During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City, all non-essential construction work was placed on hold. It is only a relatively recent development that construction projects are allowed to move forward, and many construction workers throughout the city have only been back to work since June. Indeed, all non-essential construction work was shut down from March 27 until June 8. As a result of the lack of construction work in New York, the overall rate of construction accidents has declined this year in comparison to previous years, according to an article in Sun News. But does this shift in the total number of construction accidents actually correspond to safer construction sites? Based on the COVID-19 closures and the rate of construction accidents in the months surrounding the shutdown, the data suggests that construction accident injuries continue to occur at an unacceptable rate.
Construction Accident Injuries Have Declined in New York City
Between July 2019 and June 2020—a period that includes the approximately two and a half months in which non-essential construction projects were shut down in the city—construction accidents declined by a total of 19%. Indeed, between July 2018 and June 2019, there were a total of 646 construction injuries reported in New York. In that same period from 2019 to 2020, only 534 construction accident injuries were reported. A total of eight construction workers were killed in accidents in and around the city from July 2019 to June 2020.
Although the Department of Buildings (DOB) implemented Local Law 196, a law that requires a specific amount of safety training for construction workers, it is not yet clear whether the requirements under that law are having a positive effect on construction site safety. The law has only been implemented in part, with the second deadlines extended until March 1, 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.
Filing a Construction Accident Claim
If you are injured in a construction accident in New York, what are your options? Many construction workers who get hurt on the job can be eligible to seek financial compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. While workers’ comp is an exclusive remedy in most workplace injury situations, construction accidents are handled a bit differently under New York law. In addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits, construction workers may be eligible to file a claim against a negligent employer under New York Labor Law.
Several sections of New York Labor Law specifically require construction site employers to provide certain safety equipment and to take steps to ensure the safety of workers. Accordingly, when an employer’s negligence results in a construction accident, that employer may be liable under New York Labor Law.
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney in New York
It is critical to seek advice from a New York construction accident lawyer about your options for obtaining compensation after a serious injury. From workers’ compensation claims to lawsuits under New York Labor Law, our experienced New York construction accident attorneys can assist you. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information about filing a construction accident claim.