The construction business is a big part of New York City's economy; it provides thousands of jobs and enables the city to grow, beautify and move into the future. But construction accidents can have serious consequences for injured workers and their families. These consequences can be physical, emotional, relational and financial in nature. When is it necessary to contact an attorney about an accident?
What if the injury seems minor? What if you're sure that workers' comp will cover the injury? What if you don't want to cause trouble or you're afraid of jeopardizing your job? What are the benefits and risks of talking to a lawyer about your injury case?
What you have to lose
Is it ever a bad idea to consult a lawyer about a construction accident? What are the drawbacks? In general, the worst thing that can happen is disappointment: You may find out you don't have a third-party injury case. You could feel like you wasted a couple of hours of your time -- or a few minutes if you only talk to a lawyer by phone.
Reputable construction injury attorneys almost always offer a free initial consultation to injured workers and their families. Usually, there's no financial outlay, and you won't have to pay any attorney fees until you are awarded money for your injuries; the fees are generally based on a percentage of your settlement or verdict amount.
Some workers are worried that they could get in trouble with a boss or owner for going "behind their back" to talk to a law firm. This fear is understandable. Lawyers provide confidential advice to clients based on the principle of attorney-client privilege. This means that if you go to an attorney to discuss your injury, he or she cannot tell your employer about the meeting without your permission.
What you have to gain
If you or a loved one was hurt while working construction, you need to protect your legal rights and your family's well-being. In addition to certain federal regulations, New York has specific laws that are meant to protect workers.
Regardless of any workers' compensation benefits you receive, you and your family may also be entitled to additional financial compensation for lost income, pain and suffering, wrongful death or other damages. This is important. Only an experienced attorney can properly evaluate your case and determine if you may be eligible for money damages through a third-party claim.
What you should do if an injury has hit your family
In short, get the legal advice you need. Just like you wouldn't try to diagnose a serious physical injury without the help of a trained medical professional, you shouldn't make decisions about legal matters without input from a knowledgeable attorney.