Can you file for workers’ compensation and sue a third-party for a work-related injury?

At Segar & Sciortino, we look at your case from every angle to help maximize your benefits and get you the compensation you deserve.  When someone comes to us with a workers’ compensation issue, one of the things we look for is a responsible “third-party” to bring a lawsuit against, or “sue.” for the things workers’ compensation doesn’t pay for, like pain and suffering.  As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, in New York, you generally can’t sue your employer for injuries you sustained in an on-the-job accident, even if the accident was your employer’s fault (or the fault of a co-worker).  However, you might be able to sue someone who is not your employer if they are responsible for your injuries.   Someone who is not your employer, in this situation, is called a “third-party.”  In this post we will discuss common examples of accidents that could result in both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit.

Work-Related Car Accidents

The most common example of a third-party claim arising from a workers’ compensation action is when someone gets into a car accident while driving for work.  All kinds of people drive as part of their jobs: truck drivers, delivery-persons, sales people who make on-site client visits, construction workers who haul materials, home health workers, even lawyers who have to drive to and from court.  If you are driving as part of your job and get into a car accident that isn’t your fault, you may be able to sue the other driver in a third-party lawsuit.  This means you could collect your workers’ compensation, as you normally would, AND you could bring a lawsuit for damages not covered by workers’ compensation like pain and suffering, future lost wages, damage to your vehicle and other non-economic damages.

Slips, Falls and Other Injuries That Happen on Someone Else’s Property

If you are working on someone else’s property and you are injured due to a dangerous condition, you may be able to sue the building owner or property manager in addition to collecting your workers’ compensation.  Common examples of this scenario include: slip and falls on icy walkways; falls down broken stairways; and trips over uneven flooring or over dangerously placed items.  If your injury was caused by a major defect in a property not owned or managed by your employer, you may be able to bring a third-party lawsuit for things workers’ compensation doesn’t pay for.

Injuries to Subcontractors Working on Construction Sites

As we’ve discussed in other posts, injuries that occur on construction sites present some unique issues.  If you’re injured on a construction site while working for a subcontractor, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the general contractor (or the property owner, as discussed above).  General Contractors are often responsible for maintaining a safe environment for everyone working on a construction site, including the sub-contractors.  If your injury resulted from a safety violation, including violations of the Labor Law, you may be able to bring a third-party lawsuit for pain and suffering in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.

These are just a few examples of common situations where a third-party is responsible for someone’s on-the-job accident.  At Segar & Sciortino we look at your case from every angle so you get all you deserve.  If you are injured on the job, give us a call.  We’d be happy to help.