Can I pursue a third-party claim and a workers’ compensation claim?

Injured Construction Worker on the Ground Hofmann & SchweitzerNew York construction workers should file for workers’ compensation as soon as possible after an injury in order to get payment for their medical bills and lost wages. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited in how much compensation they provide—and the amount received may not cover the full costs of a serious construction accident. In these cases, a third-party claim could provide additional payment for a worker’s pain and suffering, permanent losses, and reduced quality of life.

Third-Party Injury Cases That May Be Filed After a Construction Accident

Construction employees can file third-party injury claims while they are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but they should be aware that the two claims are very different. For one thing, employees are required to prove fault in an injury claim in order to receive damages. In addition, the negligent party will have to make a case to refute the charges against him or her, which may involve going to court.

Common examples of third-party injury cases include:

Personal injury.

While construction workers are generally limited in their ability to sue an employer after a work injury in New York, they may be eligible to file an injury lawsuit against the general contractor, subcontractor, or owner of the property.

Wrongful death.

In addition to collecting workers’ compensation death benefits, surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent party to recover a construction worker’s medical care related to the fatal accident and permanent loss of income and support.

Product liability.

Injuries or deaths involving construction equipment could lead to a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment. A manufacturer may be liable if the equipment was defective, poorly designed, assembled improperly, inadequately tested, or did not warn users of the risks involved.

One caveat with pursuing a third-party claim is that courts generally do not allow double recoveries for the same injury. Simply put, if your workers’ compensation benefits paid for your medical bills and your third-party settlement includes payment for medical bills, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company may place a lien on the proceeds of your injury case. However, the workers’ compensation insurance company is only entitled to recoup the benefits they have already paid to an injured worker.

If you have been injured on a New York City construction site, our attorneys can get you the compensation you are owed. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today. We also invite you to read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.

 

Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.