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What to do if you are injured on a construction site and undocumented

You have rights if you are injured at a construction site in New York State. You may be covered under your employer's workers' compensation insurance. You also may have a personal injury claim against another party.

These rights are not limited to U.S. citizens. Even undocumented immigrants are entitled to benefits through workers' compensation and can bring a personal injury claim.

Regardless of your status, you can take steps to protect your rights after an accident. For example, you should:

  • Get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible
  • Write down what happened in the accident
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses
  • Take pictures if you have a camera or cell phone
  • Make copies of all documentation about your injury for your lawyer

Can you sue after a construction accident?

You may be able to sue after an accident, depending on who was at fault in your case. Under New York's workers' compensation law, you cannot sue your employer for negligence. Instead, you automatically receive workers' compensation benefits, regardless of fault.

However, if your injuries were caused by a third-party, then you may be able to sue. Some examples of injuries caused by third parties on construction sites include:

  • Auto accidents - If you are injured in a car accident, and that accident was caused by someone who does not work with you, you may have a claim.
  • Faulty products - One example of faulty products causing injury is collapsed scaffolding. In this case, if the scaffolding was incorrectly manufactured you may have a case against the maker. Also, if the scaffolding was improperly installed, you may have a claim against the installation company.
  • Other types of negligence - If other contractors who do not work directly with you act negligently, you may have a claim. For example, if you are roofing and you are injured because the HVAC contractor left exposed wiring and debris all over the roof, you may be able to sue the contractor or their employer.

You have rights

Your immigration status does not affect your right to recover money for your injuries. If you or a loved one suffered a construction site accident or death, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine what type of claim you have. Even if you are an undocumented immigrant worker, state and federal laws give you rights concerning injuries you suffer at work.

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