Understanding Third-Party Liability Claims for NY Construction Accidents
- April 28, 2016
While recent news reports have highlighted the rising number of construction-related deaths in New York City, big city construction workers are not the only ones who face dangerous – and potentially deadly – risks on a daily basis. Construction jobs are among the most dangerous in the country, and due to the high number of construction-related fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has even developed a list of the “Fatal Four” most-common causes of construction worker deaths.
In most cases, injured construction workers and family members of construction workers who have been killed on the job can seek workers’ compensation benefits through their employer. In New York, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that requires employers to pay benefits regardless of fault; however, the benefits available are extremely limited in comparison to the damages available through a claim for personal injury or wrongful death. As a result, in order to receive full compensation for their losses, construction workers and their families must often pursue what is known as a “third-party liability claim.”
Third-Party Liability for Construction Injuries and Deaths
In a third-party liability claim, construction workers and their family members can seek financial compensation for any medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses that they incur as a result of a construction site accident. However, unlike a workers’ compensation claim, in order to pursue a third-party liability claim, it is necessary to establish some sort of fault on the part of the third party.
Who is a Third Party?
In a construction accident case, a third party is any person or company other than the construction worker’s employer and, generally speaking, its employees. There are often numerous third parties involved in construction projects. These may include:
- The property’s owner
- Management companies
- Architects and engineers
- Contractors and subcontractors
- Tool, equipment, and machinery manufacturers
If one of these or any other person or company made a mistake that led to your injury or your loved one’s death, you may be eligible to file a third-party liability claim.
What are Common Third-Party Liability Claims?
There are too many potential third-party liability claims to list them all here. However, some common examples of fault that can justify claims for compensation include the following:
- Designing unsafe bracing and structures
- Erecting unsafe scaffolding
- Errors during the operation of trucks, cranes, and other material handling equipment
- Failing to install proper guard rails
- Failing to provide adequate safety equipment
- Failing to provide adequate training to employees
- Supplying tools, ladders, and other equipment that have not been properly maintained
In addition, oftentimes, defective tools, safety harnesses, and other equipment will be to blame. When a product defect causes an injury, the product’s manufacturer and any other third parties in the chain of distribution can be held liable, as well.
As you can see, in a construction site accident, there are potentially numerous grounds for victims and their families to seek rightful compensation. In some cases, victims can have claims against multiple third parties. Understanding your rights requires a prompt, thorough investigation, and the help of an experienced attorney who can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve.
Speak with a Construction Accident Lawyer at Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a construction accident in New York, we invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. To speak with an attorney at our offices in Poughkeepsie or Wappingers Falls, call (866) 290-6929 or request an appointment online today.