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Workplace injuries can occur in practically any place of employment. Whether you work at a retail store, a supermarket, a restaurant, an office, a hospital, or on a construction site, accidents can unexpectedly happen. Depending on the type of incident, you may have suffered substantial injuries and require extensive medical treatment.
While Workers' Compensation benefits may cover treatment costs and lost wages up to a certain amount for job-related injuries, you may also be able to pursue a personal injury action to recover from a third-party if their negligence caused your injuries. If you prevail in a personal injury action, you may be awarded for your damages, beyond the benefits Workers' Compensation provides.
Can I Sue My Employer for My Injuries?
Generally, in New York State, you can't sue your employer or a co-worker if you were injured at work due to Workers' Compensation laws. The Workers' Compensation system was designed to help workers financially recover for employment-related injuries. However, in many instances, the damages of someone who was hurt on the job may exceed the financial benefits provided by Workers' Compensation. Even though you can't recover from your employer, you might be able to pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent third-party.
Suing a Third-Party for Workplace Injuries
Although the New York Workers' Compensation laws bar you from suing your employer, you can still bring a claim against a third-party if their negligence or recklessness caused the workplace accident which led to your injuries. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your accident, third-party liability may arise in any number of ways. Slip and falls, trip and falls, construction site accidents, and car accidents are common scenarios in which a third-party may be held liable for negligence.
If a plaintiff prevails in a personal injury action on a theory of third-party liability, they may be entitled to unreimbursed medical expenses and lost wages not covered by Workers' Compensation. They may also be able to recover out of pocket costs related to the accident, future medical expenses, future lost earnings, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages in some cases.
What Benefits Are Provided by Workers' Compensation?
Even if a third-party's negligence caused your injuries, if you were hurt at work you may be entitled to receive Workers' Compensation benefits such as medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. You may be entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment such as hospital visits, office visits, physical therapy, and testing up to a certain amount as well as reasonable travel expenses to and from your medical appointments.
Lost wages covered by Workers' Compensation are calculated by multiplying the percentage of disability by two-thirds of your weekly wages. Regardless of whether you are temporarily or permanently disabled due to your workplace injury, New York State has a cap on the maximum amount of indemnity benefits, based on the year it took place.
Independent contractors are typically not entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits. In addition, if you were "off the clock" when you were injured ¬- or were not engaged in your work duties - you may be disqualified from receiving benefits. You may also be precluded if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident.
There are strict statutes of limitation when it comes to filing for Workers' Compensation benefits - your employer must be notified of the incident within thirty days of the accident. Failure to do so can result in a denial of your claim. If you were denied benefits for any reason, you are entitled to an administrative hearing.
Contact a New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered workplace injuries due to the negligence of a third-party, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney immediately who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. There are strict statutes of limitation that begin running from the date of the accident, beginning with filing a claim for Workers' Compensation benefits.
The Popick Law Firm has thirty years of experience in obtaining compensation for victims of workplace accidents. Located in Fresh Meadows, NY, The Popick Law Firm handles personal injury and workplace accident cases in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact the Popick Law Firm today for a consultation.