Dinkes & Schwitzer Explains What to Do after an Accident at a Construction Site

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Brave construction workers are likely to ignore minor accidents and injuries at work, usually because they do not know about their rights. Here, Dinkes & Schwitzer explain some tips that might help construction workers to protect their rights after an accident.

Dinkes & Schwitzer PC

Dinkes & Schwitzer

Construction workers have 30 days to report an injury, that is why Dinkes and Schwitzer lawyers always urge injured workers to immediately report to their employer or supervisor, any type of injury they may sustain on the job.

- John Merlino

1.    Report the accident:

There is a 30 day window to report an accident. Shaking off an injury might be instinctual, but ultimately detrimental when complications later arise or the initial damage grows progressively worse - but they have missed the 30-day window of opportunity to report the incident outlined in New York State Workers' Compensation law.

That's why Dinkes & Schwitzer lawyers always urge injured workers to immediately report to their employer or supervisor any type of injury they may sustain on the job.

Many workers falsely labor under the misconception, or are sometimes indirectly misled by their employer, that they must provide written notice about an injury sustained on the job. This simply is not the case. This is more prevalent with construction site accidents, where construction workers are worried to file so not to risk the misnomer of being fired or “black listed” from being hired in the construction industry.

2.    Go to the doctor:

All workers injured on the job should immediately give notice verbally. A construction worker then should follow up in writing by sending a letter to the employer informing them that he/she was indeed injured on the job. The worker also needs to learn the employer's compensation carrier so that his/her doctor knows who to bill. After that, it's hard for any supervisor or employer to claim they were not properly notified about an injury.

3.    Fill the "C3" form with the Workers' Compensation Board

The next thing that injured workers need to do is consult a lawyer and file what is known as a "C3" form with the Workers' Compensation Board. Injured workers have two years from the date of an accident to file this form. While the C3 is easily obtainable online, it's important to consult with an attorney because providing needless details could hurt a claim for benefits by having a third party considered culpable, under New York State Law. Dinkes and Schwitzer lawyer provide counseling and answer all the questions that a worker might have about his/her rights.

Surprisingly, a lot of workers will satisfy the notice issue, but then never follow up. They never actually file a claim. They don't seek medical treatment. They don't do anything. Construction workers need to know that there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim.

4.    Claim a compensation on time, do not wait too long:

Grinning and bearing an injury is especially common in the building trades where workers naturally become more resilient to pain. These hard-working men and women, however, may be putting themselves at a disadvantage because of the constant pace of their physical activity could, for a time, actually mask the severity of their injury. Someone might trip over an air hose and injure a knee. But they brush it off and continue to work because they have a mortgage, school tuition, or other pressing financial obligations to honor (wage replacement under Workers' Compensation is only two-thirds of their weekly gross salary with a current weekly cap of $792.07 per week).

Now, suppose that same worker is suddenly laid off due to the recession. More time passes at home, and suddenly the pain is more severe and it becomes impossible to ignore the injury any longer. If the 30-day window has expired without providing notice to an employer; then the injured worker in this scenario will find collecting Workers' Compensation benefits very difficult. Why take a chance?

Education is important, construction workers need to take the necessary steps to preserve their rights into the future.

By John Merlino of Dinkes and Schwitzer

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