Workers' Compensation For Construction Accidents In New York
What Types of Workers’ Comp Are You Entitled To?
Construction workers have highly dangerous jobs, which is why there are a number of strong legal protections in place to help them in the event they suffer injuries when performing work-related duties.
This includes workers’ compensation, a form of no-fault insurance carried by most employers in the State of New York. If you work in construction, your employer most likely carries workers’ compensation insurance coverage which will pay for your accident-related medical expenses and partial lost wages.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
As a construction worker, you are entitled by law to receive benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance when you suffer work-related injuries or occupational diseases.
As a no-fault-insurance system, workers’ compensation allows injured workers to recover benefits regardless of fault, even if they partially caused their own injuries. Unlike civil personal injury claims, workers seeking benefits do not have to prove that someone was negligent or at fault.
Workers’ comp can provide immediate access to needed benefits and can be a critical lifeline when work injuries prevent workers from being able to earn an income.
The types of benefits an injured worker can receive include:
- Covered Medical Treatment
- Prescription Coverage
- Medical Devices
- Partial Lost Wages
- Death Benefits
- Lump Sum Settlements for Certain Claims
If a worker’s injuries prevent them from working entirely or from earning as much as they did before their accident, they may be entitled to benefits that make up two-thirds of the wages they would normally earn up to a maximum amount allowed by the State of New York. This amount will depend on the percentage of disability determined by the Workers’ Compensation Board or otherwise agreed upon between the carrier and the claimant (injured worker).
Workers’ Comp & Personal Injury Lawsuits: Which One Do I Pursue After a Construction Accident?
Workers’ comp is often insufficient in providing the full scope of compensation workers and their families need and deserve to cover the full amount of lost earnings, and, of course, their pain and emotional suffering – especially in cases involving serious injuries or wrongful death.
Given the limitations of workers’ compensation, our team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., helps injured construction workers and their families explore options for pursuing personal injury lawsuits in addition to helping them with their workers’ compensation cases.
Personal injury lawsuits for construction accidents require the injured workers, and plaintiffs, to prove that the named defendant(s), contractors, and construction site owners, violated the Labor Law of the State of New York and/or negligently caused them harm.
When successful, civil injury suits can allow workers to recover compensation that is insufficient or otherwise unavailable under workers’ comp, including:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
- A full recovery of past and future lost wages and fringe benefits.
- Loss of emotional support, and loss of consortium.
- Medical expenses obtained from providers not approved by workers’ compensation.
- Punitive damages are awarded only in cases involving egregious negligence or misconduct.
How Our Proven Lawyers Can Support Your Claim
When Can I Bring a Civil Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Construction Accident?
Because workers’ compensation is intended to be the exclusive legal remedy against employers for workers injured on the job per Section 29(6) of the NY Workers’ Compensation Law, construction workers can pursue civil damages outside of workers’ compensation only under limited circumstances. This can include:
- Claims against property owners, general contractors, and others who violate New York Labor Law 200, Labor Law 240(1), or Labor Law 241(6).
- Claims against negligent third parties, including negligent contractors or subcontractors who caused accidents on a construction site.
- Claims against product manufacturers responsible for defective products, unsafe materials/chemicals such as asbestos, or faulty tools and equipment.
- Claims against an employer under very limited circumstances, including situations where employers fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance or intentionally injure employees.
Even when there is a viable third-party personal injury claim, victims can still receive workers’ compensation benefits while their personal injury cases are pending. In these situations, it is vital workers bring their cases to attorneys who are experienced in representing clients with simultaneous workers’ comp and third-party personal injury cases, and who are familiar with the complexities of how they interrelate.
That is because workers’ comp insurers are entitled by law to reimbursement/subrogation of a percentage of the benefits they have paid for an accident when a recovery is made from a lawsuit through a settlement or verdict for that accident. This will have bearing on a worker’s final net recovery and is something that any attorney representing them for the accident will have to consider and take into account. At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we have the experience and resources to represent clients in both their workers’ comp claims and third-party construction accident cases, and to implement the strategies that help maximize their total take-home recoveries.
How Will My Worker’s Comp Case Be Resolved?
Many workers’ compensation cases are resolved through negotiations between the insurance carrier and your attorney or representative. Contested cases are tried before a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge who will hear testimony and receive medical records, medical opinions, and other evidence.
Third-party personal injury claims may also be settled through out-of-court negotiations. In the event a settlement cannot be reached, injury lawsuits can be tried in civil court before a judge and jury, where arguments and evidence are presented as to why defendants should be held liable for damages.
How your case will be resolved and the timing of wrapping up a workers’ comp case while a third-party claim is pending will depend on the specific circumstances involved in your matter. An attorney can help you better understand what a resolution might look like in your particular case during a consultation.
Call For A Free Case Review From an NYC Construction Workers Comp Lawyer
Navigating the workers’ compensation system after a work-related injury or illness can be a daunting task without the right legal representation. Should injured construction workers also have grounds to pursue civil injury claims and additional compensation in the form of civil damages, working with experienced attorneys becomes all the more important.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., our award-winning lawyers have recovered millions in compensation for clients injured in all types of construction accidents almost all of which involved both workers’ compensation claims and third-party civil injury lawsuits. Since 1983, we have shown we have what it takes to help our clients prevail in even the most complex claims.
If you have questions about your construction accident and how you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or civil damages, our NYC attorneys are available to speak with you during a FREE consultation. Call or contact us online to get started.