“Construction sites are extremely dangerous,” says Hach & Rose, LLP partner George W. Ilchert. And he should know, as he’s helped generations of injured construction workers over the course of his 30 years in practice. But George is quick to point out a silver lining for those who get hurt in construction accidents in the Empire State. “Fortunately, in the State of New York, we have the strongest laws in the country to protect our workers. In the unfortunate event someone is injured due to someone’s fault, our legal system allows for the worker to obtain full compensation for their injuries, lost wages, and benefits.”
What you do in the aftermath of a construction accident can have a considerable effect on your ability to recover this compensation, though. So with that in mind, George lays out the steps you can take to safeguard your right to compensation after a construction accident.
1. Seek Medical Treatment
If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, immediately visit the emergency room or an urgent care center. If the injury is less immediately perilous, you can arrange an appointment with a doctor who accepts the workers’ compensation billing schedule. The state’s database of healthcare providers can help you find a treating physician. Unlike some states, New York does not give your employer the right to select your doctor.
2. Inform Your Employer About the Accident
Notify your employer about what happened as soon after the accident as possible. New York’s workers’ compensation laws give employees 30 days to notify their employers of on-the-job injuries. Failing to report the injury within the required timeframe could cause you to lose your right to workers’ comp benefits. Furthermore, timely reporting creates a formal record of the incident, which can help protect you if there are any disputes about when, where, or how the injury occurred.
You should also file Form C-3 – also known as an employee claim form – with the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board. You have up to two years from the date of the injury to do so. An experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with this step – more on that in a moment.
3. Save Any Evidence from the Accident
Any evidence you can gather from the scene can help you substantiate your claim. It can also be helpful should you have grounds to file a lawsuit to pursue additional compensation. Take photos of the conditions where the accident occurred and any signs of insufficient safety equipment. Eyewitness accounts can provide a firsthand narrative of the incident, corroborating your account of what transpired. Try to get the names and contact info of any coworkers or bystanders who saw the accident occur.
4. Hire an Experienced and Capable Construction Accident Attorney
An experienced New York construction accident lawyer can serve as a critical ally during a difficult time. This field of law is complex, especially given New York’s so-called “scaffolding law.” A seasoned attorney can review your case and determine the various potential options available to you, file paperwork and communicate with insurance companies on your behalf, and protect your rights while you rest and recuperate. And the sooner you get in touch with them, the more they can do for you.
Taking action quickly after a construction accident is paramount to protecting your rights and securing the money you need. George and the rest of the team at Hach & Rose, LLP have extensive experience with these cases and will work tirelessly for fair compensation for your injuries through a workers’ comp claim or a lawsuit. Call us at (212) 779-0057 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation.