An alternative to workers’ compensation
Like other states, New York has a workers’ compensation system. Employees who get hurt at work can claim medical benefits and reimbursement of lost wages through this system.
The good news is that a worker does not have to prove their employer was negligent to get these benefits. The tradeoff is workers cannot then turn around and sue their employers over the same injury. This is because workers’ compensation is what lawyers call an exclusive remedy.
On this note, workers’ compensation is helpful, but it does not pay for everything. Specifically, it does not cover non-economic losses like pain and suffering or emotional distress. An injured worker may need to look for additional options to recover compensation for all of their losses.
An injured New York worker may be able to file a personal injury case
Work-related accidents frequently involve several responsible parties. For example, people who frequently drive as part of their jobs may get into a collision with a negligent driver while on the clock.
In this case, the worker can get workers’ compensation benefits, but they also may be able to sue the negligent driver for additional compensation.
Another example might occur when a construction worker suffers an injury at one of the many work sites across New York City. At many construction sites, there are several subcontractors on any given site at any given time. If the worker got hurt because of what one of these other subcontractors did or did not do, the worker may be able collect workers’ compensation through their own employer and still be able to sue the other subcontractor.
Both of these are examples of a type of lawsuit called a third-party liability claim. These types of claims can help an injured worker make up the difference between what they actually lost in an accident and what worker’s compensation pays them.
A successful third-party claim will require a victim to document their injuries and prove negligence. Injured New York workers should explore this option with an experienced personal injury attorney.