that they deserve. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team, give our law office a call today.
When Can I File a Construction Accident Lawsuit?
If you were hurt in an accident on a construction site, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the property owner, a construction company, an equipment manufacturer, a city or government agency, or another party. These lawsuits may be based on a number of different theories, such as negligence, premises liability, or product liability (dangerous and defective products).
It is important to understand that if you were working on a construction site when you got hurt, then you might be limited to workers’ compensation. However, there are many situations where even injured workers can file personal injury claims for construction site accidents. For example, if an employee of a subcontractor knocks you down with a piece of heavy equipment, then you may be able to file a claim against that company.
Of course, construction workers aren’t the only people who might get hurt on a job site. Pedestrians and other people who live and work nearby may also be injured, such as by falling debris or by tripping and falling on construction supplies left on a walkway.
The key in construction accident claims is to determine who – if anyone – may have been negligent or careless. Proving negligence typically requires showing that someone owed you a duty of care, that they violated (breached) that duty in some way, and that you were injured as a result. The standard for negligence varies slightly based on the type of claim involved.
The concept of negligence can be complicated, which is why it is critical to reach out to a seasoned construction accident attorney as soon as possible after being injured. During a free consultation, your lawyer will listen to your story and offer you advice on your options. If you decide to hire the law firm, they will get to work right away on your case.
How to File a Construction Accident Lawsuit
There are several steps involved in filing any type of personal injury lawsuit. After you hire a construction accident lawyer, they will start the process by conducting a thorough investigation of the facts of the case. This investigation is designed to find all responsible parties and to gather evidence to support your claim. It may involve visiting the site, reviewing records, interviewing witnesses, and more.
At the same time, your attorney will research New York law and consult with experts. If they determine that the liable party can be held financially responsible for your injuries, they will move on to the next step: sending a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
A demand letter is exactly what it sounds like: a demand to the insurer to pay you compensation (damages). It usually begins by explaining the facts of the case and the legal reasons why their insured is liable for your construction site injuries. It ends with a demand for money, broken down into categories of damages.
In most cases, insurance companies will respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer. The two parties will go back and forth and ideally will negotiate a settlement. Depending on the facts of the case, this may happen within months of a construction accident.
However, it is often necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to protect your rights and continue the negotiations. In New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is 3 years, which means that you typically must file a lawsuit within 3 years for your construction site accident. Your lawyer will prepare a complaint, file it at the local courthouse, and serve it on all responsible parties (defendants).
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial. Instead, the claim will enter the pretrial phase. Each side will exchange information during a process known as discovery, and your lawyer will file legal motions and make arguments to the court. Throughout this phase, negotiations will continue.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, then the case may go to trial. There, your construction accident lawyer will make arguments, question witnesses, and present evidence in support of your claim. A jury will then return a verdict.
Damages in a Construction Accident Lawsuit
In a construction accident lawsuit, you may be entitled to three different types of damages. Two of these types of damages are considered compensatory because they compensate an injury victim for their losses. The third type, punitive damages, is designed to penalize a liable party for their intentional or reckless conduct.
The first type of compensatory damages is economic damages. This category of damages includes money for direct financial losses. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to recover economic damages for property damage, medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages and reduced earning capacity.
The second category of compensatory damages is non-economic damages, which pay a victim for their intangible losses. Non-economic damages may include things such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Finally, punitive damages are awarded in rare cases when someone acted intentionally or recklessly. For this reason, they aren’t usually awarded in construction accident claims, which are usually based on a theory of negligence. However, there may be situations – such as a construction worker assaulting another person – where punitive damages may be awarded.
This explanation of damages demonstrates why a personal injury lawsuit is often more favorable than workers’ compensation benefits – which provide much more limited money. If you are a construction worker who has been hurt on the job, reach out to a Long Island workplace injury attorney to learn more about the possibility of filing a third-party claim instead of or in addition to a workers’ comp claim.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Being in a construction accident can be scary, and is often associated with severe injuries – and even death. If you have been hurt on a construction site, you may be able to pursue legal action against the responsible party. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can recover maximum compensation for your losses.
Based in Melville, NY, The Odierno Law Firm represents accident victims in Suffolk County and Nassau County. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Long Island personal injury attorney, give us a call at 631-752-8580 or fill out our online contact form.
My Loved One Died in a Construction Accident. Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Possibly. In New York, the personal representative of a decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit against an at-fault party. Through this type of claim, you may be able to recover financial compensation for hospital and medical expenses, pain and suffering experienced by your loved one, funeral and burial expenses, and other losses.
If your family member was a construction worker who was hurt on the job, then you may be limited to workers’ compensation death benefits. To learn more about your rights and whether you are able to file a wrongful death claim, reach out to The Odierno Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with a Long Island construction accident attorney.
Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit for My Construction Accident?
It depends. Workers’ compensation is considered an exclusive remedy in New York, which means that if you accept workers’ comp benefits from your employer, you typically cannot also file a lawsuit against them. However, you may still be able to pursue a claim against a third party, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment.
These cases can be complicated, which is why it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after being hurt at a construction site. In Suffolk County and throughout Long Island, contact The Odierno Law Firm to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Is It Better to Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits or File a Lawsuit for a Construction Accident in New York?
As a general matter, you can usually recover more compensation in a personal injury lawsuit than through workers’ comp. However, workers’ comp is no fault, which means that you don’t have to prove liability – but you will have to prove fault in a personal injury claim.
In some cases, injured construction workers don’t have a choice about which to file; they are usually limited to workers’ compensation. However, in some situations, you may be able to seek damages through a personal injury claim. Reach out to The Odierno Law Firm to talk to a Long Island construction accident attorney about your options for pursuing legal action.