What Are Your Rights in a Construction Site Accident?

Construction site accidents sometimes injure workers but can also injure pedestrians walking by a site. Knowing your legal rights can help you figure out what to do when your injury is serious or a loved one died as a result of the accident. The following are some frequently asked questions about construction site accidents.

As a construction worker, can I sue the contractor or property owner if conditions were unsafe?

While you cannot sue your employer (based on workers compensation law), you can sue other negligent third parties. You can sue manufacturer for producing faulty equipment, if it caused your injury. Under the New York Scaffold Law, property owners and their agents along with contractors and subcontractors are liable if workers suffer injury resulting from a fall from heights or falling objects. Situations vary and every case is different. By discussing your accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can find out what laws apply to your particular situation.

What legal rights does a pedestrian walking by a construction site have, if injured?

Your lawyer can sue on grounds of negligence if unsafe construction site conditions resulted in your injury. Examples of negligence would be if you were struck by falling debris or fell into a trench due to the area not being roped off or due to a lack of warning signs. When construction sites are non-compliant with OSHA regulations, this is an indication of negligence and may provide grounds for a lawsuit.

However, if you contributed to the accident, your recovery would be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were texting on a cell phone and not paying attention and fell into a trench, the court would determine what percentage of fault you had in causing the accident.

How long do you have to file a lawsuit?

In New York, you have up to three years from the date of your accident. However, if you are bringing a lawsuit against the city, state or federal government, your deadline for suing is much shorter. If you do not file within the time limit, you lose your legal right to sue.

When should you seek legal help?

After you receive medical treatment, seek legal help as soon as possible. If you are injured or a loved one has died as a result of a construction accident or unsafe building, an experienced personal injury lawyer can explain your prospects for taking legal action.