Buffalo Construction Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a construction accident, our Buffalo construction accident lawyer can help you get compensation for your losses.
The job of a construction worker is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. Due to the nature of the work, one slip can mean permanent injury or death. Because construction work is so dangerous, New York State says that property owners, general contractors and sub-contractors are obligated to provide safe work sites. The New York State Industrial Code, called the New York Labor Law, provides minimum safety standards for all types of work settings. Preventable construction site injuries are always inexcusable in the eyes of the law.
Yet, even though there are clear laws meant to keep construction workers safe from harm, these workers are consistently under the threat of injury and death. All too often, owners, contractors or subcontractors disregard the New York Labor Law and compromise worker safety.
Your Options for Compensation in a Construction Accident Case
If you were injured or a loved one has died in a construction site accident, you may be entitled to compensation through workers’ compensation, a lawsuit, or both. However, New York laws are complicated, and employers and insurance companies often try to deny claims or pay out as little as possible. To get optimum benefits, it can help to have an experienced construction accident lawyer on your side to deal with legal issues and fight for your rights and the settlement you deserve.
Attorney John Feroleto has full knowledge of the special laws protecting construction workers and has handled many construction-site injury cases, getting millions of dollars for clients who were hurt on the job. Feroleto Law offers a free, confidential consultation to discuss the individual circumstances of your case. You should have your own independent, proven construction site lawyer on your side. John Feroleto will have your back.
Don’t delay – in construction cases it’s particularly important to secure and preserve the evidence before the job site changes.
Construction sites change by the day. If you have been hurt in a construction-site accident in Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse or other counties in New York State, call our work injury lawyer at 716-854-0700 to get started while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found.
How Our Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help
After a construction accident, you may be suffering from major injuries, such as broken bones, bruises, and lacerations . . . even amputation, brain, head and neck injuries, or paralysis. At this difficult time, when you are unable to work and are trying to recover, the process of filing a claim or construction accident lawsuit can be overwhelming.
Having an experienced construction accident lawyer on your side to fight for optimum benefits can help make sure all aspects of your claim are handled correctly and prevent your making costly mistakes. A lawyer can investigate the circumstances of the accident, advise you whether certain laws providing worker protection may apply in your case, and determine whether your injuries fall under New York workers’ compensation, a personal injury lawsuit, or both, and proceed accordingly. Your attorney will know how to use the law to get you the payments you deserve.
At Feroleto Law, our legal team can help by:
- Investigating your accident, acquiring and preserving evidence such as videos from surveillance cameras
- Interviewing first responders, co-workers, witnesses, and doctors to back up your claim.
- Filing for workers’ compensation, handling claim denials, and filing appeals
- Determining whether you should go beyond workers’ comp and file a lawsuit
- Making sure all paperwork is filed properly and in a timely manner
- Negotiating with insurance companies and their lawyers on your behalf
- Obtaining expert witnesses to reconstruct the accident and testify as to what happened, as well as witnesses to testify as to how the injuries affect your life and ability to work
- Taking your case to court if necessary and advocating on your behalf.
Our Construction Accident Attorneys Know That in Some Cases, Workers’ Compensation Can Help
If you are entitled to workers’ comp, our construction accident attorney will fight for the full benefits you deserve.
In most cases, New York State Workers’ Compensation laws require that you are provided some lost wage benefits while you are a disabled worker, and payment of medical benefits, for injuries caused by the job site accident. However, workers’ compensation benefits may be much less than your average weekly wage or take-home pay. The workers’ compensation carrier may send you to a doctor of their choice, who may dispute your injuries, allowing the workers’ compensation carrier to interrupt or deny your medical care and treatment.
Some of the insurance company doctors make substantial amounts of money writing reports favorable to the insurance company, disputing the care of your treating doctors.
Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Always Enough to Cover Your Injuries at a Construction Site
Unfortunately, when a worker is injured, even if they receive workers’ compensation benefits, the injury can leave them in a difficult financial situation. If an injury sidelines an employee, the workers’ compensation payments may not be enough to cover expenses, making it difficult to support a family, make mortgage or rent payments, continue car payments, pay utility bills and take care of other fixed expenses.
If an injury you suffered has a value more than the worker’s compensation payments offered, we will determine whether legal action is appropriate to secure the payment you deserve.
Who is Responsible for a Construction Accident?
The first step in a construction-site accident case is sorting through the parties legally responsible for worker safety at the construction site itself. There may only be two responsible parties, such as the property owner and general contractor. However, often there are several parties who have a hand in a construction site: property owners, general contractors, site managers, subcontractors, IDAs, governmental agencies, and other entities involved in construction projects.
It is essential to identify those who may be legally responsible for a construction injury. Experienced construction injury attorneys know how to sift through the complicated nature of legal responsibility for a worksite accident to determine who should be held accountable for a worker’s injury.
