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What are the legal remedies for construction workers injured on the job when the project manager ignored safety concerns?

College Point, NY |

Construction site injuries on the job have risen sharply in areas rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Contractors, subcontractors, and OSHA seem to have put the brakes on safety in order to get the jobs done in the Sandy clean-up at a record pace.

See New York Daily News, Sunday, April 28, page 8

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Attorney answers 5


Your question is the proverbial "mouthful" - and covers an extensive body of legal theories, claims and laws. In NY, accidents involving workers on construction sites is largely addressed by the Labor Laws of the State of NY. In some instances, the manner and way the injury occurred can impose statutory liability (ie- a fall from a height, or being hit by an object on the site that fell from a height and struck the worker; injuries due to defective scaffolds/ladders, etc. In other instances, there is liability only if it can be proven that certain "industrial code standards" were violated that led to the injury . Whether or not a "Project Manager" can be held liable depends on the type of accident that occurred; the facts and circumstances establishing supervision and control over the specific work that was being done at the time of accident, etc. There are other factors that have to be considered which would take up too much space on this Site. In the end, it really is unrealistic for the workers to rely on OSHA to inspect or investigate every construction site to make sure the work is being done safely. One can only hope that reliable contractors are on the site and if unfortunately an injury occurs, that worker should pursue his/her rights to compensation to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Jeffrey I. Schwimmer, Esq. Handling Construction Site Accidents Involving Serious
20 Vesey Street - Suite 1200 Injury for over 30 years.
New York, NY 10007
(212) 344-6700


Obviously, your primary remedy would be to file a Worker's Compensation claim once the injury has occurred. It is very difficult to attempt to force OSHA or other branches to "follow through" on curing the dangerous conditions.

Herbert Tan, Esq.

The Mack Cali Building
One Bridge Plaza North, Suite 275
Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024
(201) 849-4548

Manhattan Office
305 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, New York 10007
(914) 830-0215

Member of National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


You have two good answers already. From your question, it is not clear that you are an injured worker but that seems to be the reason for the question being posed. Since that would definitely call for hiring an attorney, I'll point out the areas of law you want him or her to be competent in. These are construction law in general, so your lawyer has an understanding of what happens on projects; safety law, whether under OSHA or the applicable state agency; and worker's compensation law. The latter is important because injuries arising out of employment are not confined to the construction industry, and therefore your construction lawyer may not be fully competent to address the workers' compensation issues. Ideally, you may want a firm where a combination of attorneys can lend their areas of expertise to the case and work as a team, while making sure their services don't overlap each other.

Marc A Sherman

Marc A Sherman


Also, in NY, a very important question to answer is whether an injury was caused by the worker falling or a falling object. This is because, under the NY Labor Law, certain parties (e.g., owners and construction managers) may have absolute liability for injuries caused by falls (of people or objects).


If there are increased injuries on construction job sites, more lawsuits need to be brought as appropriate. The insurance companies will put the brakes on bad construction practices when they have to defend more suits.

Erlanger Law Firm handles construction site injuries with remedies under the New York Labor Law. Click on my name.


A very important question to answer is whether an injury was caused by the worker falling or a falling object.

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