New York Worker’s Compensation law requires that your employer have workers’ compensation insurance which entitles you to money for medical treatment and lost wages when you are injured in an accident while working on the job.
Tip: Always call a personal injury lawyer first because you may have a personal injury claim in addition to a worker’s compensation claim.
Am I Entitled to Worker’s Compensation?
To get workers’ compensation insurance benefits, you must be an employee, and your injury must have occurred while you were working.
You cannot be an independent contractor, but you may be able to have a personal injury case.
You are entitled to worker’s compensation even if you are at fault for causing your injury or accident.
If you are not sure if you were injured while you were working, please call us for a free consultation days/nights/weekends.
How Much Can I Get From Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s compensation insurance will pay for your medical expenses, and you will receive a percentage (usually two-thirds) of your wages while you cannot work. Worker’s Compensation cases are often settled for a lump sum payment similar to a personal injury case.
If you are unable to work permanently, it may be better not to settle your Worker’s Compensation case and to continue receiving payments.
You may be able to have a Personal Injury case in addition to a Worker’s Compensation case, and you will be able to get money from both cases.
Should I Call a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer?
You should always call a personal injury lawyer first to determine if you can have both a Personal Injury case and a Worker’s Compensation case. You can then call a Worker’s Compensation lawyer, or we can refer you to a Worker’s Compensation lawyer.
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Can I Sue My Employer For Personal Injury?
You may be able to have both a personal injury case and a worker’s compensation case (see below). But you cannot sue your employer for personal injury except in rare situations.
In some instances involving serious injuries, such as if you suffered an amputation, you may be able to indirectly sue your employer.
Why Can’t I Sue My Employer For Personal Injury?
New York Worker’s Compensation law requires your employer to have Worker’s Compensation insurance. In exchange for you receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you give up the right to sue your employer.
Can I Have a Worker’s Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Claim?
Yes. Many types of accidents entitle you to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.
If you are an independent contractor, you can have a personal injury claim if another person or company caused your injury.
If you are an employee, you can also have a personal injury claim if another person or company, other than your employer, caused your injury.
You can have a personal injury case against another person or company responsible for causing your injury even if your injury was caused while working. Many times, we find that there is another person or company that can be sued.
Filing a personal injury claim allows you to receive money from both workers’ compensation and a settlement of your personal injury claim against another company or person.
This is why you should always call a New York personal injury lawyer when you’re injured while working. You should call us first. We can refer you to the workers’ compensation lawyer we work with, or you can use your own workers’ compensation lawyer.
Our workers’ compensation lawyer has offices in every county. When you use our workers’ compensation lawyer, you can always call us with questions about your workers’ compensation case, since it is very difficult to speak with workers’ compensation lawyers.
Examples of When You Can Have Both a Worker’s Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Claim
Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents
While working for your employer you have a car accident caused by someone else.
In New York, Police Officers injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence are entitled to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. This is most often when a police officer has a car accident while working.
Police Officers frequently file both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims when injured while driving in an RMP, riding a motorcycle, issuing a summons, or directing traffic.
It’s not common for motorcyclists to get workers’ compensation since they’re usually not riding for work. But it does happen. We represented several motorcyclists including motorcycle police officers and a salesperson at Harley Davidson who was working at the time of their motorcycle accident.
We represented a motorcyclist who worked for a Harley Davidson dealer. He had a motorcycle accident when he was hit by a car while riding a motorcycle to an event. He called New York’s Motorcycle Accident Lawyers and since our client had both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim we represented him for his personal injury claim and referred him to a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Construction Site Accidents
Almost all construction site accidents involve both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. In fact, most construction site accidents result in extremely valuable personal injury claims and have virtually unlimited insurance policies so you should always call a construction accident lawyer when you are injured on a construction site.
An example is when a mason on elevated scaffolding accidentally drops cement or a tool on you. You are an electrician working for a different company. You can file a lawsuit against the company employing the mason and probably other companies for personal injuries.
We had a similar case where a site supervisor told a construction worker to throw cement out of a window. The cement hit and injured our client, nearly amputating his thumb. We referred him to a worker’s compensation lawyer who settled his worker’s compensation case. We sued both the company employing the worker and the company employing the site supervisor for personal injury and settled for $1,200,000.
Many workplace accidents can entitle you to both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.
One example is if you have an accident while operating a forklift or on foot offloading merchandise from a trailer when the driver pushes a box onto you causing your injury or the driver does something else that injures you. If the driver works for a different company, you can sue that company for personal injury.
Can I Have a Worker’s Compensation Claim If I Work Remotely At Home?
You are covered by workers’ compensation if your accident happens during or due to a work-related task. It does not matter if you were working at home.
Your workers’ compensation attorney will help you build a successful workers’ compensation claim.
As a remote worker using a computer at home, you are just as much at risk of suffering a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, as you are in the office. If you have been diagnosed with an RSI when working from home, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation.
Can Worker’s Compensation Have a Lien On My Personal Injury Case?
Yes. Consent from the worker’s compensation insurance company is needed to settle a personal injury case.
Failure to get consent from the worker’s compensation insurance company to settle your personal injury claim will result in your losing your worker’s compensation benefits forever.
However, there is an exception. Car and motorcycle accidents may include an underinsured or uninsured claim. Worker’s compensation is not entitled to a lien on underinsured and uninsured claims.
WCL Sec 29 (Worker’s Compensation Law) requires that the worker’s compensation insurance company pays the legal fee of the cost to get the money to pay the lien. This will reduce your lien by 1/3 or more.
Can You Represent Me For My Worker’s Compensation Case?
We can refer you to a worker’s compensation lawyer, and we will work closely with your worker’s compensation attorney to ensure your personal injury claim doesn’t interfere with your worker’s compensation benefits.
If you already have a worker’s compensation lawyer or want to use someone else, we will work closely with whichever worker’s compensation attorney you choose to use.
If you have a worker’s compensation claim and can not have a personal injury claim (such as when you are injured at work and no one else was at fault for causing your injury), we will still be happy to refer you to a worker’s compensation lawyer. We will then make ourselves available to you for free consultations whenever you have a question about your worker’s compensation claim.
What is the Time Limit to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in New York is two years from the date of injury or the date of last payment, whichever is later.
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of your accident.
Tip: Always call a personal injury lawyer immediately and then call a workers’ compensation lawyer. Never wait because you may lose valuable rights. If you wait until near the statute of limitations, you may not be able to find a workers’ compensation lawyer or personal injury lawyer willing to take your case because it is too close to the statute of limitations.
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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.