Can I Sue My Employer After Getting Hurt on a NY Construction Site?
Construction sites are dangerous. New York law includes several special protections for construction workers in order to account for the added dangers. Under most circumstances, however, injured construction workers are meant to file claims under the workers’ compensation system. Are there any circumstances under which injured construction workers can file a personal injury lawsuit against other parties, or even against their own employer?
Continue reading to learn about third-party claims and claims against the employer in New York. If you’ve been hurt in a New York construction accident, or any other type of incident, call a savvy NYC personal injury attorney at the law office of Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C.
Most Injured Workers Are Limited to Workers’ Comp
New York’s workers’ compensation system allows injured workers to file for workers’ comp benefits without proving fault or negligence on the part of the employer or any other party. An employee can even file a claim if their own negligence led to their injuries.
The tradeoff, however, is that employees are generally limited to workers’ comp after a workplace accident. Outside of the very limited circumstances discussed below, workers cannot typically file a lawsuit against their employer. Under the right circumstances, however, employees may have claims against other parties, and even against their own boss.
Third-Party Lawsuits After a New York Construction Accident
Although workers are usually limited to workers’ comp when it comes to limiting liability for their employer, injured workers may have additional claims against other parties. If the worker was injured because of the negligence of someone outside the company–someone other than a co-worker or supervisor, or the worker themself–the worker might have a claim against that party.
For example, if a worker was injured because of defective safety gear or manufacturing equipment, the worker could have a claim against the product manufacturer. If the worker was hit by a car driven by someone outside the company while on the job, they might have a claim against the at-fault driver. If the worker was injured because of the negligence of a subcontractor or other party involved with the construction, they could have a claim against that party.
A third-party claim allows the worker to seek additional damages beyond those available under workers’ comp coverage, so long as they can prove the defendant was negligent. The worker may be able to recover all of their wages lost during recovery, instead of the more limited temporary disability benefits, and they may be able to recover for their pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic harms.
The “Grave Injury” Loophole
New York’s workers’ comp system has an unusual exception for “grave injuries.” If a worker suffers a covered grave injury caused by third-party misconduct, the worker can file a third-party claim against the negligent party. Moreover, that third party can add the worker’s employer as a second defendant in the lawsuit. In this way, the employee will actually have a claim against their employer, circumventing the usual workers’ comp limitations.
The law includes an explicit list of grave injuries, which covers things like paralysis, serious disfigurement, loss of a nose or ear, loss of multiple toes or fingers, blindness or deafness, severe traumatic brain injury, and death. Talk to your personal injury lawyer to discuss your potential claims and how to maximize your recovery after a New York construction accident.
Seasoned Advice and Representation for Your New York Construction Accident Case
If you or someone you care about has been seriously hurt in a New York City construction accident or other incident caused by someone else’s negligence, find out if you’re entitled to monetary damages for your injuries by contacting the thorough and effective New York construction injury lawyer Leandros A. Vrionedes for a free consultation at 212-889-9362.