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Construction injuries may lead to workers' compensation issues

Construction workers generally endure a high-risk factor for on-the-job injuries. Regarding the incidence of construction injuries in New York City and elsewhere, a lot may depend on whether the employer imposes sufficient safety protections at the worksite. Studies report that in many non-union sites employers are lax on safety protections due to a relative lack of oversight.

The foregoing problem is not probable on a big project like the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is more than likely a union-based collection of contractors and subcontractors. One worker did suffer an injury at the worksite recently when he apparently lost his footing and injured his ankle. He was installing electrical systems about 24 feet below the roadway and had to be rescued.

Responders had a tough time rescuing the man due to the inaccessible location. Sheriffs' boats and marine units huddled under the bridge in case someone fell in the water. After about an hour of struggle, the man was extricated and taken to Nyack Hospital.

This worker and all construction workers are covered by workers' compensation in New York and all other jurisdictions. As with any other worker injuries, construction injuries may not always be processed and treated fairly by workers' comp insurance carriers. A common issue of the carrier is whether a disabled worker is ready to go back to work. This becomes particularly thorny when the carrier hires an "independent" doctor who examines the claimant and concludes that he or she is ready to resume work.

That may be a direct contradiction against the worker's treating physician, who states that the worker is still disabled and needs further rehabilitation services. In New York City and elsewhere, such issues must go before a workers' compensation judge for resolution if not first settled between the parties. The worker who has suffered construction injuries and is being prematurely forced back to work will do best by retaining an experienced workers' compensation attorney. The workers' comp. attorney will represent the claimant for a statutorily-specified percentage of the recovery, with usually no money required up front.

Source: lohud.com, "Injured worker removed from under the new TZ Bridge construction area", Steve Lieberman, April 7, 2017

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