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B.R., Queens

Off The Record – Workers’ Comp – Insurance Claim Not Lawsuit

Video Transcript

Okay. So, today I wanna talk about the distinction between a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit because one of the concerns that people have when they call us, if they’ve been injured on the job, is that they don’t wanna sue anyone. They’re, like, not looking to sue their employer. You know, they get nervous because they like their job or they have a job, you know, where they don’t wanna make any waves. And what I wanna tell you is that a workers’ compensation case is not a lawsuit against your employer. It’s an insurance claim. And that means that you’re entitled to two major benefits, medical treatment, and lost wages if you have to lose time from work. I won’t bog you down with too many specifics about the lost wages.

But the main thing that you have to know is that this is not…workers’ compensation is not a form where the employer is being sued by the employee. The workers’ compensation system was set up to protect injured workers by having insurance coverage for on-the-job injuries. And it also provides a benefit to the employers because they cannot be sued personally by the worker for anything that occurs on the job. So, it’s very important to remember that because it’s an insurance claim. It’s not a lawsuit.

There are situations that arise where a person may have an insurance claim, a workers’ compensation claim, and also what we call a third-party action, meaning that if there is some negligence by a third-party, not the employer, then they may be entitled to file a lawsuit, a civil lawsuit against that third-party. A very common case is a car accident. If you’re in a car accident on the job, say you’re in your work car and you get hit by another vehicle that has nothing to do with your employer, you may have a suit if there was any negligence involved against that person and their insurance, but that’s totally separate than a workers’ compensation claim. And they can run concurrently the two actions but the main thing to keep in mind is that you cannot sue an employer for on-the-job injuries, no matter what, even if there was negligence, okay?

So, important to remember that you’re not suing your employer. It’s an insurance claim. And that also means that, unfortunately, even if there is negligence created by the employer, your recourse is workers’ compensation and that’s why they have workers’ compensation insurance to cover you.

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