Construction accidents are often the result of negligence and an inadequate focus on safety. Some accidents, however, stem from violent attacks. Indeed, about 9% of workplace deaths are the result of violent attacks, and thousands of workers are injured each year in violent confrontations.
Attacks at construction sites are increasing. What can you do if you are injured in a construction site attack? We recommend that you contact a lawyer at Powers & Santola, LLP, who can explain your legal rights to compensation. There is no excuse for workplace violence, and you do have legal tools available to protect your family financially.
How Common Are Construction Site Attacks?
We do not have firm numbers about how many people are injured in violent attacks, but recent media stories suggest construction workers are increasingly vulnerable.
- In 2021, a woman was shot and killed by her boyfriend at a construction site in the Bronx. She had been working as a flagger at the time of the attack.
- In 2022, a male worker was fatally shot at a Brooklyn construction site.
- Two construction workers got into a fight at a New Rochelle construction site, which ended with one worker getting stabbed.
Workers in Albany have no reason to assume they are immune from violent attacks, whether committed by strangers or your fellow workers. Many factors contribute to workplace violence, including stress and drug or alcohol abuse.
Holding the Attacker Responsible
Anyone who attacks you has committed an intentional tort. That means you can bring a civil lawsuit against them in court and seek full compensatory damages for:
- Medical bills and expenses, including future medical expenses
- Lost income and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
No one has a right to touch you without permission, and you have a remedy in civil court regardless of whether criminal charges are brought against the defendant. You might also have the capacity to seek punitive damages against a violent attacker as a form of punishment. These punitive damages are in addition to your compensatory damages.
Nonetheless, there are practical limitations involved when suing either a coworker or a stranger. For one, they might not have sufficient funds to pay you. Consequently, you might have to wait years for them to eventually pay you all compensation you deserve. Another problem is that they might flee before the police can identify them, which makes suing them impossible.
Suing Contractors, Employment Companies, and Others
Fortunately, you might have a legal right to sue a business, which should have liability insurance. Under New York’s workers’ compensation law, you can’t sue your employer for a job-related injury. But there are other entities you might sue. A business like a contractor or hiring company could be at fault for your attack, which means you can hold them accountable when their negligence harms you.
Construction sites must have adequate security to protect against violent attacks. This is a general duty that applies to all employers, and construction owners and contractors are not given an exemption. For that reason, they need to use reasonable security measures, which might include:
- Sufficient lighting
- Security cameras
- Security patrols
The amount of security your jobsite needs will depend on the history of crime in the area and at the construction site specifically, along with other considerations, like the layout of the site. When security is lax, then injured workers might sue.
Many contractors rely on third-party employment agencies to find and supply workers. These employment agencies have a duty to use reasonable care when performing their duties. They cannot hire someone who is a known safety risk, so they should typically perform a background check to discover the applicant’s criminal history and confirm references.
These hiring agencies might be liable when they fail to properly vet a worker before sending him to the jobsite. Please meet with our Albany construction accident lawyer for more information.
Ignoring Violent Behavior
A contractor cannot put its head in the sand and ignore a dangerous or violent worker. When they do, they jeopardize the safety of other workers and open themselves up to liability for failure to provide a safe work environment.
Wrongful Death Cases
Surviving family members might have a right to compensation if their loved one died as a result of a violent attack. In 2017, about 57 construction workers were killed in this manner. The person responsible must compensate family members for their losses. At Powers & Santola, LLP, we have the experience you need for wrongful death cases. A violent attack qualifies, as does any negligence on the part of a third-party like a jobsite owner.
What to Do after a Violent Attack
The first step is to protect yourself. Get away from the violent attacker to a place of safety. This might mean climbing off a scaffold or going to a different part of the construction site. Try to warn others of a violent person.
Once you feel safe, notify your supervisor of the attack as soon as possible. This step protects the safety of the jobsite, while at the same time protecting your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
You also should receive immediate medical care. Violent attacks like stabbing or assault lead to potentially life-threatening injuries. Go straight to the emergency room for treatment of serious injuries. Even relatively minor injuries need prompt treatment since they can quickly degenerate and become more serious.
Report the attack to the police and share any information about the assailant. The police can put out a bulletin and search to get this violent person off the streets.
You should also consult an experienced Albany construction accident lawyer. One concern is whether you can receive benefits for your wounds. Medical care is expensive, and violent attacks can keep people from working. You might lose considerable income if you were badly hurt.
Call Our Firm for Help
Powers & Santola, LLP, is the Albany law firm to contact after a construction accident. Give us a call to learn more about legal options.