If you were injured in a construction accident, our Buffalo construction accident lawyer can help you get compensation for your losses.
Why Choose John Feroleto as Your Attorney
If you have been hurt in a construction-site accident in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, or in another county 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 jobsites 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 using a no-fee guarantee, 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.
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, or perhaps 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 to make sure all aspects of your claim are handled correctly and prevent you from making costly mistakes. A lawyer can investigate the circumstances of the accident, advise you on 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 by 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 obtaining 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.
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 subcontractors 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 JOBSITE CHANGES.
Construction sites change by the day. If you have been hurt in a construction-site accident in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, or in another county 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.
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, while you are a disabled worker, you are provided some lost wage benefits and the payment of medical benefits for injuries caused by the jobsite accident. However, workers’ compensation benefits may be much less than your average weekly wage or take-home pay. In addition, the quality of or type of medical care you receive may differ from what you expect.
Because you must be evaluated by the medical provider of the insurance company’s choosing, that doctor may not have your medical needs as their sole concern. Instead, they may feel responsible to the company that pays them, and that company focuses on its bottom line. The doctor will keep company profit in mind as they evaluate the timeline for your return to work, and your ability to perform your job. If the doctor decides you are able to do some of your typical work despite lingering injuries, your workers’ comp benefits may be cut short.
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.
Our construction accident lawyer will evaluate your situation to determine if you are denied the full benefits you deserve. Depending on the circumstances of your injury and which party is at fault, we may pursue a personal injury legal claim related to your construction accident. Not every construction injury will lead to a personal injury case, but if yours does, the amount of compensation we can pursue may exceed the amount you would have received in workers’ comp benefits.
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 the general contractor. However, often several parties 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 when you can go beyond workers’ comp, such as by filing a third-party liability claim to recover what workers’ compensation does not pay.
A third-party liability claim could include things like additional lost wages, pain and 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 that 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, which is 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.
In some rare cases, New York courts will also award punitive damages. These are for situations where there was extreme negligence, recklessness, 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 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, 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 for 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.
Understanding Workers’ Comp Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits provide you with a portion of the economic losses you have suffered. These benefits typically include:
- Medical coverage for reasonable medical treatment and care for your injuries
- A portion of your lost wages, calculated by a formula based on the extent of your injuries
- Survivor benefits when a fatality occurs.
Your medical coverage benefits should cover your medication, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and future medical care. When dealing with lost wage benefits, the extent of your disability determines how much you will receive. Disabilities are categorized as either partial temporary, total temporary, total permanent, or partial permanent.
Partial temporary refers to a disability that prevents you from returning to full employment but allows you to work at a compromised level. The age replacement benefits you receive are calculated by taking 2/3 of the difference of what you can earn after the accident.
For example, if you made $1,000 per week before your accident but can now only make $500 a week, your weekly benefit payment will be 2/3 of $500.
If you suffer an injury that leads a doctor to deem you to be 100% disabled temporarily, then you will receive a weekly payment of two-thirds of your pre-accident wage up to the state maximum. The amount of the legal maximum that controls your payments is based on the date of your injury.
A total permanent disability is a disability that continues to affect you after you have reached what is known as maximum medical improvement. This means that your condition is not expected to improve further with continued medical treatment.
When you have reached the maximum medical improvement stage, a doctor will evaluate your condition to determine the percentage of the disability that affects you. If they deem you to be 100% disabled, then you officially have a permanent total disability, which means you are unable to engage in any sort of gainful employment.
However, some disabled individuals may qualify for limited work without losing their benefits.
If after reaching maximum medical improvement, a doctor deems you to be disabled but not quite 100% disabled, you can receive payments based on one of three categories:
Scheduled awards give individuals with permanent partial disabilities 2/3 of their pre-accident wage for a time period calculated based on a certain schedule. This formula uses the type of disability to determine the length of time for receiving benefits times your percentage of disability. For example, you can receive 244 weeks of payments for a complete loss of the use of one of your hands. You may also request to receive a lump-sum payment instead of weekly payments.
For permanent partial disabilities affecting parts of your body not found in the schedule, your payment will be calculated using a formula that figures in the percentage of your lost earning capacity.
For workers who have suffered a permanent and serious disfigurement of the face, head, neck, or other body parts, an additional benefit of up to $20,000 may be available.
Another type of benefit is available for workers who cannot return to their job due to their injury and disability. Known as vocational rehabilitation, it helps injury victims acquire the learning and education they need to start work in other industries or sectors. It also aids with job placement. Although these benefits can go a long way in helping injured workers, they do not provide full coverage for the many losses that construction accident injuries cause.
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.
Are there time limits for filing a lawsuit?
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, 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 worker’s 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.
What if I did something to contribute to the accident?
If you did something to contribute to an accident, you could still recover compensation. 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.
Should I talk directly to insurance adjusters?
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.
For more answers and explanations, you are welcome to call our office at 716-854-0700 to speak with a construction injury lawyer about your personal situation.
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 construction 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, and 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 co-worker 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 jobsite 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 Employer’s Report (C-2) and the Employee’s Report (C-3) workers’ compensation forms 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 on 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 also other individuals “lawfully frequenting” the jobsite. 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,” which is law established by court rulings and decisions over a long period. 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 way the work was performed and that 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.
Contact Our Buffalo Construction Accident Attorney Today
You Deserve Experienced Representation
A construction accident can be devastating. Our experienced construction accident attorney can help you get access to the benefits and compensation you are entitled to.
Call our office today at 716-854-0700 for a free, discreet consultation with a Buffalo construction accident lawyer, and take the next step toward receiving the funds that will make a difference in your life.
Attorney John Feroleto
Attorney John Feroleto understands the value of hard work. He is known in the community and by his peers for his willingness to work and go the extra mile. Other lawyers often ask John to handle their trial matters to maximize clients’ recovery. Trial lawyers know who the best trial lawyers are. He was also named Trial Attorney of the Year in 2012 by the Western New York Affiliate of New York State Trial Lawyers Association. [ Attorney Bio ]