Two workers on a construction site, one kneeling down to check on the other after an injury


Raskin & Kremins Jan. 12, 2021

A study compiled using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that construction workers in New York City make up 27 percent of all work-related fatalities, while comprising only 5 percent of the workforce. In 2019, the latest year for statistics, 565 construction accidents in New York City resulted in 595 people being injured and 12 deaths.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a construction-related injury in New York City or in the surrounding boroughs, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and any lost income. As an employee, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation, and you may also be able to file a separate personal injury lawsuit.

If you’ve been injured and don’t know where to turn, contact Raskin & Kremins today. As experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys, we’re proud to have served the Greater New York City area for more than 35 years. When you choose to work with us, we’ll take the time to sit down and assess the unique details of your situation, before guiding you toward an optimal legal resolution.

Types and Causes of Construction Accidents

The study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned above identifies four unique factors that lead to a higher percentage of fatalities in New York City construction accidents. Those four factors include:

  • Accelerated Schedules: Construction projects often face ambitious completion times, compounding the chance for accidents due to rushed work schedules.

  • Elevated Heights: Many of the structures being worked on require workers to use heavy equipment at exceedingly high elevations.

  • Short-Term Labor Agreements: Many workers shift from job to job on short-term deals and find themselves unfamiliar with the new site that they are assigned to.

  • Shortage of Skilled Labor: Periods of intense competition has reduced the list of workers with requisite experience, thus resulting in smaller crews working on jobs that require more skilled laborers.

In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified five leading causes of construction accidents and fatalities, with falls leading the category. In New York City alone, 58 percent of construction accidents occur due to falls. The full list from OSHA comprises of the following:

  • Falling or lack of fall protection

  • Falling/insecure materials and debris

  • Electric shock

  • Unsafe equipment or lack of protections on power tools

  • Lack of protection for excavation/soil work

In addition to causes listed by OSHA, construction workers also face:

  • Being struck by falling objects

  • Getting crushed or run over

  • Suffering burns

  • Sustaining a back injury

  • Being exposed to toxic or hazardous substances

  • Suffering repetitive motion injuries

Understanding Workers’
Compensation and Your Right to Sue

All employers in New York State are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and all workers who are injured or fall ill due to unsafe working conditions are entitled to pursue compensation that can cover medical expenses, loss of income, and payment for partial or permanent disability.

You may also be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit, but as with all personal injury claims, you must prove negligence on the part of the entity or person you’re filing the lawsuit against. Proving negligence involves three important elements:

  • Another person or entity had a duty of care to protect you in a reasonable and safe way

  • That person or entity failed to carry out this duty

  • You were injured because of their failure to carry out this duty

For instance, you can show that the scaffolding from which you fell was improperly erected. Or that using inadequate safety equipment contributed to your injury. You may even be able to prove that the truck driver who struck you was operating in an unobservant or even reckless fashion. Regardless of the circumstances that led to your injury, in order to successfully pursue a personal injury claim, you will have to prove negligence on the part of the party you are suing.

Compensation for Personal
Injury Caused by Negligence

If you prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, your compensation can extend beyond just medical expenses and loss of current income to include pain and suffering and loss of future income. Note that the loss of future income, unlike workers’ compensation, is not based upon your average current salary, but upon projections of how much you could earn in the future if you were still fully healthy and able-bodied.

In addition to personal injury lawsuits you can file against your contractor, subcontractor, or building owner, if there is defective equipment involved, you can file a third-party lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer of the equipment or both.

If there’s been a fatality, family and loved ones can also sue for wrongful death, where compensation can also be awarded for loss of consortium (love and companionship) as well as funeral and medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of future income.

Hiring an Experienced Personal
Injury Attorney Is Essential

When you have been injured on the job, you must report the incident to your supervisor or employer to begin the workers’ compensation process. However, to fully exercise your rights, it is critical that you work with a skilled personal injury attorney who can help prevent you from being hassled, shunted aside, or low balled as your case proceeds. An experienced attorney can also help you determine if a personal injury lawsuit is worth pursuing in addition to any workers’ compensation claims.

At Raskin & Kremins LLP, our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience pursuing personal injury claims for injured victims. When it comes to construction site injuries, we have both the legal resources and expertise to conduct a thorough accident investigation, record witness testimony, survey the site, and assess the equipment involved. If you’re pursuing a third-party claim against an equipment company, we also have the resources to retain the services of an accident reconstructionist, product expert, or a structural engineer. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction accident, call our firm immediately for an initial consultation. We proudly serve clients in New York City and Manhattan, as well as all the surrounding communities of Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.