When does an on-the-job injury result in a lawsuit in New York?

When a third party is involved with causing an employee’s injury in New York, it may be possible to file a lawsuit seeking damages.

Every year, thousands of New Yorkers file claims for workers’ compensation benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than $437 million has been paid to state residents in medical bills and other compensation. These benefits may cover the cost of missed wages or even expenses associated with someone’s death, depending on the circumstances of what occurred.

There are some on-the-job injuries, however, in which people suffer damages that workers’ compensation does not cover or in which a party other than the employer is responsible. Based on the nature of the claim, it may be possible for people to file a third-party lawsuit against someone who was negligent in the incident.

What the law says

Under New York’s workers’ compensation law, employees are not able to file a lawsuit against an employer when an injury occurs. Instead, the insurance policy covers certain expenses associated with qualified injuries. Workplace injuries could include anything from slipping and falling to overuse.

When a third party is involved

Workplace injuries may become complicated if a third party is involved. The following illustrate ways in which this could occur:

  • A maintenance technician fails to properly repair equipment.
  • Another driver causes a crash while an employee is driving for job-related purposes.
  • A manufacturer made a defective product used in the scope of someone’s work.

In these instances, it may be possible for the injured worker to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.

What to do

It is possible to file a claim for workers’ compensation and file a third-party claim. The insurance benefits would cover the qualifying expenses, such as medical treatment and missed wages. The third-party lawsuit could account for other damages the person suffered, such as damage to a vehicle, emotional suffering and other noneconomic damages.

To file a claim for workers compensation benefits, the injured employee must notify the employer as soon as possible and fill out a claim with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. Failing to take these steps within 30 days of the incident could result in a loss of benefits.

For a third-party claim, injured workers will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the damages. This may require obtaining information from police reports, witnesses and industry experts. In New York, most personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the date of the incident. If the accident resulted in death, the claim must be filed within two years.

People who have concerns about this topic can get in touch with Silverman Law to evaluate their case for a third-party action. We can represent you in that matter if there is a possible claim.