When a Non-Employer is at Fault for the Accident
It is the duty of the site owners, contractors, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers and material suppliers to adhere to all safety rules in the industrial code of New York Labor Law which set minimum standards in keeping a site as safe for workers as possible. Although workers’ compensation laws may prevent some types of lawsuits against employers, one of these other entities may be held responsible for your injuries in what is called a third-party action.
While you do not have to prove fault to receive workers’ comp, if you can hold another party liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you can receive a much larger settlement. In most cases, New York workers are prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer; however, there are times where you can go beyond workers’ comp, such as by filing a third-party liability claim to recover what workers’ compensation does not pay. This would include things like additional lost wages, pain, suffering, permanent disability and partial disability. In a lawsuit, we may be able to show that a third party — such as another contractor, developer or property owner – failed to comply with the industrial code of New York Labor Law and this contributed to the cause of your injuries. We provide aggressive legal representation to ensure that our clients are treated fairly after an on-the-job injury.
Our Construction Accident Attorney Can Help You Get an Award for Your Damages
In a successful lawsuit, Feroleto Law may win compensation for both your economic and non-economic damages and losses, more than the benefits available from workers’ comp.
Economic damages — are to cover your losses and expenses that have a specific dollar value, such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Costs of modifying a home or vehicle, if necessary.
Non-economic damages – are for less-tangible losses that compensate you for the negative effects of the accident on you and your family, including:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Wrongful death, which is like a personal injury case on behalf of a deceased person who can no longer bring it
- Permanent injury or partial disability.
Punitive damages – In some rare case, New York courts will also award punitive damages. These are for situations where there was extreme negligence, recklessness, or egregious or immoral conduct. The purpose is to punish this behavior and discourage such behavior from happening again.
Amounts of Damage Awards
There is a wide range of settlement awards you may receive in a successful lawsuit, from the thousands to millions of dollars. The amount awarded would depend on the individual situation and the factors involved, such as:
- The severity of the injuries and whether they will be permanent and require long-term care
- The age and earning potential and family situation of the victim
- Whether a death is involved
- The inclination of the judge, jury, and jurisdiction where the case takes place
- The skill of your attorney.
While no one can guarantee a specific amount for compensation, our attorneys will consider all factors and determine what would be a full and fair settlement to you and will negotiate accordingly. During your free, confidential consultation, we will give you our opinion on your case’s chances of success. Using our many years of experience representing accident victims, we will assess your situation and build a thorough case on your behalf to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Our Construction Accident Attorney Must Prove Negligence
Proving negligence or a Labor Law violation is an essential part of winning your lawsuit. Our attorneys know how to go about doing it.
For a successful lawsuit, your attorney must be able to prove that the party you are suing, called the defendant, was negligent or violated a Labor Law safety regulation which contributed to the accident and that you suffered damages as a result. Legally, this means proving the following elements:
- Duty — The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- Breach — The defendant breached that duty.
- Cause — The breach caused your injuries.
- Damages — The injuries resulted in actual damages.
In a construction accident, there may be multiple parties responsible, and our attorneys will work to identify them all, as they each may have insurance or assets.
Construction Accident FAQS
Here are some answers to questions we are often asked about injuries at a construction site:
Yes, New York has a strict time limit, called a “statute of limitations,” which is a deadline for filing a legal case. In New York there are often construction sites where there is a very short statute of limitations. An example would be when suing New York State, a city, town or village or one of many projects which involve New York authorized agencies. Also, in these cases you may need to quickly file what is called a “Notice of Claim.” Call the experienced construction site lawyers at Feroleto Law today. You should know and understand your rights.
Because construction sites are so hazardous and there are so many construction site accidents, New York has specific laws to protect our construction workers. New York labor law section 240 recognizes that the owners and general contractors are those who can most protect workers by having proper scaffolding, ladders, or hoisting devices, etc. Because of this owners and general contractors are considered 100% responsible when their violations of the New York State labor law contribute to a workers injury. This is true even if the worker was partially at fault, such as stepping back and falling from a building while working, when the owner failed to provide the required safety rail at the edge of the building. New York labor Law section 240 (6) addresses injuries caused by other frequent New York Labor Law violations of owners and general contractors. Labor Law 241(6) accounts for contributory negligence. This means a judge or jury will calculate percentages of fault for each party and the worker and adjust the damage award accordingly. Insurance claims adjusters also consider contributory negligence when they are evaluating your case. Fortunately, even if you are partially at fault, our attorneys can help you get a proportional settlement. For example, if your case involved a settlement of $100,000 and you are found to be 15 percent at fault, we can help you recover $85,000.
Insurance adjusters hire high-powered lawyers who have tactics they use to get you to settle for as little as possible. They are more likely to take your case seriously if you have a lawyer on your side willing to take the case to court rather than attempting to negotiate it yourself.
