Long Island Fire and Explosion Accident Lawyer

fire explosion

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupational industries likely to experience fires and explosions. Unfortunately, fire and explosion incidents can cause construction workers to suffer catastrophic injuries or death. Injured workers and those who have lost loved ones deserve compensation for fire and explosion accidents.

Partnering with experienced Long Island fire and explosion accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck LLP will help you file a claim and receive the compensation and benefits you deserve.

Reach Out For More Information (631) 451-7900.

Table of Contents

Common Causes of Construction Fires and Explosions

Fires and explosions rarely happen spontaneously on construction sites. In most cases, fires and explosions occur because of carelessness and disregard for safety regulations, which are considered negligence.

Common causes of construction site fires and explosions accidents include:

  • Heat – High heat and sparks generated from construction equipment used for cutting, grinding, and welding could result in a fire if sparks come in contact with clothing or flammable materials.
  • Electrical malfunctions – Electric wires short-circuit, faulty wiring, and circuit breakers could cause sparks that can ignite fires or cause explosions.
  • Defective equipment – A fire could arise from faulty equipment.
  • Flammable substances – Exposing flammable substances such as fuel, gas lines, and propane sparks could result in fires.
  • Demolition explosions – Without proper safety standards, demolition explosions may go beyond the radius of impact required causing catastrophes.
  • Chemical tanks – Improper use or storage of chemical tanks with flammable substances could result in explosions.
  • Pressurized containers – Exposing pressured containers containing gases to pressure or heat could result in explosions.
  • Gas lines – Leaks on the gas line or exposure to sparks can cause explosions.
  • Acetylene tanks – Acetylene gas is highly volatile, and exposure to pressure could result in a massive explosion.

Preventing Construction Fires and Explosions

Construction fires and explosion accidents are preventable if employees and third parties operating on the construction site follow proper safety standards. Occupational Safety and Health Industry Administration (OSHA) requires that all employees implement workplace fire prevention and protection programs to help safeguard workers from fire incidences.

There are four main fire protection guidelines that employers must follow, and include:

  • Fire protection – Employers are required to create, implement and comply with all regulations of fire protection programs from the start to end of the construction and demolition processes.
  • Flammable liquids – OSHA mandates employers to only use approved containers and portable tanks for handling and storing flammable liquids to prevent accidental fires.
  • Temporary heating devices – Employers must ensure that flammable materials such as canvas and tarpaulins are 10 feet away from heating devices to prevent sparks and accidental fires.
  • Explosives use – Only authorized individuals with qualifications to handle and use explosives should be allowed to carry out operations that require the use of explosives.

Common Injuries that may result from Fire and Explosion Accidents

There are countable cases of fires or explosions on construction sites where workers escape without injuries. Most construction site fires and explosions are violent and have devastating effects on workers who are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or death.

The common injuries construction workers experience in a fire or explosion accident include:

  • Burns – Workers close to flames are likely to suffer from chemical or fire-related burns.
  • Permanent disfigurement – Fire and explosion can cause severe burns that result in permanent disfigurement.
  • Bruises and cuts – Sharp metal, plastic, or debris thrown in the air during explosions can cause cuts and bruises.
  • Broken joints and bones – Some explosions may throw workers on the wall or floor, causing their joints and bones to break.
  • Loss of limbs – An explosion may blow off limbs, while a fire may cause permanent damage that requires amputation.
  • Asphyxiation – Exposure to smoke and lack of oxygen during a fire or an explosion may cause asphyxiation, resulting in unconsciousness or death.
  • Lung damage and cancer – Besides smoke, fires and explosion may expose one to toxic gases, resulting in lung damage, lung cancer, and heart cancer.
  • Eye and ear injuries – Chemical spills or sharp objects could pierce ears or cause eye and ear injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injury – Fires and explosions may result in a violent blow to the head that causes traumatic brain injury.

New York Laws Relating to Fire and Explosion Accidents

Long Island follows New York laws that require property owners, contractors, and construction site managers to comply with the International Code Council’s model statutes.

It dictates the following construction site fire and explosion safety regulations.

  1. Smoking and open fires are prohibited on construction sites.
  2. Tobacco, lighters, and matches on asbestos abatement sites are prohibited.
  3. Only approved portable fire extinguishers should be available on the floor containing flammable materials and substances.
  4. Use only New York City Fire Code 1403-compliant temporary heating equipment should be used at construction sites.
  5. Only non-combustible ladders to access stripping floors.
  6. Store flammable material away from flames.

Steps to Follow After a Fire or Explosion Accident

You need to know the appropriate steps to take and your responsibility after experiencing a fire or explosion accident to help speed up the claims processes.

