If you were injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation. But while these benefits will cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost earnings, they don’t compensate for the full amount of your monetary losses — or the pain and suffering you experienced due to the accident. Although you can’t sue your employer due to New York’s Workers’ Compensation laws, you may be able to pursue a claim against a third party who is responsible for the accident.
What Third Parties Can Be Held Liable?
There are many different parties who are present on construction sites. For instance, some parties are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations, while others are involved in planning, execution, and building. Critically, every party must take measures to ensure a safe working environment — and follow appropriate safety procedures.
Some of the third parties who might be liable for negligence in the event of a construction accident can include the following:
- General contractors — General contractors have a duty on a construction site to ensure a reasonably safe environment for all workers. This includes proper housekeeping and compliance with OSHA regulations, the New York State Industrial Code, and New York Labor Law. Failure to provide a worker with adequate safety equipment or keep a job site free from hazards can result in their incurring liability for any injuries that arise as a result.
- Subcontractors — Subcontractors can be held accountable for a construction accident if their failure to take proper safety precautions or a violation of the Labor Law caused a worker to suffer injuries.
- Property owners — In addition to a contractor incurring liability for a worker’s injuries, a property owner can also be held accountable if they knew of hazardous conditions on the property and failed to remedy them. They may also be held strictly liable under New York Labor Law for gravity-related injuries caused by falls from heights and falling objects.
- Engineers and architects — In the event an engineer or architect fails to identify design flaws, follow safety standards, or ensure compliance with the applicable safety codes, they may be held accountable in a personal injury action for any injuries that arise as a result.
- Product manufacturers — Construction accidents can sometimes be caused by faulty equipment or defective machinery. In these cases, a worker may be eligible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Depending on the circumstances that caused the accident, other liable third parties can include vendors, janitorial companies, delivery truck companies, and scaffolding manufacturers. In some cases, more than one party may share the blame — and each can be held accountable for the damages they caused you to suffer in a personal injury action.
When Can a Third Party Be Held Liable for a Construction Accident?
There are a wide variety of construction accidents that can lead to a third party liability for a worker’s injuries. However, in order for a third party to be held liable, negligence must be established. In other words, an injured worker must demonstrate that a party besides their employer owed them a duty of care which they breached — and the breach caused them to suffer damages. Once negligence has been established, an injured worker must prove their damages.
Some common examples of accidents on construction sites that give rise to third party liability can include trip and falls, crush injuries, struck-by accidents, falls from heights, demolition accidents, and electrocution. Accidents can also be caused in connection with fires, crane collapses, machinery malfunctions, and falling debris. Regardless of the type of accident, those that occur on construction sites often result in catastrophic injuries and permanent disability. If you were hurt in a construction site accident, it’s vital to have a skillful personal injury attorney on your side who can investigate your claim and pursue the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
Construction accidents can be complicated and determining third party liability is often complex. A diligent personal injury attorney can work to ensure a responsible third party answers for their negligence and you receive the compensation you deserve for your economic and noneconomic damages. Due to our extensive knowledge and commitment to clients, The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP regularly obtains substantial settlements and verdicts for construction workers who have been harmed due to the carelessness of another.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP is a personal injury law firm committed to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they get the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.