Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Sandy Fazili, Esq.
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Construction Accident Lawyers in Rochester, NY

Working at a construction site is associated with a large number of risks. Construction workers are exposed to the elements, they operate heavy machinery and work high off the ground.

In Rochester, New York, construction accidents are not uncommon, and navigating the aftermath can be overwhelming for the victim and their loved ones. This is why the expertise of an experienced Rochester construction accident lawyer becomes essential.

Construction accidents include a wide range of incidents, such as falls from heights, machinery accidents, electrical accidents and so on. Factors such as negligence, inadequate safety measures, poor quality or defective equipment or violations of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations can lead to such accidents.

On this page:

The Role of a Construction Accident Lawyer

A construction accident attorney represents workers who have been injured in construction accidents. Their primary goal is to advocate for the rights of victims and help them get fair compensation for the damages caused by the accident, including, but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Here’s how a construction accident lawyer can help:

  • Legal expertise, guidance and advocacy – A construction accident lawyer has in-depth knowledge of New York’s construction laws, OSHA regulations and liability principles. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the accident, identify responsible parties and determine the legal strategy and the best course of action.
  • Investigation and evidence gathering – Construction accident cases often require a thorough investigation to establish liability and potentially prove negligence. An experienced lawyer will conduct thorough research, gather supporting evidence such as witness statements, accident reports, photos and videos (if applicable) and expert opinions to build a strong case.
  • Navigating complex legal processes – Construction accident cases involve complex legal procedures as well as multiple interested parties, including insurance companies. A construction accident lawyer has the experience of navigating these processes effectively.
  • Maximizing compensation – Victims of construction accidents may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering and potential future care needs.

What to Know About Construction Accident Lawsuits in Rochester, NY

In Rochester, NY, like in many other cities, construction injuries are a significant concern due to the obvious risks associated with construction work.

According to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) report, New York State has high fatality rates associated with construction work compared to the national average. In New York State, construction-related deaths accounted for 24 percent of all worker deaths, which is higher than the national average of 21 percent.

Luckily, recently fatality rates have been decreasing.

New York Labour Laws – Construction Accidents

New York’s protective labor laws ensure that workers are protected from hazards and fairly compensated in the event of injury.

Key labor laws in New York include the following:

  • Section 200 mandates that employers and site owners maintain safe work environments.
  • Section 240, colloquially known as the Scaffolding Law, imposes strict liability on property owners and contractors for height-related risks. Under this law, workers do not have to prove negligence. Instead, liability is automatic if a violation of safety protocols results in an injury.
  • Section 241(6) mandates compliance with all provisions of the New York State Industrial Code, further ensuring safety protocols on construction sites.

New York’s construction labor laws exist to protect the well-being of construction workers.

Main Causes of Accidents on Construction Sites in Rochester, NY

OSHA refers to the most common construction accidents as the Fatal Four. Those include falls, being cought in or in-between objects or equipment, being struck by falling objects or moving machinery and electrocution. These accidents are considered preventable, and can be avoided with proper training and safety measures and techniques in place.

The most common construction accidents in Rochester include:

  1. Falls, trips and slips – Falls from heights, such as ladders, scaffolding, or roofs  are among the most common accidents in construction. Uneven surfaces, debris, spills or bad lighting can lead to slips, trips and falls.
  2. Being struck by falling objects – Workers can be struck by falling or moving objects, including tools and materials (such as bricks).
  3. Being caught in or between objects – Accidents involving being caught up in machinery, equipment or collapsing structures are also unfortunately common.
  4. Electrical accidents – Coming into contact with wires, faulty equipment or improperly handling electrical systems can result in severe injuries or death.
  5. Machinery accidents – Injuries can occur from incorrectly operating heavy machinery or due to malfunctioning equipment.
  6. Overexertion – Strains, sprains and other injuries can result from lifting heavy objects and carrying equipment or materials.
  7.  Burns – Exposure to hot surfaces, chemicals or fires can cause burns, which range from mild to severe.
  8. Respiratory hazards – Inhalation of dust, fumes or toxic substances can lead to respiratory problems and long-term health problems.

