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Workers Compensation in the Construction Industry

Abogado Christopher J. Gorayeb

When a construction worker undergoes an accident, their initial concern often revolves around the possibility of receiving workers’ compensation. This compensation may be sought from either their direct employer or the contractor who subcontracted them for the specific job.

Navigating the aftermath of a construction accident can be daunting for workers as questions about entitlement to workers’ compensation arise. The injured party must assess whether they can seek compensation from their direct employer or the contractor who subcontracted them for the job, adding a layer of complexity to an already challenging situation.

In this regard, it is important to know that 49 states in the United States, including New York, require employers to enroll their workers in the Workers’ Compensation Program, which typically offers two types of benefits to victims of workplace accidents:

1. Coverage of medical expenses

This benefit is intended to ensure that injured workers do not have to pay for their medical expenses and it covers bills related to:

  • Ambulance transportation:
    Immediate response and transportation in the aftermath of a workplace accident are vital. Workers’ compensation covers the costs associated with ambulance services, ensuring that injured workers receive prompt and efficient medical attention.
  • Hospitalization days
    In cases where hospitalization is required for the treatment of injuries sustained in a workplace accident, workers’ compensation extends its coverage to encompass the associated hospitalization expenses, including room charges, medical procedures, and nursing care.
  • Surgeries
    When surgical intervention becomes necessary to address injuries, workers’ compensation covers the costs associated with surgical procedures. This includes surgeon fees, operating room expenses, and post-operative care.
  • X-rays
    Diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, is an essential component of evaluating and diagnosing injuries. Workers’ compensation ensures coverage for the expenses related to X-rays, facilitating thorough examinations to determine the extent of injuries.
  • Medical personnel fees
    Beyond surgical procedures, medical consultations with specialists and healthcare professionals are often required for comprehensive care. Workers’ compensation includes coverage for fees associated with medical personnel, ensuring access to specialized expertise.
  • Clinical studies
    In some cases, clinical studies or specialized medical tests may be necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. Workers’ compensation extends its coverage to include the costs associated with participating in relevant clinical studies.
  • Laboratory visits
    Laboratory tests are integral to the diagnostic process and ongoing medical monitoring. Workers’ compensation covers the expenses related to laboratory visits, allowing for thorough assessments and necessary follow-up testing.
  • Consultations
    Regular consultations with healthcare providers are crucial for monitoring the progress of recovery and adjusting treatment plans as needed. Workers’ compensation includes coverage for consultation fees, ensuring ongoing medical guidance.
  • Rehabilitation therapy
    Rehabilitation therapy plays a vital role in the recovery process, particularly for those who have sustained injuries that require physical or occupational therapy. Workers’ compensation covers the costs associated with rehabilitation sessions, promoting a comprehensive approach to recovery.

By encompassing a wide array of medical expenses, the Coverage of Medical Expenses benefit under workers’ compensation strives to provide injured workers with the necessary financial support to access quality healthcare and facilitate a smoother path to recovery.

2. Reimbursement for a percentage of lost wages

When a construction worker experiences an accident, the injuries may prevent them from working for a period (and in the case of catastrophic injuries, the disability may be permanent). In such cases, reimbursement is provided for a percentage of the wages the worker misses during their recovery period.

These benefits must be received by any victim of a workplace injury enrolled in the Workers’ Compensation Program, regardless of whether the employer was responsible for the accident. It’s essential to note that the worker forfeits the right to sue their employer for the accident by receiving these benefits.

Although New York law requires employers to enroll all their employees in the Workers’ Compensation Program, in the construction industry, workers often work under contractors who are responsible for subcontracting them.

In these cases, the contractor, not the construction company, is responsible for the subcontracted workers and must also provide compensation insurance or workers’ compensation for construction in case of a workplace accident. Unfortunately, there are instances where this does not happen, leaving many construction workers vulnerable and potentially compromising their financial situation.

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What Is the Role of a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in the United States, such as those at Gorayeb & Associates, assist construction workers who have suffered accidents in handling their cases through actions such as:

  1. Thoroughly examine the employment contract, insurance policy, employment benefits, and the injured worker’s compensation plan to determine their validity and advise on the correct process to meet all requirements on time.
  2. Advising the victim on the appropriate medical care for their specific injuries (sometimes, workplace medical insurance may only cover certain medical service providers, and a workers’ compensation lawyer can help demonstrate that the injuries require the attention of other medical specialists).
  3. Determining if there are elements in the construction accident to pursue a claim or lawsuit (although the injured worker cannot sue the employer, they can sue a third party found responsible, such as the contractor, a coworker, or a private individual).
  4. Resolving any doubts the client may have and maintaining an honest, empathetic, and open dialogue, providing clear and precise information about all legal options available in their case.
  5. If there are grounds to sue a third party, an experienced construction accident lawyer from Gorayeb can:
    • Gather evidence to establish the cause of the accident.
    • Collect evidence that can help reconstruct the circumstances in which the accident occurred, such as recordings or photographs and witness testimonies.
    • Calculate the amount of compensation to be claimed, considering the severity of the injuries and the pain and suffering the accident caused to the victim (including any emotional and psychological injuries, such as depression, anxiety, or mental stress).
    • Negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company for compensation. If necessary, the case goes to court, and the lawyers work to win it in a trial.

