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Dupee & Monroe

Goshen Third-Party Construction Accident Attorneys

Helping injured construction workers in the Hudson Valley and New York recover a full measure of compensation from negligent parties

Employees who are injured on the job, including construction workers, can benefit from workers’ compensation insurance provided by their employer. Workers’ comp covers an injured employee’s medical expenses plus partial wage replacement while they are out of work and recovering. Workers’ comp also pays benefits to employees who are permanently disabled by their work injury.

Workers’ compensation is “no-fault,” meaning an employee can get benefits without regard to who was at fault in causing the accident, even if the employee’s own negligence was the reason behind the work injury. However, a trade-off in this insurance-based system is that employees cannot sue their employers for damages in a workplace accident, even if the employer’s negligence caused the injury. Workers’ comp also only replaces two-thirds of an employee’s lost wages, and only for a limited period.

The situation is different when the accident is caused by a third party, however. In this instance, the injured worker can initiate a lawsuit against the negligent party and if successful, recover a full amount of compensation, regardless of whether or not the individual is also eligible for workers’ compensation. Pursuing a claim against a third party often requires taking legal action with the help of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney. The construction accident attorneys at Dupée & Monroe represent injured construction workers and their families in catastrophic injury and fatal accidents in New York and the Hudson Valley. If you or a loved one has been hurt or worse in a construction accident in New York or Orange County, call Dupée & Monroe, P.C. for a free consultation to explore your options for maximum compensation.

Third-Party Liability Exceeds New York Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation benefits cover an injured worker’s medical expenses and replace two-thirds of the injured worker’s wages while they are out of work and recovering from the injury. Employees can also receive defined amounts for permanent disability suffered as the result of an on-the-job injury.

In a third-party claim, on the other hand, the accident victim can recover compensation for all past and future medical expenses, as well as the full amount of wages lost due to missed work or loss of future earning capacity due to disability. Injured construction workers can also recover significant monetary damages for their pain and suffering, which is something workers’ comp doesn’t address at all.

Getting workers’ compensation can be as simple as filling out a claim form, but recovering from a third party is more complicated, often involving filing a lawsuit. Although most civil claims settle out of court without having to go to trial, having an experienced personal injury attorney represent you, especially one with a successful record of litigating in the courtroom, is key to getting the best settlement from the negligent party’s insurance company.

What Is a Third Party?

Employment is a contractual relationship between employer and employee, and in that context, the employer and employee are the first and second parties to that contractual relationship. A third party, therefore, is another party outside of the relationship who is neither employee nor employer. Construction projects are rife with third parties, and any one of them can be responsible for causing an accident and injury to a worker on-site through their negligence. In the context of the construction industry, these are some of the most common accidents and injuries for which a third party might be responsible:

Ladder falls caused by a worn or defective ladder. The ladder might contain a manufacturing defect, or a company might supply a used ladder that is past its useful life or is the wrong ladder for the job. Defective product liability can also include power tools or forklifts with defective designs or construction that cause them to fail at a critical moment or that lack necessary safety features.

Scaffold collapses. Scaffolds tend to be erected on just about every construction job. Often, third parties are brought in to erect the scaffolds, or they lease the scaffolding equipment to the contractor. Third parties can be liable for scaffolds that are negligently constructed or for providing defective equipment.

Crane collapses. Crane operations are some of the most complex and dangerous activities on a construction site. Careful planning must go into a crane operation, and the crane must be set up safely and correctly before operations even begin. Third parties responsible for erecting or operating cranes can be liable for accidents caused by their negligence.

Motor vehicle accidents. Vendors who drive onto the construction site to deliver materials must take care to look out for the safety of workers on the ground. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury and death for construction workers who get hit by negligent, reckless or distracted drivers. Vendors can also be liable for stacking lumber or other supplies in a negligent manner, when those materials fall and injure a worker in the vicinity.

Premises liability. Construction projects include activities such as demolition, renovation and remodeling. The owner of the property where the project is being conducted has a duty to fix or warn about hazards on the property that could cause a slip and fall, trip and fall, or other premises liability accidents. An exception to liability is where the workers are on-site to repair the hazard itself and are therefore on notice about the dangerous condition.

Construction workers in New York might have other ways to recover compensation after a construction accident in addition to workers’ compensation or third-party liability. Some workers are not employees of the general contractor or a subcontractor. In that case, they are not covered by workers’ comp and can directly sue the party responsible for causing the accident. Unfortunately, construction workers are frequently misclassified as independent contractors when they are actually employees; to combat this, New York law presumes construction workers to be employees, and it’s up to the contractor to prove they aren’t.

Additionally, New York has a powerful law, commonly known as the “scaffold law,” which holds property owners, developers and contractors “absolutely liable” for certain “gravity-related” accidents related to construction and related activities. Gravity-related accidents include falls from heights or being struck by falling objects, which are common hazards on construction sites and leading causes of serious and fatal injuries.

Representing Injured Construction Workers and Their Families in New York and the Hudson Valley

If you have been injured in a construction accident in New York or the Hudson Valley, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal construction accident, the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Dupée & Monroe are here to help you get the compensation you need to deal with the harm which has been done to you. Call our office in Goshen for a free consultation to discuss your claims.

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