New York Construction Accident Lawyers With Decades Of Experience
Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C., is one of the premier construction accident law firms in New York City. Our firm is headed up by attorneys Carl Lustig and Mitchell Sassower, each of whom brings more than 30 years of experience to this field. Our partners are joined by associate attorneys and support staff to form our team.
Years of experience are not the only measurement of our firm’s success. A more important measure is the number of people whom we have helped. By this standard, our law firm has truly excelled.
Since our firm was founded, we have helped many hundreds of injured construction workers recover the compensation they need in the aftermath of life-changing injuries. We invite you to review our verdicts and settlements page to see in greater detail the type of success our law firm has achieved for clients like you.
50 Years Of Construction Accident Representation
With our knowledge and experience, we are able to represent electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters and others who work in nearly every job in the building trade. We represent accident victims in every type of construction or work-related accident, including:
- Ladders and scaffolding: Injuries often occur and are severe when construction workers fall from ladders or scaffoldings collapse.
- Falls from heights: Falling from any height off of the ground will result in injuries. The severity of the injury often depends on how far someone fell and the objects below.
- Falling objects or debris: When construction equipment, objects or debris is unsecured or comes loose, the falling object may cause serious injuries to construction workers below.
- Heavy equipment and machinery accidents such as crane accidents and forklift accidents.
- Electrical accidents: Any type of electrical accident on a job site can cause serious injuries, such as electrocution, burns and/or shocks.
- Failure to provide proper safety equipment: When injuries result from the failure to provide construction workers with proper safety equipment, a lawsuit may be warranted.
- Unsafe tools and equipment: If tools and equipment are worn and not in proper condition, or if appropriate safety devices are missing, serious injuries can occur.
- Demolition and excavation accidents: If a building or area is being demolished or excavated, extreme precautions must be taken to prevent workers from being injured.
- Highway and roadway construction accidents: In addition to the usual risks of construction sites, workers may be exposed to additional risks of vehicular traffic.
- Elevator shaft accidents: It may be very easy for a construction worker to fall into an open or unsecured elevator shaft.
- Slip-and-fall accidents: Slipping, tripping and falling on a construction site are not uncommon for workers, as there are numerous hazards that may result in the falls, such as defective and dangerous floors and roofs.
- Other construction accidents that may occur on or near a work site.
Due to our extensive experience representing injured construction workers, we have access to numerous experts who are vital in helping us prove the cause of your accident and the scope of your damages.
Skilled Lawyers For All Types Of Construction Accident Claims
While workers’ compensation benefits are available to injured construction workers, you may have legal claims in addition to workers’ compensation. In many cases, a personal injury claim can lead to a far greater financial recovery than workers’ compensation benefits. New York has special rules in place that provide additional protection to injured construction workers.
Our construction accident attorneys understand these laws like few other lawyers in the area. In addition to our history of success in trials and in settlements, we have helped to explain new law at the appellate level. We will let you know whether these special rules apply to your situation and whether you have claims in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.
I was injured in a New York construction accident. Who can I sue?
Generally speaking, workers who are injured in a construction accident in New York are entitled to sue anyone – with the notable exception of their employer – whose acts or omissions were a substantial factor in the happening of the accident. Such conduct can result in liability if it constitutes negligence (i.e., failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances), or if it fails to comply with a statutory obligation. For example, Labor Law $240 imposes certain non-delegable duties on owners, [general] contractors and their agents to provide proper protection against elevation-related risks on job sites – and so, they are required to provide proper safety devices (including ladders, scaffolds, hoists, etc.) to prevent workers from falling from a height or from being struck by falling objects; and Labor Law $241 (6) also imposes non-delegable duties on the same parties on construction, excavation or demolition projects to comply with specific requirements set forth in the Industrial Code.
What to do if I am injured in a construction accident, but my New York employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance?
Under New York Law, employers are required to have worker’s compensation insurance to cover their employees who are injured in the course of their employment; and in return for such benefits, which include both indemnity payments (i.e., money paid to make up for lost earnings) and medical coverage, employees are generally not permitted to sue their employers. Instead, worker’s compensation insurance is regarded as the sole remedy available for the employees. However, if an employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance coverage for an injured employee, then the employee has the option of either obtaining worker’s compensation benefits from the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) or suing the employer for money damages if the employer is responsible for the happening of the accident. Notice should be given to the UEF as soon as possible. Even if the employer is responsible for the happening of the accident, the injured worker should consider whether an employer that did not have workers’ compensation insurance will be financially responsible to answer for money damages in a lawsuit.
In New York, can I sue if I’m a subcontractor and received an injury at a construction site?
Subcontractors who are injured on a construction site are entitled to sue all responsible parties – with the notable exception of their employer – whose conduct was a substantial factor in the happening of the accident. Such conduct can result in liability if it constitutes negligence (i.e., failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances), or if it fails to comply with a statutory obligation. For example, Labor Law $240 imposes certain non-delegable duties on owners, [general] contractors, and their agents to provide proper protection against elevation-related risks on job sites – and so, they are required to provide proper safety devices (including ladders, scaffolds, hoists, etc.) to prevent workers from falling from a height or from being struck by falling objects; and Labor Law $241 (6) also imposes non-delegable duties on the same parties on construction, excavation or demolition projects to comply with specific requirements set forth in the Industrial Code.
What do I need to document for my injuries from my construction work accident?