How to Get Workers Compensation and How Can a Lawyer Obtain More Benefits for the Worker?

A construction worker who has had a workplace accident cannot risk hiring the wrong law firm, as this can result in missing the opportunity to receive fair construction workers’ compensation.

Here are two of the most important factors to consider when selecting the right legal team to handle your workplace accident case:

  1. The legal firm should be able to communicate in your preferred language. In the attorney-client relationship, clear communication without interpreters is essential. That’s why the legal team at Gorayeb & Associates speaks Spanish. However, it’s not just about speaking the same language; it’s about understanding cultural needs and concerns. At Gorayeb & Associates, we are part of the Latino community in New York, and we often organize activities aimed at defending their rights and providing technical training to construction workers.
  2. Lawyers must have demonstrable extensive experience in winning cases similar to yours. The easiest way to verify this experience is by looking for testimonials from satisfied clients and examples of successful cases. Two areas where the legal excellence of Gorayeb & Associates’ attorneys stands out are that we have won over a billion dollars for our clients and have dominated construction workers’ compensation cases in New York for 35 years.

Ensuring that the legal team you hire speaks Spanish and has experience in winning cases like yours can make the difference between winning and losing your case. The difference can be as significant as illustrated in the following example:

  • A driver who had consumed alcohol struck two construction workers due to poorly marked roadwork.
  • One of the injured workers hired Gorayeb & Associates and won $6.5 million in compensation.
  • His coworker hired another law firm with less experience and received only $80,000.

In What Types of Accidents Can Construction Workers Receive Benefits?

The nature of construction work introduces a list of potential dangers, ranging from falls and equipment malfunctions to hazardous material exposures. Given this complex landscape, a classification of accidents becomes necessary for both safety management and effective response strategies.

Accidents at construction sites can be broadly categorized into distinct classes based on their causes. Among the areas of practice that the lawyers at Gorayeb & Associates specialize in are:

  • Scaffolding accident lawyers
  • Chainsaw accident lawyers
  • Eye injury accident lawyers
  • Roofing accident lawyers
  • Roof collapse accident lawyers
  • Building demolition accident lawyers
  • Falling material or object accident lawyers
  • Fall accidents on construction sites lawyers
  • 18-wheeler truck accident lawyers
  • Forklift accident lawyers
  • Staircase accident lawyers
  • Excavation accident lawyers
  • Truck accident lawyers
  • Machinery accident lawyers
  • Bus accident lawyers
  • Window cleaning accident lawyers
  • Construction elevator accident lawyers
  • Crane accident lawyers

Can an Undocumented Worker Receive Compensation for a Workplace Accident?

Addressing the question of whether an undocumented worker can receive compensation for a workplace accident brings attention to New York’s inclusive legal framework. In particular, Section 17 of Article 2 of the Workers’ Compensation Law unequivocally establishes that the right to compensation is not contingent upon immigration status.

This means that any worker regardless of their documentation status, who sustains an injury in a workplace accident in New York is entitled to seek and receive workers’ compensation benefits. This provision reflects a commitment to ensuring the well-being and protection of all workers, emphasizing that the legal entitlement to compensation transcends immigration considerations in the state of New York.

How Much Does Hiring the Construction Accident Lawyers at Gorayeb & Associates Cost?

When a worker suffers an accident, they do not have to pay anything out of their own pocket to hire Gorayeb & Associates’ workers’ compensation lawyers. This is due to a fee structure designed to protect the victim’s financial situation, which works as follows:

  • Firstly, when you hire our lawyers, there’s no requirement for an upfront payment.
  • Our legal team invests its resources into building and pursuing the case.
  • In the event of a successful outcome, our lawyers are compensated with a percentage of the final compensation received by the victim. This aligns our interests with yours, emphasizing our commitment to securing the best possible outcome for our clients.
  • Should the case not yield a favorable result, our lawyers do not receive any fees. This approach underscores our dedication to providing financial protection and relief for individuals grappling with the consequences of workplace accidents, ensuring that our legal services are accessible and supportive during challenging times.

Gorayeb & Associates’ Lawyers Are the Best Choice to Win Your Workers’ Compensation Case

If you’ve sustained an injury in a construction accident and are seeking advice on workers’ compensation, reach out to us today or complete the form for a complimentary consultation. Gorayeb & Associates boasts over 35 years of expertise in successfully handling cases similar to yours. Our legal team is fluent in Spanish, and our availability spans every hour, every day of the year. Trust our dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers to collaborate with you in pursuing justice for your case.

Abogado Christopher J. Gorayeb

Information verified by Attorney Christopher J. Gorayeb

Founder of Gorayeb & Associates, P.C.

As one of the most preeminent personal injury lawyers in New York City, Christopher J. Gorayeb brings over 35 years of experience in litigating construction accident cases to the law firm.

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