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New York Construction Accident Lawyer

Jud Waltman

Legally Reviewed By: Jud Waltman

Who's liable after a NY construction accident?

Sometimes, multiple parties share liability for a construction accident. In New York, victims have the right to sue the premises owners as well as other entities that share liability for the incident. Working with a lawyer can be critical to determining how much compensation you deserve and who you should sue to obtain that compensation.

General Contractors and Construction Site Owners

Article 10 of chapter 31 in New Yorks’s consolidated laws covers the state’s labor laws. Specifically, Section 240 governs the protections regarding “scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.”

In addition, Sections 241, 241-A, and 241-B outline the protections for workers in regard to construction, excavation and demolition work, elevators, and trasparent glass doors.

These requirements are intended to ensure construction worker safety on a job site. When a general contractor (who usually controls the worksite) or a property owner pushes construction workers to engage in unsafe practices or ignore safety precautions, they might be liable in the unfortunate event of an accident.


Subcontractors typically bear specific liability for the actions they take or fail to take on a job site. Suppose, for example, that a subcontractor is completing the electrical work for a building. The subcontractor fails to turn the power off before commencing the day’s work and another construction worker suffer severe electrical burns as a result. As the worker was unaware of the active power supply and thus could not take proper safety precautions, the subcontractor might be liable for the incident.

Engineers and Architects

Engineers and architects design the procedures that will construct a building. Therefore, they can be held responsible when serious injuries result from their failure to take adequate safety precautions, including creating dangerous designs or failing to note potential problems that could lead to construction accidents.

Equipment Manufacturers

Construction sites make use of many heavy or dangerous pieces of equipment, from power tools to construction vehicles. When these items are incorrectly manufactured, they can cause severe injuries.

Injured construction workers may have the right to pursue compensation from the equipment manufacturer when that manufacturer puts out a product with known problems or when the manufacturer fails to recall a product after discovering those problems.

Four Types of Deadly Construction Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified four key hazards that pose the most danger for construction workers: falls, caught-in or caught-between accidents, struck-by incidents, and electrocution.

According to the CDC’s construction statistics data from 2019, 36.4% of construction-related deaths were due to falls, 15.4% occurred because of struck-by incidents, and 7.2% were caused by electrocutions. Around 5.4% of fatalities occurred because of stuck-in or caught-between incidents.


Construction workers perform many job duties on high surfaces, whether they use scaffolding or ladders or rely on the structure of the building itself to support them. Falls from such heights can prove deadly or extremely dangerous.

Struck-By Incidents

Falling items can pose a severe danger on construction sites. With construction workers often working on multiple levels of the building simultaneously, it is easy for a falling object to cause serious injury. Struck-by incidents also include cases where a construction worker is hit by heavy machinery as it moves about the job site.


Electrocutions occur when workers do not turn off electricity during the construction process. Electrical burns can cause significant injuries throughout the body, many of which can have a long-term impact on the victim’s health.

Stuck-In/Stuck-Between Incidents

Crushing damage can occur quickly when construction workers get trapped between two large objects. Getting trapped inside a piece of equipment or machinery can also cause severe injury.

Where do accidents occur most frequently?

Accidents can occur in many places on a construction site. However, they are most likely to occur in areas that rely the most heavily on expansive equipment, including scaffolding, ladders, hoists, stays, slings, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, and ropes, among others.

Damages You Can Receive After a NY Construction Accident

Sometimes, multiple parties share liability for a construction accident. In New York, victims have the right to sue the premises owners as well as other entities that share liability for the incident. Working with a lawyer can be critical to determining how much compensation you deserve and who you should sue to obtain that compensation.

Wage-Related Damages

After a construction accident, you can pursue compensation for any wages lost while you recovered as well as the loss of future earning capacity. Many injured workers find that they cannot return to work in the construction industry due to their injuries, and they can pursue financial compensation for those losses.

Permanent Disfigurement or Scarring

Construction accidents can cause permanent injuries with life-altering consequences. You can claim compensation for permanent disfigurement through a personal injury lawsuit.

Treatment-Related Expenses

Your construction accident claim may include compensation for multiple elements of medical treatment, including:

  • Hospital stay
  • Medical treatment
  • Surgery
  • Medication
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Ambulance or other emergency transport
  • Doctor visits

Emotional Distress

Many construction workers who suffer serious injuries find themselves dealing with anxiety, depression, or PTSD as a result of an accident. As part of your claim, you can include compensation for that emotional distress, including the cost of therapy or counseling.

Pain and Suffering

Most claims include some level of compensation for the overall suffering you faced following your accident.

Loss of Consortium for Loved Ones Left Behind

If you lost a loved one in a fatal construction accident, you could claim compensation for the loss of your loved one’s presence and contributions to your life.

Can I collect workers' compensation and file a lawsuit?

A workers’ compensation claim will cover medical bills and loss of wages following a construction accident without the need to prove fault. According to New York law, you cannot both collect workers’ compensation and sue your employer for negligence on the job site. You can, however, file a workers’ compensation claim and sue the third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, whose failure led to your accident.

Consult an NYC construction accident lawyer to determine whether your accident meets the criteria for pursuing further compensation for the damages you experienced as a result of the accident.

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How long do I have to file a construction accident lawsuit in New York?

According to New York law, the statute of limitations in a personal injury lawsuit, including a construction accident lawsuit, is three years from the date of the accident. However, if you intend to file a workers’ comp claim, you will need to file a claim within 30 days of the incident.

Should I contact a lawyer after a NY
construction accident?

Get medical care immediately following your construction accident, whether you suffered severe injuries that require emergency care or relatively minor injuries. Keep track of those medical expenses because they could have a heavy influence on the amount of compensation you can recover later.

As soon as you’re able, contact a construction accident lawyer. Key elements to a successful case, such as evidence and eyewitnesses, are best investigated and documented as soon as possible to maximize the damages you can recover. Furthermore, a lawyer can explain workers’ compensation benefits and give you a better idea of the benefits and assistance you can expect to receive when filing a workers’ compensation claim.

How can the lawyers at Lanier Law Firm help me after a construction accident?

At Lanier Law Firm, we are committed to excellence and to obtaining justice for our clients. Construction site accidents can have lifelong effects, and you deserve compensation for any injuries you have sustained or long-term suffering you have endured as a result of a construction accident that could have been avoided.

Our attorneys have decades of trial experience and extensive experience with personal injury claims in various areas. For example, in one notable case, the jury returned a $2 million verdict for a worker who suffered multiple shattered ribs, a punctured lung and diaphragm, and a broken clavicle after he fell from a sheet of polyplastic covering that could not support his weight.

We’ll get you the most money possible to allow you the chance to heal and rebuild your life after a serious accident. Contact our New York office today for a free consultation.

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