If you or your loved one suffered one of the injuries listed above, you need to contact an experienced construction accident lawyer in Rochester, NY. Contact King Law for a free case evaluation.

Infographic listing the most common types of construction accidents in rochester new york.

The main causes of construction accidents include the following:

  1. Poor training – Inadequate or insufficient training on safety procedures, equipment operation instructions and hazard recognition can significantly increase the risk of accidents on construction sites.
  2. Lack of safety protocols – Failure to implement or enforce proper safety protocols and guidelines can lead to serious accidents.
  3. Unsafe work area – Cluttered or obstructed work areas, inadequate lighting, slippery surfaces and unsecured materials or heavy equipment increase the likelihood of accidents occurring.
  4. Faulty equipment – Defective machinery, tools and equipment pose significant danger to construction workers if not maintained and replaced in a timely fashion.
  5. Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) – Failure to provide or control use of PPE, such as hard hats, safety glasses, gloves and harnesses, leaves workers vulnerable to injuries.
  6. Unsafe behavior – Unsafe behavior such as ignoring safety protocols, rushing tasks, joking around and engaging in substance abuse can increase the likelihood of injuries on construction sites.
  7. Communication failures – Ineffective communication among workers and supervisors regarding hazards, order of tasks, specific procedures and timelines can lead to misunderstandings and accidents.
  8. Inadequate risk assessment – Insufficient planning and failure to conduct thorough risk assessments before starting work can result in unforeseen accidents.
  9. Weather conditions – Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, strong winds and extreme temperatures, can create additional safety risks and contribute to accidents on construction sites.

This infographic lists the main causes of accidents at construction sites in rochester new york, and lists the most common injuries that result.

Most Common Types of Injury in Construction

The most common injuries sustained by construction workers in Rochester, NY and all over the US include:

  • Sprains and strains – Injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments that commonly result from overexertion or lifting heavy objects. A subset of these are repetitive motion injuries. A repetitive motion injury is a condition that results from repetitive movements or activities over time, causing damage to muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissues.
  • Fractures – Broken bones can occur due to falls, being struck by heavy objects or accidents involving machinery or equipment. This can also happen due to a physical fight with another worker.
  • Cuts and lacerations – Sharp tools and materials can cause cuts, wounds and lacerations.
  • Bruises – Impact injuries from falls or being struck by objects can result in bruises and/or swelling.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – Head injuries can occur from falls, being struck by objects or accidents involving equipment, leading to concussions or even more severe TBIs.
  • Back injuries – Strain, sprains and other back injuries often result from lifting, moving or handling heavy objects.
  • Burns – Exposure to hot surfaces, chemicals, fires or explosions can cause minor to severe burns.
  • Electrical shock injuries – Contact with wires, faulty electrical systems, or faulty equipment can cause electric shock injuries, including burns, cardiac arrest, or even death.
  • Crush injuries – Accidents involving collapsing structures, machinery or equipment, can result in crush injuries, causing severe trauma.
  • Respiratory problems – Inhalation, especially long-term, of dust, fumes, toxic substances or asbestos can lead to respiratory issues, including long-term lung diseases.

Construction workers who experiences these issues may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. To see if you qualify, contact experienced construction accident attorneys in Rochester, NY. 

What To Do After a Construction Accident in Rochester, NY

If you suffered a construction accident in Rochester, NY, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to ensure your safety, protect your rights and pursue legal action. We recommend that you do the following:

  1. Seek medical help – Prioritize your health by immediately seeking medical attention. Documentm or ask a colleague or a family member to document all medical treatments you undergo. Carefully follow the recommendations of your healthcare provider.
  2. Report the accident – Notify your employer, client or site supervisor about the accident as soon as you can. Ensure that the incident is documented accurately, including the date, time, location, and details of the injuries sustained.
  3. Document evidence – Take photographs or videos of the accident location, including any hazards, equipment involved and resulting injuries. Gather contact information from any witnesses who agree to provide testimony about the accident.
  4. File a workers’ compensation claim – File a claim with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to request compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.
  5. Consult an attorney – Seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney.
  6. If relevant, notify the authorities – Depending on the circumstances and the severity of the accident, you may need to report it to regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the New York Department of Labor.
  7. Document all expenses – Keep detailed records of all expenses including medical bills, rehabilitation costs and lost wages.
  8. If relevant, identify third parties involved – If third-party negligence occurred, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Third parties may include property owners or contractors. In this case you would want to consult a construction accident lawyer. A lawyer can investigate the accident, potentially establish negligence and pursue broader compensation claims.

