Construction worker clutching onto his helmet

What Are the Legal Rights of Workers Injured in Struck-By Accidents?

By Greg Kohn

A struck-by accident can leave a worker with serious injuries. If you’ve been hurt on the job in a New York or New Jersey struck-by accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In some circumstances, you may also have the right to file separate claims against careless third parties responsible for the struck-by incident.

What Is a Struck-By Accident?

A struck-by accident occurs when a moving object strikes a worker with force. The following are examples of potential struck-by accidents:

  • A vehicle or piece of moving machinery strikes a worker
  • An item falls from a high location and strikes an employee below
  • A wall or other heavy construction fixture falls on workers attempting to lift it into place
  • A swinging item strikes a worker nearby

Struck-by accidents are particularly common in the construction industry, although they can occur in a range of fields and occupations.

What to Do After a Struck-By Accident

If you’re able to do so, take the following steps right away if you’re hurt in a struck-by accident at work:

  • Tend to any injuries requiring immediate attention. Your health and safety should always be your top priority.
  • Report the incident to your supervisor in writing, as well as verbally if they didn’t see it happen.
  • Take pictures to document the scene of the incident.
  • Get witness statements from your coworkers. If you don’t know the identities of certain witnesses, get their names and contact information.

It’s important to see a doctor right away following a workplace injury. In New Jersey, you must see a doctor approved by your employer and their workers’ comp insurance provider. In New York, you may choose your own doctor, although they must be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim After a Struck-By Accident

Virtually all employers in New Jersey and New York must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker gets hurt on the job, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to access benefits. If approved for benefits, injured workers will receive compensation for their medical expenses and a portion of their lost income, as well as other benefits.

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you don’t have to prove that your employer’s negligence caused the struck-by accident that injured you. As long as your injury occurred while you were at work and engaged in the performance of your job duties, you should be able to collect your benefits.

However, employers and insurers may find reasons to deny your claim. This is one reason why working with an experienced workers’ comp attorney can be helpful. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident and prepare a strong claim on your behalf, which can help reduce the likelihood of a claim denial. They can also help you through the appeal process.

Filing a Third-Party Claim or Lawsuit After a Struck-By Accident

Some struck-by accidents result from the negligence of a third party, such as a subcontractor, property owner, or equipment manufacturer. In these cases, you may be able to pursue compensation from a negligent party through a third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit. This can help you recover funds for losses not covered by workers’ comp, including physical and emotional pain and suffering. Your attorney can review your options with you after investigating the circumstances of the accident.

Contact a New Jersey & New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

A New York and New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer at Nagel Rice LLP can protect your rights and explain your legal options if you’ve been hurt in a struck-by accident at work. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.