A construction site fire or explosion in New York is more common than you may expect, especially when buildings are being built or renovated. Burn injuries are incredibly common in the construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 66 construction workers are killed every year due to explosions, fires, and hazardous chemical exposure. Electricians, HVAC contractors, equipment operators, carpentry trades, and many other workers are all susceptible to construction burn injuries and other construction accidents that could have been prevented.
New York’s Labor Laws make the owner and general contractor responsible for providing a safe construction site. Therefore, if you’ve sustained burn injuries on such a site, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Workers’ compensation and personal injury laws protect you in many situations, but these cases can be complicated with many at-fault parties involved. At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., our New York construction accident lawyers have decades of experience representing victims of burn injuries and know what it takes to fight for your rights.
A construction site is a dynamic, active work environment, with several crews, dangerous machinery, and countless hazards on any given day. This type of workplace could involve all three potential sources of burn injuries:
Construction zone accidents are more likely to cause extensive damage as compared to other scenarios because there’s typically less protection in structures being built. Fire alarms, sprinklers, firewalls, smoke detectors, and other fire-suppression systems have usually not yet been implemented as required by the NYC Building Code or state law. Though there are various Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety regulations regarding prevention, explosions, and fires still occur with alarming frequency.
Buildings under construction don’t spontaneously combust, so there’s a reason behind every fire-related incident. Often, carelessness and disregard of fire safety are factors, both of which fall under legal principles of negligence.
Some common construction site fire accidents include:
Fires, explosions, and other burn accidents can cause injuries ranging from minor to severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, the least dangerous are first-degree burn injuries. A typical example is a sunburn, which only affects the outer layer of skin. The epidermis may be red, with minimal pain.
Second-degree burns penetrate the epidermis and reach the layer of skin underneath, called the dermis. The pain level increases considerably, and the skin may appear red and splotchy. Your body may respond to the injury by developing blisters to ease the pressure and heat, and these lesions are extremely painful. They can also lead to significant scarring.
A third-degree burn destroys the epidermis and much of the skin’s dermis layer and can extend into underlying fat tissue. Surprisingly, you may not sense pain because the injury damages nerve cells. Your skin may appear charred and leathery, and the scarring can be substantial. Skin graft surgery is often necessary to replace the destroyed skin tissues.
The state workers’ compensation system covers injury-causing construction accidents, including those involving fires, burns, and explosions. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board oversees the program, which provides monetary benefits to qualifying employees.
If you suffer a burn injury at work, workers’ comp may cover:
You can also pursue these benefits by filing a claim with your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company. All New York employers are required to carry a policy to protect their employees in the event of a construction site fire or other accident. In many cases, a workers’ compensation claim is your only legal solution. You should also note that the system doesn’t allow you to recover for pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages.
There are certain situations where workers’ comp benefits are not your sole remedy, and you can seek compensation through a third-party injury claim or work injury lawsuit in civil court. You may be able to seek additional burn injury compensation if:
Third parties could be almost any individual or entity present at the construction site. For example, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit for burn injuries caused by:
Through a third-party liability claim for burn injuries, you can seek compensation for your:
The aftermath of a severe burn after a construction site fire, explosion, or accident can be incredibly difficult. You are likely in extreme pain and unsure about your ability to continue working. At Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., we have helped people in situations a lot like yours to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in rightfully owed compensation, so they can move on and heal properly. Let us review your circumstances, determine who may be liable, and fight for your interests in a personal injury lawsuit where appropriate. Our attorneys represent construction site fire victims in New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and the surrounding region, and we look forward to helping you.
“I retained Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek for a serious personal injury case. They were very professional and managed to obtain a settlement for me that far exceeded my expectations. I would strongly recommend this firm for anyone’s legal needs.”