What Are My Rights if I Was Injured by a Third Party at The Workplace?
Having an accident and getting injured is something very unexpected and that can happen anywhere. Getting injured at the workplace is very unfortunate but you can seek compensation for your injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance is required for all employers. The workers’ compensation system in New York allows injured workers to seek compensation for their medical bills as well as a portion of their lost wages. In some cases, it is also possible to file a third-party claim.
By filing a third-party claim you can pursue compensation for other damages that workers’ compensation benefits do not cover, such as pain and suffering. Because every case is unique, we strongly advise you to consult with an experienced New York compensation attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Third-Party Workplace Injury Claim: How Does It Work?
Under most circumstances, the workers’ compensation system precludes injured workers from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. However, there are some circumstances in which a third- party can be held liable for the worker’s injuries. That means an injured worker can file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third-party claim and receive compensation for both.
Remember that if you decide to file a third-party workplace injury claim, you must show that the responsible party was negligent or reckless in some way, which caused your injuries. There are several parties that could be responsible for a workplace injury. Nevertheless, gathering the evidence necessary to prove negligence from the third-party is not always easy. Seeking legal advice from a workplace injury lawyer will greatly increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
What is The Difference Between Third-Party Claims and Workers’ Compensation Claims?
As mentioned before, the workers’ compensation system does not allow injured workers to file lawsuits against their employers after a workplace injury, unless the employer intentionally injured them. Workers who wish to receive compensation for their workplace injury will have to file a workers’ compensation claim. The main benefit of the workers’ compensation system is that it is a no-fault system.
This means that the worker does not need to prove that their employer was negligent. There are cases in which the injured worker was negligent, but due to the nature of the system, they will still receive compensation for their injuries. For that reason, most workers will start to receive workers’ compensation benefits a few weeks after filing the claim.
However, it is important to mention that workers’ compensation benefits only cover medical expenses and a portion of the lost income. Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover lost wages for the first seven days of disability, unless the worker is absent from work for more than 14 days. Your level of disability will determine how much money you can receive from workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages.
The maximum compensation you can receive is two-thirds of your average weekly wage For example, if your average weekly wage is $500 and your doctor determines that you are completely unable to work, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. That translates to $333 for you. If, on the other hand, your degree of disability is 50%, you will receive 50% of your two-thirds wage. For this example, your lost income compensation would be $166.50. Finally, the maximum amount of money that you can collect for lost wages is $808.65 per week and the minimum amount is $150 per week, regardless of your average weekly wage or level of disability. For these reasons, many workers end up receiving not enough money in compensation for their injuries.
A third-party claim will allow you to recover additional damages that workers’ compensation benefits do not cover, as well as full compensation for lost wages. One of the downsides to third-party claims is that you will need to have the evidence necessary to prove that the party you are suing was negligent. Lawsuits can also be time-consuming to resolve.
Cases involving large sums of money can take months or even years to resolve. The defendants may also allege that you were partially to blame for the accident and use that as a defense. New York follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. That is, if the jury determines that you were partially responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your level of responsibility. If you were 30% responsible for the accident, then your compensation will be reduced by 30%.
Who Can Be Held Liable in Third-Party Work Injury Claims?
There are several parties that could be held liable for a workplace injury but here are some of the most common ones:
- Negligent business and people: If you were injured by a person who is not part of the company you work for or you suffered an injury on another company’s premises while you were working, you can file a lawsuit against them.
- Property owners and their representatives who are not your employer: If you were injured due to a hazardous condition on the premises owned by someone different to your employer you can initiate a premises liability lawsuit.
- Negligent drivers: You can sue the driver of another vehicle if you were injured in a car crash caused by their negligence.
- Subcontractors who install a piece of equipment incorrectly: If you are injured by a piece of equipment that was installed by a subcontractor you may be able to file a lawsuit against their employers.
- Dog owners: It is possible to bring a lawsuit if you are injured by a dog attack due to the dog owner’s negligence.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover in Third Party Claims?
The main benefit of third party claims is that you are compensated for more than medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. You can recover economic and noneconomic damages such as:
- Present and future medical bills (including physical therapy, medicine, surgeries, etc)
- Full reimbursement for lost wages
- Property damage
- Modification to the house to suit medical needs
- Other out-of-pocket expenses (transportation costs, nursing care, etc.)
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Lost of companion
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Being able to recover noneconomic damages is crucial. In some cases, compensation for pain and suffering represents an important portion of the settlement amount.
New York Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have suffered an injury while working, you may feel frustrated because you may not be able to return to work immediately and that will cause an important financial loss. In some cases, the amount of money that injured workers receive is not enough to cover all costs related to their injury. For that reason, it is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Greenberg & Stein P.C. is a New York based law firm.
At our firm you will find attorneys specialized in cases related to workplace injuries. Our lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve and they will provide all the support you need. Do not hesitate in contacting us. Call us at 888-716-3843 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.