Construction site injuries are very common in New York. Since many workers have limited English proficiency, they may not understand complicated safety directions which they only get in English. Furthermore, the construction environment in the Big Apple is very competitive. A few dollars could be the difference between making money or losing money, and workplace safety is a tempting place to cut corners.
For these and other reasons, it’s very important to protect yourself after a construction injury. Here are a few ways to do just that.
File a Claim Immediately
Very strict time deadlines apply in workers’ compensation cases, and courts very rarely grant exceptions. Typically, an injured worker must file an initial claim within ten days of the illness or injury. These claims must be written in English and must be filed with a supervisor.
This rule gets a little tricky in construction site occupational disease cases, such as back pain from repetitive lifting. Generally, it’s a good idea to file such claims immediately after you receive a medical diagnosis, even if the doctor does not immediately connect your condition with your occupation. You can always revise or rescind the claim later, and you cannot face discrimination for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Document Your Claim
Construction site injury victims in New York do not have to prove fault to obtain compensation for their lost wages, medical bills, and other economic losses. However, it’s still very important to gather as much information as possible.
Insurance company lawyers usually do not deny fault, but they often try to minimize the victims’ injuries or claim that the treatments they received weren’t medically necessary. To refute these future claims, it’s good to have evidence like:
- Witness statements that include a cell phone number or other non-work contact information,
- Accident or incident reports,
- Medical records, including medical consulting records, and
- Diary or journal entries that reflect your pain and suffering.
Even if this evidence is not 100 percent favorable, it’s important for an attorney to know that it exists.
Many New York construction bosses promise to pay medical bills with cash under the table if the victims do not file workers’ compensation claims. This arrangement always turns out badly for workers.
Since the claim does not get reported, government regulators probably have no idea that there is a problem. The workplace remains unsafe and more people are at risk. As for the individual, by the time the employer reneges on this promise, it’s probably too late to file claim and the victim receives nothing.
Don’t Face It Alone
Workers’ compensation benefits are approaching historically low levels at a time when both medical bills and the overall cost of living are increasing rapidly. There are financial benefits available, but a victim needs an aggressive attorney to claim them. The insurance company will not simply give the money away.
Most victims receive money for emergency care, follow-up treatment, physical rehabilitation and all other medical expenses, along with two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of their disabilities.
Laying the foundation for a successful workers’ compensation claim is the best way to obtain the benefits your family needs.