In case you suffer an injury during an accident involving a fire or explosion at your construction site, here are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Seek medical treatment – You must immediately seek medical attention whether or not you have visible injuries. Given that these are emergencies, you may need assistance; as such, you should call 911, an ambulance, or a coworker to transport you to the nearest hospital.
  2. Select authorized healthcare provider – Once you are out of immediate danger, you can contact your employer, explore the Health Provider Search website or contact the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to ask for a list of the WCB-approved healthcare providers.
  3. Inform your employer – You need to communicate to your employers by written document within 30 days after injury. In case of serious injuries, you must send a written document within two years of experiencing a disability or injury to ensure you maintain your rights to worker’s compensation benefits.
  4. Contact a Long Island fire and explosion accident attorney – You should contact fire and explosion accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck LLP, who will help you review your case, collect evidence and document and advise you about the claim process. We will also ensure we inform you of any additional claims and benefits you can pursue to obtain maximum compensation.
  5. Complete and file worker’s compensation claims for benefits using Form C-3 – It would help if you filled, completed, filed, and submitted Form C-3 to the WCB within two years from the date of injury or illness following the fires or explosion. Your worker’s compensation attorney can complete this form or advise you if you need assistance.
  6. Follow doctor’s instructions – You need to follow the doctor’s instructions to speed up recovery and to ensure you are not denied benefits for failing to receive proper treatment.
  7. Return to work if possible – If you have fully recovered, you are free to return to work; if not, and you are experiencing permanent disability, you will need to communicate with your attorney to speed up the compensation process.

Who is Liable for Your Fire and Explosion Accidents in Long Island?

Long Island applies New York Laws, and according to New York Labor Laws, the property owner and general contractor are responsible for ensuring the safety of the construction site and are liable to provide compensation in case of fire and explosion. In construction situations, liability often falls on general contractors, construction project managers, and construction companies that employ the construction worker and oversee the construction.

Therefore, contractors, construction project managers, and construction companies are liable for carrying insurance that covers third-party injury claims. Workers and third parties can also be held liable if their negligence partly or wholly contributed to fire and explosion incidents.  Additionally, employers are responsible for carrying worker compensation insurance which provides full and part-time workers with worker compensation benefits in case of a fire or explosion.  

Workers’ Compensation Claims and Benefits for Construction Site Fires and Explosions

According to New York state laws, Long Island workers who suffer construction site fires and explosion accidents are entitled to receive worker’s compensation. New York state law legally requires employers to provide employees with workers’ compensation insurance. In the event of injuries caused by fires and explosions at the construction site, workers can pursue worker’s compensation benefits by filing a claim against their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance company.

A worker compensation claim will award you the following benefits;

Medical Benefits

Your employer’s insurance company is mandated to cover all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that relate to the injuries associated with the workplace fire or explosion. Medical benefits include diagnostic testing, hospital bills, medical prescriptions, medical equipment, follow-up expenses, and medical transportation costs.

It is also important to note that workers’ compensation covers medical expenses for patients with physicians certified by the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) unless in an emergency. Suppose you become seriously disabled from the fire or explosion and cannot work for at least one year or the rest of your life. In that case, you are eligible to receive compensation in the form of social security disability benefits.

Cash Benefits

Fire and explosion injuries are likely to place a victim in the hospital for several days or months, depending on the level of injury. New York state laws allow you to receive cash benefits for lost earnings if you are out of work. You are entitled to up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, and the payment begins after staying off work for 14 days due the accident-related injuries.

Funeral Benefits

You may receive compensation if a loved one dies from a fire or explosion-related injuries and illnesses. The spouse, children, and other dependents are entitled to receive two-thirds of the deceased salary they earned during the 52 weeks before death. However, in case of no surviving spouse, children, or dependents, the surviving parents will receive $50,000.

Additionally, loved ones receive compensation for funeral expenses. In Long Island County, the benefits should not exceed $10,500.

Third-Party Liability Lawsuits and Compensation for Fires or Explosions

If someone outside your employer is partly or wholly responsible for the construction fire or explosion accidents that caused your injury, you are entitled to file a third-party claim. Consult fire and explosion accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck LLP to help you file third-party liability lawsuits for compensation for construction fires or explosion accidents in Long Island.

Survivors are entitled to personal injury lawsuits against various third parties, including; contractors, engineers, architects, and owners or operators of the construction site. Other third parties include vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, and parties in the supply chain who provided the construction site with defective equipment or materials. For personal injury lawsuits, you need to prove that the third party’s negligence resulted in the accident.

Through the third-party liability claim or personal injury lawsuit, the survivor may recover compensation for:

  • Medical costs (Hospital bills, physical therapy, and prescriptions)
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotion and mental distress
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Reduced earning potential
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement

Besides survivors, loved ones and family members who have lost loved ones due to construction fire and explosion are also entitled to file a wrongful death claim under third-party liability lawsuits. Loved ones and family members will receive cash settlements depending on damages.

Contact Fire and Explosion Accident Attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck LLP

If you lost a loved one or survived a construction site fire or explosion accident, contact our Long Island construction accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck LLP. We have a team of expert fire and explosion accident attorneys who will fully investigate the accident to help determine your damages, liable parties, and appropriate compensation. Call Rosenberg & Gluck LLP at (631) 451-7900 or complete our online contact form to set up a free consultation today.

Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP

1176 Portion Road
Holtsville, NY 11742

 

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