On a construction work accident, we are concerned with documenting both the circumstances that caused your accident and the resulting injuries. Documenting your injuries is usually the easier part. Assuming that your injuries are serious enough to require medical attention, the healthcare provider (hospital or doctor) can be expected to make appropriate medical records that document the extent of your injuries. X-rays, EMG’s, CT-Scans, MRI’s and other diagnostic tests will also help to document your injuries. Photographs that depict any scars and any medical appliances (slings, cast, etc.) can also be helpful in making a record of your injuries. Unlike your injuries, which are documented by the treatment that you receive, it is usually more difficult (and more important to document the manner in which your accident occurred. Because the conditions often exist for only a limited period, photographs that depict dangerous conditions that gave risk to your accident are extremely important. Obtaining the names and contact information for witnesses can also be extremely helpful.
What are the New York statutes of limitations in a construction accident case?
Like many other issues in the law, the answer to this question is “it depends”. Generally, the applicable statute of limitations (i.e., deadline to commence a lawsuit) for accidents in New York is three years. However, the statute of limitations varies greatly depending on whom you are intending to sue – and cases involving the State, municipalities, or public agencies can have much shorter deadlines. Consider, for example, a construction worker who falls due to a defective scaffold. The usual statute of limitations would be three years from the date of the accident. But if the accident occurred on a job site owned by the City of New York or controlled by the New York City Transit Authority, the applicable statute of limitations to sue the City or the Transit Authority would be only one year ninety days. Also, any lawsuit against the City or the Transit Authority would require compliance with conditions precedent imposed by the law – so that it would generally be necessary to serve a Notice of Claim within ninety days following your accident. Of course, not all construction accidents involve the City or the Transit Authority. Different deadlines and requirements may apply to construction accidents on projects involving, for example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which controls many of the airports, bridges and tunnels in the City, as well as the World Trade Center), and the New York City School Construction Authority (which controls most construction projects involving Public Schools in the City).
How long will it take for my attorney to investigate my case?
An attorney will generally want to begin investigating your accident as soon as possible. This allows witnesses to be contacted, experts to be retained, photographs to be taken, and possible surveillance videos to be identified and obtained while the conditions are more like they were when the accident occurred. This also allows deadlines (such as 90-day Notices of Claim) to be complied with. In a sense, the investigation is never completed because an attorney should always be receptive to receive new or additional information.
Do most construction workplace accident cases settle out of court in New York?
Most cases “settle out of court” in the sense that they are resolved by agreement between the parties, as opposed to being resolved by the results of a trial. But most settlements require some involvement with the court – i.e., the commencement of a formal lawsuit; conducting discovery (including depositions where witnesses testify); court settlement conferences; etc. Many cases that settle “out of court” are pushed to settlement by the prospect of a trial in court, and some settlements occur while the case is actually on trial in court. Insurance companies are more likely to treat your case seriously if your attorneys show they are willing to bring your case to trial, if necessary. However, the only way to show that you are willing to go to trial is to be prepared to go to trial. So, although most cases “settle out of court” we prepare all of our cases as if they are going to trial.
What is OSHA and do I need to contact them for my construction injury?
OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is a Federal Agency created to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. Individuals are not required to personally report accidents to OSHA because their employers are generally required to investigate and report all incidents in which a worker was seriously injured. However, individuals are supposed to be given an “Employer’s Report of Injury Form” by their employer – and that completed form should be given to a supervisor who will then submit it to OSHA along with a completed “Supervisor’s Accident Investigation Form”, as well as a completed “Incident Investigation Report.”
Is counseling covered as a medical expense for my construction accident claim?
If a worker is injured in a construction accident in New York, the worker would generally be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits would include medical payments for accident-related injuries and disabilities. As such, counseling services (if authorized) may be available and can include psychological (e.g., to assist accident victims suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder), social workers (e.g., to assist in coping with the changes brought on by serious injury and disability), and vocational (e.g., to assist in seeking alternative employment for a worker who can no longer perform his previous job).
Do I need qualified experts for my New York construction accident case? Will my attorney help with this?
Construction accident cases often require qualified experts. The determination as to whether an expert is required and which expert to retain are normally best made by your attorney. Liability experts may be retained to help prove that the (proposed) defendants are responsible for your accident, and damages experts may be retained to help prove and quantify the extent of your medical injuries and economic loss. It is often particularly important to retain a qualified liability expert as soon as possible after the accident. In that way, unsafe conditions that gave risk to your accident may still exist and are easier to investigate. Particularly in construction accidents, the job site conditions are subject to change; after all, the structure that is being built is going to be modified as further construction proceeds. Therefore, it is important to retain an attorney to handle your case as soon as possible.
How will I be able to afford my construction accident injury case?
When a construction accident occurs in New York, the attorneys should recognize that an accident victim is hardly in a position to pay legal fees and expenses in connection with a lawsuit for personal injuries. After all, the accident victim – particularly if there is a serious injury – is often facing a lengthy period of disability with lost earnings. Thankfully, most experienced construction accident attorneys will handle a construction accident case on a contingency-fee-basis, with payment of fees and expenses at the end of the litigation out of the financial recovery obtained. While the construction accident case is pending, it is common for injured accident victims to rely on workers’ compensation benefits to cover their day-to-day expenses; and more seriously injured accident victims may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
Call us locally at 212-732-4992, call us toll-free at 800-574-4LAW, or complete our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation. We accept all construction accident claims on a no-recovery, no-fee basis. From our office in Manhattan, we serve clients across the region.