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Construction Accident FAQ

If I’m injured while working on a construction site, can I get more than just worker’s compensation?

Yes.  Although worker’s compensation laws prohibit you from suing your employer directly, you may bring a lawsuit against the owner of the site and the general contractor even if they had nothing to do with causing your injury.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is a statement given under oath, usually done in a lawyer’s office before a court reporter. Witnesses called to testify in a deposition answer questions posed by the attorneys representing both parties in a construction accident case. The court reporter produces a written transcript of everything said at the deposition and the witnesses read and sign the transcript, swearing it to be an accurate rendition of the evidence given under oath. If you or any witnesses on your side have to give a deposition in your case, your New York construction accident lawyer will prepare you beforehand and defend you during the deposition.

What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is a witness who has specific knowledge of a particular field that is generally greater than what is known by an average layperson. An expert is usually permitted to testify to his/her opinion. A layperson can testify only as to the facts in question. In medical malpractice, doctors are typically called to testify as experts. In a construction accident case an accident reconstruction expert may be called to testify as to what and how the accident occurred.

What does it mean to settle a construction accident case?

Settling a construction accident case means that you agree to accept money in return for dismissing your construction accident injury claim against the person or entity that injured you. You’ll sign documents releasing the other side of any further liability. To help you decide whether to accept the settlement offer, your construction accident lawyer will try to provide a realistic assessment of whether a personal injury lawsuit based on your construction accident injury claim has merit and may be successful, a range of possible verdict amounts, and how long it may take to get through trial. Settlement can also take place at any point in a personal injury lawsuit, including before trial or even after a construction accident case has been tried but before a jury reaches a verdict and after trial while the case is on appeal.

What are punitive damages?

In addition to compensating victims for injuries, lost wages and future considerations, punitive damages can be awarded to penalize a defendant whose conduct is deemed to be particularly outrageous. In cases of negligence, punitive damages are typically awarded only when the defendant’s conduct proved to be “reckless” or “willful and wanton.”

I am not happy with the lawyer handing my case and want to replace him.  Can I simply fire him and retain another lawyer?

Yes, you have a right to replace your lawyer at any time. As a client, you are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times, to have your questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner, and to have telephone calls returned quickly. If you are dissatisfied with the legal representation you are currently receiving, you can withdraw from the attorney-client relationship and seek another construction accident lawyer. In a personal injury action, your decision to hire another attorney will typically not subject you to higher fees.

How long should I wait before contacting a New York State construction accident lawyer?

The sooner a construction accident lawyer can start working for you, the better. You have only a certain amount of time to go to court, and if you wait too long, you may be barred from bringing a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to obtain the evidence you need to support your construction accident case. If you have submitted your claim to an insurance company, the insurance adjuster you are dealing with may have settled hundreds of cases in the past year alone. He or she is highly trained at negotiations. It is important to be very careful and cautious when talking with an insurance adjuster; you may need a construction accident lawyer to help you through the process.

Do I have to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster?

Some insurance contracts do have cooperation clauses.  You may not, however, be obligated to give a recorded statement. If you do, it may be used against you. Whenever you give a recorded statement, be sure to ask for a copy of the transcript.

What is informed consent?

Some insurance contracts do have cooperation clauses.  You may not, however, be obligated to give a recorded statement. If you do, it may be used against you. Whenever you give a recorded statement, be sure to ask for a copy of the transcript.

Who is responsible for ensuring safe condition at the construction site?

The property owner, general contractor and subcontractors (and in some cases safety inspectors) are responsible for ensuring the safety of construction workers. The extent of each party’s responsibility will vary depending on your construction accident case. New York State law is very protective of construction workers, particularly those who work at heights requiring ladders and scaffolds.

I’ve gone back to work.  I can’t do the kind of work I was doing before because of my injuries, but I need the money to support my family.  Do I still have a construction accident injury claim?

You may still have a claim if your injuries are preventing you from earning as much money as before the construction accident injury, or they have forced you to take work that does not have the same potential for advancement and salary increases later on. In fact, you may still have a construction accident injury claim even if you are earning the same wages as before the accident.

Do I need a New York State construction accident lawyer to handle my construction accident injury claim?

Yes, we believe that is the best way to proceed. Construction accident cases are very complex. Your construction accident injury claim may involve legal issues regarding liability, compliance with safety regulations, engineering, indemnity and the amount of damages. A lawyer who is experienced in the area of New York State construction accident law will help ensure that you receive the legal remedy to which you are entitled.