New York workers’ compensation and third-party lawsuits

In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, an employee with a work-related injury or illness may be able to file a suit against a third party other than the employer.

When a New Yorker is injured on the job or contracts an occupational disease, his or her exclusive legal remedy against the employer is normally a workers’ compensation benefit claim. This means that the worker may not sue the employer or a co-worker in addition to or instead of workers’ compensation, regardless of who was at fault.

However, if another party contributed to or caused the injury or disease, that third party would be the appropriate target of a personal injury lawsuit, in addition to the workers’ compensation claim. Typical third-party liability claim scenarios:

  • Defective or dangerous equipment or vehicles sold or provided by manufacturers, sellers, suppliers or leasing companies
  • Motor vehicle accidents caused by other negligent, distracted or drunk drivers; or by defective or negligently maintained or repaired vehicles
  • Car crashes because of poor road design or negligent maintenance by municipal or state entities or private contractors
  • Dangerous conditions created by landlords, work premises owners, vendors or contractors

In New York, an employer or workers’ compensation insurer may have the right to recover some of a settlement or award in a third-party suit. This is meant to cover workers’ compensation paid or owing. This area of law is complex and involves notice and coordination among all the parties. In addition, the workers’ compensation insurer may have the right to preapprove any settlement of a third-party action. These issues of coordination among involved parties is something we at Silverman, Silverman & Seligman, P.C., understand and assist clients with regularly.

Do not delay in talking to an attorney about these complicated issues because deadlines apply for filing third-party suits.

The lawyers at Silverman, Silverman & Seligman, P.C., in Schenectady serve workers’ compensation clients in the region and in the Capital District. In the course of our investigation of the circumstances of the work-related injury, we also give careful consideration to whether the evidence may point to liability of any third party. If appropriate, we assist our workers’ compensation clients in filing personal injury lawsuits against potentially responsible third parties other than the employer.

We offer free initial consultations or prescheduled phone conferences. Call us at 518-631-4521 to schedule a consultation or phone conference about your work injury, workers’ compensation claim and related legal remedies.