Throughout New York City, construction is one of the most prominent industries for people to earn a good living, have benefits and be productive members of society. It may even be especially important for Spanish speakers who might have come from other countries and are just getting their footing in the workaday world of New York. However, there is no denying the inherent dangers with the work and this is frequently exacerbated by employer indifference to safety and outright negligence.
Many of these workers are completely unaware of their rights to seek workers’ compensation or to file a claim against their employer after they have been injured. They could have concerns that they will be blamed for what happened, lose their jobs or face some form of sanction for trying to have their rights upheld. Having assistance from experienced professionals who understand the law and are sensitive to concerns of Spanish speakers can assuage their fears and help with seeking justice.
A bill that would enhance the penalties for construction companies for not ensuring workers are safe is waiting for the signature of New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. It was passed by the New York Legislature. Known as Carlos’s Law, it is named for a construction employee who died when he was in a trench and it collapsed. According to investigators, the trench did not have the required safety precautions.
The companies involved were fined $140,000 each and there were arrests and convictions. Once it is signed, the fines would rise to a minimum of $500,000 if it is a felony conviction and $300,000 for misdemeanor convictions. The man died in 2015 and since then, there have been more than 70 other construction fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that construction is the most dangerous job of all industries.
Although these are positive steps for safety, these types of accidents will still happen. With that, construction workers and their families should have an idea as to the next steps to filing for workers’ compensation after they have been hurt on the job. A common mistake workers make is not knowing the time constraints to file.
The employer must be told of the injury within 30 days of it occurring. Those who do not inform their employer after 30 days run the risk of not getting approved for benefits. In addition, there is a form that must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board. This must be filed within two years of when the accident happened or when the worker knew they were injured or suffered from an illness from their work.
Injuries on construction sites can range from spinal cord damage, torn muscles, broken bones, head trauma, lost limbs, cuts, bruises and more. This can negatively impact the person’s ability to work and leave them wondering how they will pay their bills and support their families. Workers’ compensation benefits are in place to give workers who were injured in a construction accident medical care and payments for lost wages. When filing a case, it is vital to have help with the process. This includes consulting with those who speak Spanish and can explain in detail everything a worker and their family can receive as part of a case.
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