You should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for virtually all on-the-job injuries in New York – regardless of whether your employer did anything wrong. Even if you were negligent, you may still be able to claim workers’ comp benefits.
Timely action on your part, however, is critical to protecting your right to workers’ compensation. Here’s what you should do if you are injured on the job at a New York City construction site, according to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board:
- Receive medical treatment as soon as possible.
In non-emergency situations, the treating healthcare provider must be authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. If your employer participates in a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program (employers are required to notify their employees of participation in one of these programs), you may need to seek treatment from a participating provider. Diagnostic testing and prescription medication may also need to be obtained from a provider contracted with your employer.
- Report your injury to your employer right away.
You have 30 days from the date of the accident to inform your employer, in writing, of the injurious incident and how it occurred. If you suffer an occupational illness, it must be reported within two years after falling ill, or within two years of the time you know or should have known that the illness was related to your job, whichever is later.
- Complete Form C-3.
Within 2 years of the date of your injury or illness, fill out the form and mail it to your local Workers’ Compensation Board office to initiate your workers’ comp claim.
Talk to a Lawyer Before Submitting Paperwork
Your health is the most important consideration, so be sure to receive all necessary medical treatment.
You do have a grace period—although a limited one—before you need to formally document your injury or illness and begin the workers’ comp claims process. It’s worth speaking with a lawyer before you submit any paperwork to make sure your interests are protected.
Third-Party Lawsuits in NYC Construction Accidents
A lawyer can also help you figure out if a third-party injury lawsuit (against a person or company other than your employer) may be filed.
New York Labor Laws offer special protections to construction workers who are injured on the job, but your own negligence—real or perceived—could offset any liability on the part of a third party. Don’t make any statements or sign any documents admitting fault, as these actions could reduce the amount of compensation you can recover through a lawsuit.
An exception to this rule is provided under New York Labor Law Section 240 (the so-called “scaffold law”). The scaffold law states that contractors and property owners bear absolute liability for gravity-related hazards (such as falling objects, falling workers and collapsing structures). This means that you may not have to prove that a contractor or property owner was negligent in order to bring a lawsuit for damages against them.
Despite the unique worker protections afforded by New York’s Labor Laws, it is in your best interest to make no statement and sign no paperwork without first speaking with an attorney.
A construction site accident lawyer at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can advise you on your legal rights and options during a free consultation and claim review. Call us now or contact us online to get started.