If you are injured at work, you file for workers’ compensation benefits to get medical help and wage relief. If you are hurt outside of work, and it is the fault of someone else, you could have a personal injury claim. Are there times when you could exercise both options? The answer is, “yes, sometimes.”
In New York City, our firm works regularly with people who are injured, both on the job and off. If you are hurt on the job, it is important to understand that the circumstances of your injury may allow you to file both a workers’ comp claim and pursue a personal injury lawsuit. How does that work?
While you are on the job, the workers’ compensation insurance policy carried by your employer covers you if you are hurt. You may be on a construction job site and suffer severe injury when a crane malfunctions and you are struck by falling debris. Workers’ comp pays for medical care, partial wage replacement, and other specific benefits.
Through the worker’s comp plan of your employer, you gain fast access to these benefits and help. You do not need to prove your employer was at fault, because you were on their work site doing your job. But what if the crane was owned and operated by a different employer on that job site? In fact, it may turn out that the crane was being operated by someone without proper training, or that the crane had not been maintained and was at risk for a malfunction. What then?
Claiming workers’ comp and suing a third party for your injury
While worker’s comp gives you quick support for medical care, the money benefits you will receive for your injury are limited to a set schedule. If you lose a limb, or the function of part of your body, compensation for that loss is also set by a schedule based on your former wages. Outside of medical, lost earnings are calculated at a percentage of your total earnings. You may also receive vocational retraining if you are physically no longer able to do the same job.
Despite these benefits, workers’ comp does not provide money for your pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and your lifetime lost earnings.
In addition to your workers’ comp claim, you may be able to sue any third parties who were responsible for your injury. Because they are not your employer, your personal injury attorney will have to prove they are at fault during settlement negotiations or during trial.
One of the reasons we advise clients to take pictures, make a list of witnesses, and write down a careful account of what happened, is because a strong personal injury case depends on evidence that proves the fault of the parties who hurt you. Further investigation by your attorney will likely uncover details about whether the operator of the crane that hit you was properly trained, or if the crane itself malfunctioned due to negligent maintenance.
If your injury occurred during the normal course of your work but was even partially caused by someone who is not your co-worker or employer, you may have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits and sue a third party for additional money damages.
Together these actions may provide you with the compensation you need to move your life forward after a significant injury. When you suffer any kind of personal injury, be sure to get knowledgeable legal advice.
Reputable personal injury law firm helps you after a construction accident in New York City
The construction site attorneys at Robinson & Yablon, P.C. have a track record of success obtaining maximum money damages on the behalf of our clients injured by the negligence of others. If you are injured, talk to our firm right away—contact us or call (646) 832-2853 today.