Lever & Ecker, PLLC March 2, 2017 Construction Accidents
Just days after a vigil was held to honor construction workers who were killed on the job in New York, during which union leaders stressed the need for safer workplaces, emergency crews had to rush a man who fell fifteen feet into a hole on a construction site to the hospital.
Several ambulances and fire trucks were called to the construction site where the injured worker fell and became trapped. It took them nearly an hour to reach him and then maneuver him out of the dangerous area. Although he was listed in stable condition at the hospital a short time later, a witness stated that he may have broken both of his legs.
The job site is where a 21-story apartment building is being constructed and one where dozens of workers spend their day. There has been no indication as to what may have caused the worker to fall or if the Department of Buildings has decided to investigate.
With a booming economy, construction work is in high demand. New buildings and remodeling work on existing structures can be seen all over the state of New York. Unfortunately, with the high demand, there comes a push from many employers who make saving their company time and money more important than keeping employees safe.
Not only did the recent vigil honor the 29 construction workers who died on the job in 2016, the group which gathered hoped to make a statement that most of the accidents that hurt and kill employees can be easily prevented. “These are unskilled laborers that need to be trained,” said Garen Arsanian, who works as a representative of Construction & General Building Laborers’ Local 79.
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for a young, healthy worker to become so seriously injured that they are unable to continue on in their chosen profession. For many, the only way they can afford to pay their bills is to go through workers’ compensation and social security disability, but even there, employers can make the process difficult.
Workers’ compensation, which is supposed to be a “no-fault” insurance that will cover a worker’s injuries no matter what, is surprisingly difficult to obtain.
The insurance was designed to protect workers – even undocumented ones – who are injured on the job. It’s no secret that the medical treatments needed after a serious injury are expensive and a worker should not have to suffer financially when they are hurt and unable to work. In return, it also keeps employers safe because it prevents an employee from filing a personal injury claim against them. Yet every day, legitimate claims are denied outright.
When you combine insurance companies who are more focused on making money for the company than helping people and employers who don’t want to see an increase in insurance premiums due to multiple claims, the results can be disastrous for those who need help the most.
Denials are issued for a variety of reasons, including mistakes made on a confusing claim form, an employer contesting the claim, or missing medical information. Once issued, an appeal can be made, but this can take more than a year to reach completion.
New York lawmakers are in the process of creating new laws which will increase the safety of workers in all industries but especially construction. However, one area that many believe should be a top priority is actually enforcing those laws. There are hundreds of safety laws regarding construction, however, many employers choose not to follow them and get away with it.
If properly enforced, employers who chose to not follow the law may face severe penalties, including heavy fine, a revoked licenses, and even jail time.