Independent Contracting and Workplace Injuries
Like many industries in the United States, construction is becoming increasingly reliant on what companies call “independent contractors.” As workers know all too well, this classification means that companies provide fewer or no benefits and less pay. It also impacts the availability of traditional workers’ compensation benefits that employees used to rely on after a serious on-the-job injury.
The practice of calling workers independent contractors instead of employees has not been in the best interest of injured workers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that workers are without options. New York has taken steps to protect workers from misclassification, most notably through the New York State Construction Industry Fair Play Act, which sets forth the criteria by which employers can classify constructions workers. The Act also places penalties on companies who fail to comply with proper classification.
What to Do After Suffering a Construction Site Injury
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, you should secure the evidence, if possible, or call the construction accident attorneys at Feroleto Law as soon as possible. Take pictures of the construction site, or jobsite, write down the names of witnesses, and what people said, and make note of any defects in equipment, footing, planking, debris, materials or other things that may have contributed to the injury. If you are taken to the hospital, see if a coworker or other person can secure evidence for you.
Why is securing the evidence so important? Often, construction sites change quickly, sometimes within a day or a few days. In some cases, a construction accident attorney will go to court to get a court order to preserve the evidence before the job site changes. If you have any questions or concerns about security, you should talk to a personal injury attorney experienced in construction site injuries.
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury at a construction site, you will need to:
- Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. If possible, do this in writing and keep a copy of the Employers Report (C-2) and the Employee’s Report (C-3) workers’ compensation form or other notice you gave.
- Seek immediate medical attention and keep copies of any bills you receive. In the days, weeks and months that follow your injury, keep track of any bills, expenses or records stemming from your injury.
- Talk to an attorney who has experience with workplace injury cases. Employers and their insurance companies look for ways to keep payments to a minimum, so make sure you have an advocate to fight for your rights.
A Deeper Dive Into New York’s Laws
An experienced workplace accident lawyer can advise you whether certain laws providing worker protection may apply in your case. You won’t need to be familiar with the following laws to take legal action. Your attorney will know how to use the law to get you the payment you deserve. But if you’re curious how these laws impact injured workers in New York, here are a few essential details.
Frequently cited are New York State Labor Law Section 240, New York Labor Law Section 241(6), New York State Labor Law Section 200, and the safety regulations provided in the Industrial Code.
- New York Labor Law Section 240(1) is often referred to as the “Scaffold Law,” because it requires construction site contractors, property owners and their agents to provide a safe jobsite for construction laborers who work at heights or who may fall from one level to another. If a failure to provide proper safety equipment is a cause of the fall or injury, the owner, general contractor, or their agents can be sued for failure to provide safety devices or failing to equip the jobsite properly. There are exceptions to Section 240(1). For instance, the law may not apply to owners of one- and two-family homes who contract for but do not control the construction project. You should talk to an experienced construction accident attorney, as the law can be very difficult to interpret.
- New York State Labor Law Section 241(6) also places a duty on contractors, property owners and their agents to provide a safe workplace. This duty applies to jobsites where construction, excavation, demolition or certain repair work is being done. The law provides protection to workers and, in addition, other individuals “lawfully frequenting” the job site. Although there may be no duty on the part of a property owner or general contractor under Labor Law Section 240, there may be a duty under Labor Law Section 241(6). The law can be quite confusing.
- New York State Labor Law Section 200 is a law similar to what some call “common law,” that is law established by court rulings and decisions over a long period of time. For a lawsuit against an owner or contractor under Labor Law Section 200, the injured worker would be required to show that the owner or general contractor had specific control over the manner in which the work was performed and the owner or contractor knew of a hazard and failed to take reasonable measures.
- Part 23 of the Industrial Code provides very specific regulations as to construction, demolition and jobsite safety, covering topics such as proper footing, proper ladder and scaffolding standards, fall prevention, workers injured by falling objects, etc.
Why Choose John Feroleto as Your Attorney?
If you have been hurt in a construction-site accident in Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse or other counties in New York State, you should call an experienced construction law lawyer who has full knowledge of the special laws protecting construction workers. John Feroleto has handled construction-site injury cases, getting millions of dollars for clients who were hurt on the job.
John Feroleto frequently teaches labor law and construction-site law to other lawyers as part of their legal education. He has worked on many job sites with family members, including his father, a laborer and member of Laborers Local 210 in Buffalo, New York. John also worked with ladders and scaffolds on houses and commercial properties for about 10 years before and while attending the University of Buffalo School of Law.
If You’ve Been Injured, Contact the Buffalo Construction Accident Lawyers at Feroleto Law.
The Buffalo workplace injury attorneys at Feroleto Law operate on a no-recovery, no-fee basis, meaning that you don’t pay us unless we win your case. Call today at 716-854-0700 for a strictly confidential consultation, with no obligation.