Workers’ comp and third-party lawsuits

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Most New York employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage to protect their employees when they are injured or sickened at work. Injured employees do not have to prove that their employers negligently caused their accidents and injuries to secure workers’ comp benefits. In exchange, employees are generally prevented from filing personal injury lawsuits against their employers following workplace accidents. However, there are some exceptions to this rule that might allow employees to file personal injury lawsuits for work-related injuries or occupational illnesses.

Third-party personal injury claims for workplace injuries

In some workplaces, employees from several companies might be working closely together. For example, construction sites typically have multiple subcontractors performing different jobs in close proximity to each other. If an employee of one subcontractor is injured in an accident caused by an employee of a different subcontractor, the injured employee can file a workers’ comp claim with his or her employer and a third-party workplace injury lawsuit against the third-party subcontracting company that negligently caused the accident. If the general contractor failed to maintain a safe environment, the employee might file a personal injury lawsuit against the general contractor while also recovering workers’ compensation benefits from their employer’s insurance provider.

When negligence lawsuits may be filed against employers

Certain exceptions exist to the general rule that employees are limited to recovering compensation through the workers’ compensation insurance system. If an employer negligently fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance, the injured employee can file a lawsuit against the employer to recover damages. Employees might also be able to file lawsuits against their employers when their employers have engaged in gross negligence or have assaulted them.

Filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim might allow an injured employee to recover more compensation for workplace injuries than filing a workers’ compensation claim alone. This is because a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t allow employees to recover damages for their pain and suffering losses while a personal injury lawsuit does. People who have sustained serious injuries at work might want to have an attorney review their cases to determine all of the potentially liable parties.