Construction sites are notoriously dangerous places. There are myriad ways in which a worker, visitor, inspector, property owner, equipment operator or delivery person could be hurt at an open job site, including:
- Falls from scaffolds, ladders, cranes or other heights
- Injuries from falling hand tools, bricks, rebar or other objects
- Burns from welding torches
- Injuries from heavy equipment like bulldozers, bobcats, trucks or front-loaders
- Injuries from collapsing trenches or walls
- Stabbings or piercings from nail guns or drill presses
If a construction worker-whether a local New York construction worker or an out-of-state employee-is hurt on the job, workers' compensation benefits are available. These are designed to pay for medical treatment and a portion of the worker's wages through benefits offered by his or her employer's work comp insurance policy.
Unfortunately, workers' compensation benefits are not always enough to even cover an injured employee's medical expenses much less his or her day-to-day costs (like the mortgage, car payment, utilities and groceries) that would normally be paid with the worker's weekly paycheck.
The Value of "Safe Place to Work" Statutes
In the case of serious injuries especially, workers' comp benefits may not be enough to keep an injured party financially afloat long enough for all the medical issues to be resolved. New York, for instance, has prepared for such inevitability by drafting and enforcing what are known as "Safe Place to Work" laws.
These laws allow injured parties to seek financial compensation from the building's owner and the general contractor in charge of the project in certain circumstances. They are designed to help keep property owners, managers and general contractors in check. Without the possibility of being held legally liable for injuries, unscrupulous owners and contractors could be tempted to shortcut safety laws or use subpar materials that could cause injury.
Research has shown that construction site accidents increase when the protections offered by "Safe Place to Work" laws are not in place.
Regardless of the type of injuries incurred, if you have been hurt on a New York construction site, speak with a skilled personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about seeking financial compensation through workers' compensation programs or civil claims pursuant to the state's "Safe Place to Work" statutes.