Helping Workers Hurt on the Job Pursue Justice
Suffering an injury while on the job in Manhattan, Nassau County or Suffolk County can dramatically affect your life. In addition to dealing with your injuries, you may be worried about your finances. While workers’ compensation benefits may help cover some of your medical bills and lost wages, it may not be enough. If a third party’s negligence played a role in your injury, however, you may be entitled to additional compensation.To learn your options, contact a New York work accident lawyer.
Looking Beyond Workers’ Compensation for a Work Accident
When you are hurt at work, you may file for workers’ compensation benefits through the state’s program. By doing that, you are then barred from suing your employer for your injuries. However, if the action or inaction of an outside party contributed to the accident or illness, litigation against that person or entity may be initiated. Additional monetary awards can help pay for costs not covered by workers’ compensation, such as mental and emotional pain and suffering, and full lost income. This can be especially important if your injuries are severe or permanent.
For example, if your injury was sustained via a slip-and-fall accident, and the owner of the property is not your employer, the owner may be found liable if unsafe conditions existed or the property was not properly maintained. Third-party suits are also commonly filed by a work accident lawyers against the makers of defective products, contractors, and drivers who cause automobile accidents.
Third Parties Are Often Responsible for Work-Related Injuries
There are often more parties involved in work-related injuries than just the employer and employee. Common third parties responsible for work-related injuries include:
- At-fault drivers in work-related vehicle accidents
- Negligent contractors and subcontractors
- Manufacturers and sellers of defective products
- Property owners in slip-and-fall or other premises liability cases
Employees who are hurt at work by third parties in work-related accidents are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because their injuries are work-related, but they may also pursue personal injury claims against third-party tortfeasors.
Employers May Also Recover Damages Obtained in Third-Party Claims
A common scenario arises in third-party claims wherein the injured worker applies for and receives workers’ compensation benefits, but then pursues a personal injury claim against a third party and recovers damages in the litigation. In these cases, the employer/carrier that paid the employee’s workers’ compensation claim has a right to reimbursement for any amounts paid up to the date of the third-party recovery minus the costs of the litigation. To do so, the employer/carrier may place a lien on the worker’s damages award. For more information about liens on third-party damages awards, please contact a work related injury law firm.
If the claimant’s third-party damages award is greater than the amount the employer/carrier paid in benefits, the employer/carrier may recover the total amount it paid in medical expenses and compensation benefits. If the amount the claimant receives is less, the employer/carrier’s obligation is only the difference between the amount it paid out and the amount the claimant received in the litigation. The employer/carrier may also sue the tortfeasor directly for any amounts it paid to the injured worker (a process known as “subrogation”) provided that (1) one year has passed from the date of the accident or six months from the compensation award (whichever comes first), and (2) the employee has been notified in writing and 30 days have elapsed.
Limitations on Employer Recovery: Contact a Work Related Injury Law Firm for More Information
An employer’s right to recover third-party payouts is limited in several ways:
- Motor vehicle claims: An employer’s reimbursement right does not extend to any amounts the worker recovered under § 5104(a) of the insurance law. That law states that a person injured in an automobile accident may not recover for non-economic losses or “basic economic loss” (up to $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages), because those amounts are paid by the injured person’s own insurance policy.
- Burns v. Varriale, 9 N.Y.3d 207 (2007): The employer’s reimbursement will be reduced by the percentage of what the claimant spent on litigation costs; however, in cases of permanent partial disability, the present value of future workers’ compensation benefits is speculative. In such cases, the court may fashion an appropriate method of apportioning litigation expenses as they accrue.
Please contact an attorney at a work related injury law firm for more specific information about limitations on an employer’s right to recover the proceeds of litigation against third parties.
Our Work Accident Lawyers are On Your Side — We Hold Third Parties Accountable
Our workers comp attorneys at Turley Redmond Rosasco & Rosasco, L.L.P., have successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We apply that experience to conduct a comprehensive investigation of your accident and analyze whether any negligence existed or regulations were violated. Your recovery is our highest priority, and we advocate on your behalf to get you the help you deserve. Employers and insurance companies may not have your best interests in mind, but we do.
An initial consultation at one of our six offices throughout Long Island and New York is free. To speak with one of our dedicated and experienced workers comp lawyers, call us at 800-671-4927 or get in touch with us online.