When a person is injured at work or in the course of employment, New York State law allows them to claim Worker's Compensation benefits. Anyone who has ever been involved with a Worker's Compensation claim knows the process is time consuming, difficult and often results in an award of benefits which does not adequately compensate the injured worker. The Worker's Compensation Law also prevents an injured worker from bringing a lawsuit for damages against his or her employer. What many injured workers do not realize is that, in addition to a worker's compensation claim, he or she may also be able to bring a "third-party" claim against someone other than their employer if he or she is injured as a result of someone else's negligence.
An example of a responsible third party would be a landowner whose property or facilities are being used for employment. If a landowner maintains an unsafe workplace which contributes to or causes an accident, that landowner may be held liable for injuries suffered as a result. In some situations usually involving a ladder or scaffold, landowners may be liable for an accident even if they were not directly involved. A further example of a responsible third party is the manufacturer of a machine or tool which is used in the course of the job. If that machine or tool were defective in some way, and that defect caused an injury, the injured party may be able to pursue a "products liability" claim. Other examples of possible responsible third parties include motorists, general contractors and subcontractors working at a job site, construction managers and construction engineers.
Very often injured workers may have a third party claim available to them without realizing it. A fact which may be insignificant to an injured worker may, when considered by a qualified attorney, result in a theory of liability which could result in a significant recovery.
If you are injured as a result of an accident at your place of employment, or elsewhere in the course of your employment, contact us for a free consultation. Do not assume you are limited in your options to a claim for Worker's Compensation benefits.
This could be the one of the most important requests for legal advice you ever need to make.