A construction injury can be a life-changing event for you and your family. Though it may be obvious that you or your loved one has been seriously hurt (or has passed away), you may be wondering about how to make sure your medical and personal expenses are covered, both now and in the future. Many people ask these five important questions in the aftermath of a New York City construction accident.

1. Won’t workers’ comp cover everything?

It depends on the type of injury and the circumstances that caused it. Your employer-provided workers’ compensation benefits may cover medical costs and wage replacement for a period of time, but you may also be entitled to money damages from a third-party claim, a separate legal matter, if another party (like a general contractor or product manufacturer) was at fault in the accident. For some injured workers, compensation from a third-party claim can be significantly larger than what is provided by workers’ comp benefits.

2. Why do I need a lawyer to help me?

Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not need a lawyer, but if you have a third-party claim related to your injuries, legal representation is essential for protecting your rights and maximizing compensation. Talking to an experienced attorney will help you find out if you are entitled to additional money damages related to your injuries. If this is the case, choosing an experienced attorney to represent you is tremendously important.

3. What could happen if I wait too long to get legal advice?

Many types of claims have a time limit, so it is possible to miss out on compensation if you delay past a certain point. Also, it may be critically important to collect evidence that supports your case, while that evidence is still available. The longer the wait, the harder it can be to build the strongest possible case.

4. Will I get in trouble for talking to an attorney?

The short answer is NO. Legally speaking, your employer cannot retaliate against you for consulting an attorney about your injuries. But, more importantly, a lawyer you consult is prohibited from contacting your employer without your consent. A confidential legal consultation is private, between you and a lawyer.

5. What’s the worst thing that could happen if I seek legal advice?

In general, the worst thing that can happen is that you find out you don’t have a case. You may waste minutes or hours of your time, which is not much compared to what could happen if you don’t get the legal help you need.