Determining Liability After a New York Construction Accident

Under New York’s specialized labor laws, including Sections 200, 240 (Scaffolding Law), and 241(6), employers, property owners, contractors and other parties have specific duties to maintain safe work environments and adhere to safety regulations on construction sites. Failure to fulfill these obligations can result in liability for injuries sustained by workers.

Third-party liability

In addition to potential liability of employers and site owners, third parties such as equipment manufacturers, subcontractors, architects, engineers and property managers may also have responsibility for accidents caused by their negligence or defective products they manufactured and sold. Holding these parties accountable requires thorough investigation, evidence gathering, and legal expertise to navigate complex liability issues.

A skilled personal injury attorney with knowledge of New York’s labor laws and construction regulations can assess the circumstances of the accident, identify liable parties and advocate for the rights and interests of the injured worker.

Differences Between Workers’ Compensation Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits are two common ways of seeking compensation for construction accident injuries, but they differ in several key aspects:

AspectWorkers' CompensationPersonal Injury Lawsuits
Fault RequirementGenerally, workers' compensation is a no-fault system. This means that regardless of who caused the injury, the injured worker is entitled to compensation as long as the injury occurred during employment.In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant's negligence caused their injuries.
CompensationWorkers' compensation typically provides compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs and sometimes permanent disability benefits. However, it usually does not provide compensation for pain and suffering.Personal injury lawsuits may provide compensation for a variety of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and loss of enjoyment of life.
Litigation ProcessWorkers' compensation claims are typically handled through the workers' compensation system. There is generally no need for litigation, and disputes are resolved through administrative hearings and settlements negotiated with insurance companies.Personal injury lawsuits are resolved in civil court. The process involves filing a complaint, discovery (exchanging of evidence), settlement negotiations and potentially a trial if the case does not settle.
Limits on RecoveryBenefits under workers' compensation are often subject to statutory limits. These limits vary by state and may cap the amount of compensation a worker can receive for certain types of injuries.In New York state you have 3 years from the injury date to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The amount of compensation is determined based on the severity of the injuries and the impact on the plaintiff's life, amongst other factors.
Third-Party LiabilityIn most cases, if an employee receives workers' compensation benefits, they cannot later sue their employer for additional damages. However, if a third party (someone other than the employer or co-worker) contributed to the injury, the injured worker may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that third party.Plaintiffs can pursue claims against any party whose negligence contributed to their injuries, including employers, product manufacturers, property owners, or other third parties.

Compensation After a Construction Accident

Construction accident victims have two main options for seeking financial compensation: workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits.

Workers’ compensation provides coverage for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, permanent disability compensation and death benefits to eligible workers injured on the job. If this avenue is chosen, there is no need to prove negligence. However, these benefits may not fully address the extent of the victim’s losses.

In contrast, personal injury lawsuits allow victims to pursue additional compensation for medical expenses, full lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and more. This route requires demonstrating negligence on the part of the responsible party, unlike workers’ compensation claims.

Types of Recoverable Damages

The types of damages that a worker can receive following a construction accident are divided into economic and non-economic damages.

  1. Economic damages include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, long-term care expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
  2. Non-economic damages may cover pain and suffering, emotional trauma and loss of consortium. In cases of extreme negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the guilty party and prevent similar accidents in the future.

How to File a Construction Accident Lawsuit in Rochester, NY

Filing a construction accident lawsuit in Rochester, NY can be complicated. We recommend that you start with ensuring you have legal representation.

