Hire a New York Construction Accident Lawyer 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, every New York construction accident lawyer at 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:
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.
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.
New York Construction Accident Statistics
In 2022, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health published their ‘Deadly Skyline’ report – a detailed look at fatalities on construction projects in New York State.
Despite the report being based on 2020 data – where Covid-19 measures reduced construction projects significantly – the report showed the construction accidents accounted for 22% of all worker deaths in New York City.
The report also highlight some other trends. 100% of workers who died on private worksites in New York City were non-union – making the construction industry an especially dangerous place to work if the company you work for has no union input.
Perhaps most significantly, the investigations into site deaths found that 97% of employers on sites where people had lost their lives had coinciding safety and health violations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
It’s Important To Sue If You’ve Been Injured
This final statistic bears repeating. 97% of construction accident deaths occured on sites where there were coinciding breaches OSHA violations.
This underlines the importance of seeking representation from New York construction accident attorneys if you’re injured on a construction site. New York labor laws can easily take a back-seat when projects need to be finished – but worker injuries themselves don’t necessarily stop further violations taking place. These violations can and do lead to deaths.
Put plainly, companies and property owners rarely learn from legal ‘near misses’. Instead, they learn when they are held accountable for their actions and forced to pay compensation to injured workers. Sadly, the most effective way to get businesses to sit up and listen is to hurt their finances.
The idea of bringing a lawsuit against an employer or business might feel intimidating – but if you do, you’re fighting to protect the lives of other construction workers into the future, as well as protecting your own financial well-being.
What kinds of construction accident injuries can I sue for?
As you can probably appreciate, there’s no set list of injuries that automatically qualify for financial compensation. In reality, a construction accident lawsuit is more complex than that – requiring us to look at the immediate and long-term physical and psychological damages that have been caused by any injury.
Some of the typical injuries our construction industry clients suffer include:
There are numerous chemicals and substances that are used on construction sites that can be harmful to workers’ health. Generally, these will have strict procedures that relate to their handling – but timescale pressures often mean these rules go by the wayside.
Of course, construction also often involves demolition – where hazardous materials like lead and asbestos as exposed are sometimes made airborne. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to life-changing conditions and even serious diseases further down the line.
Also referred to as “caught in/between” injuries, crushing accidents can occur when a worker is trapped between vehicles, buildings, equipment, or anyone of the other heavy items found on construction sites. According to the most recent statisics, crush injuries were responsible for around 7.3% of all construction industry deaths.
Falls from height
A quick glance at the New York City skyline will perhaps make it obvious why many construction site accidents involve falls from height. Falls on sites are so common that many NYC construction accident lawyers refer to falls as one of the ‘fatal four’ kinds of accident. Around 38% of construction injury deaths happen as a result of falls – and, for the people who survive, the lasting injuries can be life-changing.
Falling object injuries
While the idea of dangerous objects falling from height conjures images of steel supports falling from cranes, the reality is actually a lot less severe – but no less deadly.
Even small objects – like tools, debris, and personal items can cause serious or fatal injuries when they drop seemingly short distances. This makes it absolutely essential that everyone on a site follows the safety measures in place – but complanency and time-pressures often mean they do not.
The kinds of vehicles that are operating on construction sites are – by their nature – often exceptional large and heavy. This makes even a slight mistake or oversight by an operator potentially deadly, especially when visibility is limited. Even a seemingly minor impact from such a heavy moving object can lead to significant injury – often with life-changing consequences.
When people think of construction accident cases they tend to think of incidents that have been immediately severe – but this often isn’t the case. Many types of construction work involve repetitve movements or the moving of heavy equipment. In time, these movements can lead to serious life-limiting conditions – like carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, and athritis.
Another of the ‘fatal four’ kinds of construction accidents, electrocutions claim more lives than crush injuries year-on-year. The nature of a construction site means that workers are operating around infrastructure that the general public never comes into contact with – and the resulting injuries can be extremely serious.
Even small pieces of equipment can be fatal if not operated according to strict health and safety rules. However, carefully following procedures and continually changing in and out of protective equipment sometimes slows progress – so it’s not uncommon for serious injuries to occur where workers are under pressure to meet strict deadlines.
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 claim 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 bring a personal injury lawsuit against 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?
New York labor law states that 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 reasonable and adequate 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 site 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 statutes of limitations in a New York City 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.
What does a construction site accident investigation involve?
A New York construction accident attorney will generally approach your lawsuit looking to establish key factors. These include:
Establishing duty of care
The person, people, or business that are responsible for the construction site you work on will almost certainly have a ‘duty of care’ for the workers on the site. However, at a glance, it can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly who should be upholding that duty of care. An experienced construction accident attorney will look at this in detail – exploring whose job it was to safeguard your wellbeing.
Detailed a breach of duty
When someone is injured on a construction site, there has almost always been a breach of the duty of care that should have been afforded to you. Again, an experienced construction accident lawyer will look at the circumstances surrounding your accident and look at how the duty of care has been breached.
Needless to say, there needs to be a clear link between the circumstances surrounding your accident and the injury that’s been caused. We will work to establish and prove this link – effectively presenting a case where a court will see a clear connection between a failure of duty of care and the suffering you have experienced.
“Damages” is the legal term used to describe any life-changing impact your injury has had on your life. Some of these damages may relate directly to your financial situation – but some may relate to the psychological impact of your injury and inability to work.
This is the point where we sit down and carefully consider your injury and its consequences. Not only on your short-term ability to work and earn a living – but the implications that can stretch long into the future.
What kinds of damages can I expect to seek compensation for?
We will always try to avoid using legal jargon when we discuss your case with you – but “economic damages” and “non-economic damages” are two terms that are useful to understand when it comes to a construction accident lawsuit.
Economic damages are those that can be added up based on receipts, future costs, pay stubs, and other types of financial paperwork. When we talk about seeking compensation for these kinds of damages, we’re generally going to be exploring:
Costs of future support or rehabilitation
Potential missed future opportunities
The costs of damage property
Funeral and burial expenses (when someone has tragically lost their life)
Of course, the impact of an injury can’t always be calculated based on receipts or pay stubs – so we’ll also explore “non-economic” damages. These may include:
The injury itself
Pain and suffering
The loss of companionship
On-going physical impairment
The loss of the enjoyment of life
Don’t worry though. We don’t work from a set list of damages and costs. Instead, we get to know you, we listen to your story, and we consider your unique circumstances. By doing this, we can put together an accurate picture of how your life has been affected – and what we can do, from a financial point of view, to help you focus on recovery without worrying about money.
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 New York construction accident attorney shows 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, injured workers 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 , call us toll-free at , 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.