How Are Expert Witnesses Utilized In Construction Accident Claims?
Experts are incredibly important in construction accident cases because they can tell or establish what the industry practice is on how things are done. For example, if a company does not comply with industrial safety practices, that proves some negligence. They’re incredibly important, especially in other types of highly complex cases, such as cases involving complex machinery or collapses.
Experts know a lot more than the layperson and they can establish exactly what caused the failure. If it was enough just to prove that “Hey, I got hurt on a construction site,” that’s not how you prove the case. You have got to prove how you got hurt, why you got hurt and how it either violated the regulations or it was unsafe or deviated from construction practices or industry practices.
A lot of times, experts can help establish what the injury practice is. For example, we had one recent case where someone was hit by an excavator. We were able to utilize the expert to say, “Hey, this would never have happened if the individual had applied the safety as it should have done because the safety shuts off all the hydraulics and the thing can’t move.” In another case, we’ve had someone injured by a defective saw and the expert was able to show that the saw would have been dropped and therefore the pieces were likely to come off because they weren’t in proper alignment.
In another case, we were able to show that the saw didn’t cut properly and the expert was able to show that because it hadn’t been cleaned properly or maintained. A lot of the saw dust built up inside and was causing the guard not to attract which led to the person getting hurt.
Certainly they can see a lot more things than the average layperson because they have specialized knowledge, they can usually detect the cause of a failure. Certainly on cases we have collapses, they can compute all the weight that was on air and what the range were of the various materials and determine whether or not the materials provided were adequate to support the weight of the intended parts.
If anybody saw the accident, you want to try and get the telephone number so we can get statement from them later because otherwise they may disappear and they go to another job and certainly the insurance company may get them in trying to sway them from saying what really happened, and that happens all too often.
How Long Can a Construction Accident Claim Typically Take to Resolve?
Obviously it’s different. Courts that are assigned to the city cases have a huge backlog. Cases in New York City take longer than they do, for example, in Westchester, but in general, the more seriously injured you are the longer the case is going to take because we’re going to see if our client is able to go back to work and what their long term outlook is before we really know what the case is worth or what we can prove.
For example, if someone has a fracture of his arm and goes back to work in 6 monthly he’s basically the same as he was prior, we know that case is of certain value and in 6 months, we know what the case is. However, if one has the back injury and can’t work and they have to have surgery and they have to go through 8 months of treatment to see if they’re going to have surgery or not, obviously there is a delay in that because you have to see and march with the case.
Once the case is settled, it’s settled, it’s done, it’s over. You can’t go back and say, “Oh, no, no. This wasn’t enough because I had to have surgery or two surgeries or three surgeries and I can’t work,” and you really came at the kind of value or for someone who has that serious sort of injury until they’ve actually had the surgery and they can show that they’re not going to be able to return to work. Those cases obviously take more time than a case for someone that’s going back to work within a short period of time.
What Can Someone Do If the Employer Denies Liability in a Construction Accident Claim?
The company denied your liability doesn’t mean much because it’s not up to the company whether they are liable or not. If they denied liability, all it means is you have to go forward with the lawsuit and prove they were liable. Those cases can get contentious and they can get very litigious but that’s why we’re here, we fight for the people.
Remember, it’s in the best interest of insurance companies, if at all possible, to try and say that they were not liable. A lot of working insurance companies are taking silly positions and just holding people away but it’s up to people like me and experienced construction accident trial lawyers get them to pay.
For more information on Expert Witnesses for Construction Accidents, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (914) 574-8330 today.