November 12, 2014

7 Steps to Take After a Construction Accident in New York

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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If you were injured while working on a construction site in New York, the steps you take after the accident can make a significant difference in the final value of the compensation you recover, both from Workers’ Compensation benefits and other sources. Construction is an inherently dangerous occupation, but many serious or fatal accidents are the result of some form of negligence by a contractor or subcontractor.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the construction industry ranks high among all industries for occupational injuries and fatal injuries in New York and nationwide.

construction accident statistics
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:,

The Workers’ Compensation system in New York has very specific requirements regarding filing a claim for benefits. If you hope to be treated fairly and to recover the maximum compensation possible under the system, you must carefully adhere to the requirements and ensure all filings are submitted in a timely manner. Here are the steps to take after a construction accident:

construction accident step 1

Step One:

Your first priority is to get medical treatment. You will be directed to a specific medical center that has been chosen by your employer. If you believe your condition was not properly diagnosed or evaluated as to its severity, obtaining a second opinion may be important to the final outcome of your case.

construction accident step 2

Step Two:

You must notify your supervisor about the injury and how it took place. This notification must be in writing and be submitted within 30 days of the injury. Write down everything that happened as soon as possible after the accident so you are not hazy about the details.

construction accident step 3

Step Three:

Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of any co-workers or others that witnessed what occurred. Information from these witnesses could be a vital factor in how your case unfolds.


construction accident step 4

Step Four:

A claim must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board, called an Employee Claim Form, sent by mail to the District Office serving your area. You have two years from the time your accident or injury occurred or your condition was diagnosed. The failure to file your claim within the time limits or to provide the written notification to your employer could lead to a loss of the right to compensation.

construction accident step 5

Step Five

For cases of serious injury, it is advised that you retain legal representation to manage all of the specifics of your claim. A worker’s injury and inability to work can create hardship for the entire family. Workers’ Comp benefits pay a percentage of your salary, up to a limit. Your medical bills will be paid by the system. Even so, there can be added stress when the family of a seriously injured worker is forced to deal with a governmental agency that demands that specific information be filed within strict time limits. Get help from a qualified New York work injury attorney so you can focus on what is most important – your health or the health and recovery of your loved one.

construction accident step 6

Step Six

A full investigation of the facts surrounding the incident may be critical to the outcome of your claim. There could be third-party liability that will allow you to get a higher level of compensation. Although you cannot sue your employer (except in certain cases), a third party such as a utility company, machinery or equipment manufacturer, subcontractor or other party could be held liable and a legal claim filed against that party. You may be entitled to that compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits

construction accident step 7

Step Seven:

If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you have the right to appeal. Your have 30 days from a denial of benefits to appeal your claim. This process should be managed by a skilled lawyer familiar with the system. There are several levels of appeal that can be accessed by injured workers, and your attorney will be conversant with the time requirements and other restrictions.

Source: New York State Workers’ Compensation Board

construction accident statistics 2013

Source: NYC Department of Buildings:

construction related accidents by type

Source: NYC Department of Buildings:

If you have been injured or a loved one has been seriously injured or died while working on a construction site in any capacity, contact the professionals at Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C.