  1. Consult a construction accident attorney – Find a reputable construction accident attorney in Rochester and schedule a consultation. Together you will decide on the most suitable course of action.
  2. Present your lawyer with evidence and gather additional evidence if needed – Gather all evidence related to the accident, including photographs, witness statements and medical records and bills.
  3. Identify liable parties – In New York State it is possible to sue one’s employer only in exceptional circumstances. Most of the time, in order to be compensated, workers must file a workers’ compensation claim. However, it is possible to sue third parties responsible for the accident.Determine third parties (if any) who should be held accountable for your injuries. This could include the property owner, equipment manufacturers, or other third parties. Your attorney will help you identify potential defendants and assess their liability.
  4. Submit legal paperwork – Your lawyer will prepare and file a complaint and support you through all the stages of your legal journey.

First, your lawyer will serve the defendants with a copy of the complaint. Then, during the discovery phase, both parties will gather evidence and exchange information.

Eventually, your lawyer will negotiate with the defendants and their insurance companies to reach a fair settlement. If a settlement isn’t reached, the case may go to trial.

Statute of Limitations for Construction Accident Lawsuits in Rochester, NY

When filing a construction accident lawsuit, there are critically important timeframes to keep track of. Make sure you pay attention to the following deadlines for to ensure compensation:

  1. You need to notify employer within 30 days of your injury.
  2. You will have 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim after notifying the employer.
  3. You will have 3 years from the injury date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
  4. If your loved one died as result of a construction accident, you have 2 years from the death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
  5. If you sustained an injury or illness from long-term exposure to hazardous substances, you have 3 years from discovery date to file a lawsuit.  for injuries or illnesses from long-term exposure.
  6. If you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit against a city, county, town or village in New York or the state of New York, it must be filed within 1 year and 90 days of the accident. However, in order to file a civil lawsuit, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident.

Rochester Construction Accident Lawyer Costs and Fees

In Rochester, NY construction accident lawyers typically offer contingency fees, which means they provide legal representation without upfront payment.

Under this arrangement, clients do not pay attorney fees unless they receive compensation. If compensation is granted, the attorney’s fees are calculated as a percentage of the total recovery. A common fee in New York State is ⅓ of the sum granted, which is equal to roughly 33% of the settlement amount.

Contact a Rochester Construction Accident Attorney

Construction accident cases involve complex legal processes, including navigating New York’s specialized labor laws, determining liability and assessing the full extent of damages sustained by the plaintiff. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide guidance and support throughout the legal process.

Our team at King Law has years of experience with personal injury lawsuits, offering expert legal support and personal attention. Get in touch and receive a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often do accidents occur in construction in Rochester, NY?
Construction accidents in New York state are not uncommon, and Rochester is no exception. According to NYCOSH, over the past ten years, an average of 50 workers died each year in New York State.
What are the main causes of accidents in construction in Rochester, NY?
Falls, trips and slips are the most common causes of injury in construction. Moreover, according to the United States Department of Labor, falls  accounted for 35.3% of the workplace deaths within construction and extraction occupations in 2020.
How long do construction accident lawsuits take in Rochester, NY?
Construction injury cases can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to reach conclusion.
What are the statute of limitations for construction accident lawsuits in Rochester, NY?
First of all, you must notify employer within 30 days of your injury. After that you will have 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim and 3 years from the injury date to file a personal injury lawsuit. Because this can be difficult to navigate it is advisable to consult a personal injury lawyer.
How do you pick the right Rochester construction accident attorney?
Make sure the firm you’re working with has a good reputation. Check if they have online presence and reviews. Book a consultation and see if you feel comfortable talking to them.
How do you claim medical damages after a construction accident in Rochester, NY?
There are two routes you can choose from. You can either file for workers’ compensation and choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, like an architect, property owner or equipment manufacturer.
How is fault determined in a construction accident?
In construction accidents, fault is usually determined based on negligence. This means that you need to prove that a party neglected their duties to provide a safe working environment, which resulted in an injury.
Who can I sue after a construction accident in Rochester, NY?
In the state of New York you can’t sue your employer, so in order to start a personal injury lawsuit you need to have evidence that a third party was at fault.
What do I do after a construction accident at work?
After receiving medical treatment, gather the evidence and reach out to a personal injury lawyer for a consultation.