After an accident on the job leaves you facing mounting medical bills and a long rehabilitation process, it is still possible to file a construction site accident claim even if you receive workers’ compensation. In most instances, your primary employer is protected from a lawsuit. Therefore, your claim would be directed against another party or other parties. These types of claims are commonly referred to as third-party claims.
Should such a third-party have created a situation where you were placed in harm’s way on the job site, though, that party could be part of a personal injury lawsuit. A company other than your employer that provides ill-fitting safety equipment or that does not provide the required training could be a party in a lawsuit if someone is injured.
Under certain circumstances in construction site accident cases, the Labor Laws of The State of New York, allow for a third-party claim against the property owner and general contractor, even if their negligence was not a factor in the happening of the accident. The potential legal and financial responsibility of the property owner and general contractor in such construction accident cases may provide an additional layer of protection to injured New York construction workers.
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance that secures medical care and monetary benefits for workers when they suffer an injury on the job. This is an insurance that the employer obtains by paying into a fund.
While Workers’ Compensation coverage almost “automatically” provides a level of benefits to employees injured in the course of their employment, it the employer from lawsuits related to injuries. In a sense, the injured worker is “given with one hand,” (that is, the Workers’ Compensation benefits,) but “taken away from with the other hand,” (meaning, the injured worker cannot, in most circumstances, pursue the employer when the employer’s neglligence caused the worker to be injured.) Under a workers’ compensation claim, the accident becomes a no-fault accident, meaning neither the employee’s carelessness nor the employer’s negligence applies to the judgment amount.
However, if the employee had taken drugs or alcohol before the accident, leading to intoxication, or if the employee was attempting to hurt himself or herself, workers’ compensation would not apply.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board uses a formula to determine the benefits the employee will receive under workers’ compensation:
- Start of benefits: the monetary benefits designed to compensate the employee for missed wages begins after the first seven days of missing work, unless the employee misses more than 14 days, upon which benefits kick in retroactively to include the first seven days too.
- Amount of benefits: the employee will receive roughly two-thirds of the amount he or she was earning at the time of the accident, although the benefit could be adjusted based on the level of disability the employee has.
- Medical benefits: the employee will receive medical care benefits related to the injury or illness without cost to the employee, although there are exceptions as to the kinds of care allowed or deemed necessary.
Clearly, the monetary benefits you will receive from workers’ compensation do not completely reimburse you for your lost wages, which places your family in a difficult financial position while you recover. As mentioned above, Workers’ compensation rarely allows you to attempt to recover additional awards from your employer.
However, you do have the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against other parties who played a role in the accident, allowing you to make up the difference in your lost wages, as well as receive damages for ongoing pain and suffering.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-932-0400
Other Potentially Liable Parties
Some of the parties from which you could attempt to recover damages outside of workers’ compensation after your construction site accident include:
- General Contractor
- Subcontractors not employed by your employer
- Property owner
- Manufacturer of a defective product
- Negligent motor vehicle driver
- Engineer or architect who created unsafe plans
You will have to prove those parties’ negligence played a role in your injury accident at the worksite and this is one way having an experienced and dedicated construction site accident claim lawyer from Friedman & Simon, LLP is to your advantage. We know how, what, and who to investigate in construction accident cases and what steps to take to build a compelling case on your behalf.
Seeking a Fair Settlement for You
You could still file a construction site accident claim if you receive workers’ compensation. Ultimately, the decision about whether to attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to your workers’ compensation claim will probably depend on the severity of your injuries.
If your injury will only cause you to miss a couple of weeks of work, and you will not be facing medical bills for your treatment needs well into the future, workers’ compensation probably will be satisfactory. If you have injuries that leave you with an inability to work and a diminished quality of life, though, workers’ comp likely will leave you short and facing significant financial difficulty over the long run.
Since the precise course and duration of recovery from an injury is something that can seldom be predicted, it is most prudent to have a consultation as soon as possible after the injury with a construction site accident lawyer, to fully understand your rights and how best to protect them.
The team at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. is ready to study the facts in your construction site injury case and help you to determine the best route forward. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, so you do not have to pay anything upfront to secure our services. For a free case review, call us today at (516) 932-0400.