While many workers understand that when they are injured on the job they have the right to pursue a NY workers' compensation claim, few understand the rules and guidelines of this process. In some cases, workers’ compensation may not apply at all or be extremely limited. However, if your work injuries were caused by a third-party, you may still be able to pursue a personal injury claim. In both situations, you will need to provide evidence of the injury and its connection to the negligence of the liable party, as well as the aid of a skilled attorney to advocate for your rights during the entire process. Only then will you have a chance of receiving adequate compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
If you have suffered an injury or illness related to your work, consult the New York on-the-job injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, to ensure you have the strongest claim possible. The rules surrounding work injuries and the actions employees can take afterward are complicated. Our legal team has spent years representing clients injured in New York and can inform you of your rights and legal options. Call our us today at (212) 986-7353 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
If you were injured while on the job, it should be a simple process to get the money owed to you through your workers' comp insurance. Unfortunately, the process can be difficult to navigate - especially alone. If you suffered an injury or became ill due to a harmful work environment, do not wait to get medical attention and inform your employer. The sooner you document your injuries, the better. Failing to report the work-related illness or injury could result in the loss of your rightful benefits.
It may seem simple to determine what counts as a "work-related injury,” but in certain situations, it may be more difficult. For example:
- The incident occurred during the worker’s lunch break.
- The incident occurred during a company event.
- The incident occurred while traveling.
- The incident occurred due to the worker's misconduct.
- A preexisting condition was aggravated while performing a job duty.
In New York, you have two years from the date of your work-related accident to file a workers' compensation claim. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to pursue financial compensation for your injuries. That is why it is important to get medical aid and report the accident as soon as possible to your employer so that you can receive compensation as early as possible.
Broadly put, workers’ compensation is expected to provide compensation for any injury you suffer while performing your duties, including injuries that occur over time and injuries that are caused by accidents.
Common injuries that workers’ compensation claims will cover include:
- Repetitive stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel)
- Back, neck, and spine injuries
- Broken bones
- Head/brain injuries
- Closed head injury
- Penetrating (open) head injury
- Aphasia (speech problems) caused by swelling
- Vision and hearing loss
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Given that New York appears to be in a constant state of construction, workers here are also at risk of suffering catastrophic injuries as a result of safety violations on a construction. However, individuals who work for restaurants, bars, offices, and retail spaces can also become severely injured depending on the nature of the accident. Types of accidents that commonly injure New York workers include:
- Construction accidents
- Work-related motor vehicle accidents
- Machinery accidents
- Heavy lifting accidents
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Assaults due to negligent security
- Exposure to chemicals and/or chemical fumes
One of the deadliest situations a worker could face with an on-the-job injury is a brain injury, especially among construction workers or workers who suffer slip and fall accidents. Traumatic brain injuries, or closed head injuries, are often associated with severe brain damage that can lead to lifelong disabilities. However, this is not always the case: mild traumatic brain injuries like concussions are also extremely debilitating to New York workers and are still ignored by workers’ compensation boards and insurance companies when they shouldn’t be.
- Mild seizures
- Diminished concentration, inability to complete daily tasks
- Hearing and balance disorders
- Cognitive fatigue; frequent malaise, tiredness, or sluggishness
- Personality changes, impulsive behavior, changes in behavior
- Short-term memory loss, confusion, and difficulty remembering recent events
- Impaired perception, alterations in speech
- Severe headaches, nausea, and dizziness
- Lack of standard motor function on one side of the body
It should be noted, while workers’ compensation may apply to your head injury, you may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim if a third-party was involved.
Phil Russotti obtained an $11.1 million verdict in Queens County Supreme Court, for a 53 year old man who was injured on a construction site at a New York City High School.
Plaintiff, a 40 year-old, undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was working off the books for a roofing contractor when he fell through a hole in the first floor of a one family home he was working in.
Phil Russotti and Ken Halperin settled the case of a union-affiliated painter in his 40s, who was injured while working at a chemical storage facility in the city of Niagra Falls.
Phil Russotti, Ken Halperin
Bryce Moses’ client was an experienced contractor with his own construction business. While standing three feet from an edge, the ground collapsed beneath him, sending him down the 35 foot hole.
The general rule is that on-the-job injuries are covered by workers' compensation insurance. Because of this, workers are also not able to pursue compensation in the form of a lawsuit or personal injury claim against their employer. However, there are exceptions to the rule, and while you generally cannot file a claim against your employer, you may be able to file against a third-party. The following are situations in which an injured worker may pursue compensation outside of workers’ comp:
- If a defective product caused the injury.
- If a toxic substance caused the injury.
- If an employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance.
- If a third-party is liable for the injury.
It's best to go over every option with a lawyer. The reward from a personal injury lawsuit can be much greater than the benefits provided by workers' compensation and can allow you to recover more comfortably. Third-party claims are a little different, however.
Workers’ compensation is designed to be “no-fault” insurance, meaning that you may be able to pursue it if you are injured on the job without having to demonstrate negligence. Personal injury claims, on the other hand, require you to prove that the third-party:
- Owed you a duty of care
- Acted negligently and broke that duty of care
- In breaking that duty of care, they injured you
- Those injuries resulted in financial and personal damages
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, you have up to three years to file a personal injury claim in the state of New York against a third-party. While you have more time, you will want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Personal injury claims require in-depth investigations and substantial evidence in order to hold the at-fault party accountable. This can be made more difficult if your injuries were caused at a construction site or another business that is constantly changing its layout, potentially leading to a loss in evidence. However, if you talk to an attorney quickly, we may be able to collect evidence before it is damaged or lost.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a workplace accident, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. At the law firm of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, our NY personal injury attorneys understand that injuries not only cause serious physical and financial damage, but major emotional trauma as well. We have dedicated our careers to providing clients with the best representation possible, helping them recover for their losses, whether it is a claim against an at-fault employer or third-party. To learn more about how we can apply our years of experience to your case, call (212) 986-7353 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.
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