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Can You Sue Under Workers’ Compensation?
Workers are injured every day in New York. From construction accidents to office injuries, workplace injuries can cause severe harm. In New York, workers’ compensation law is usually the key to on-the-job injuries.
Known as the “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries, workers’ compensation is one of few ways that injured employees may seek financial relief for their pain and suffering. Employers must pay for workers’ compensation insurance, and they are, in turn, immune from injury lawsuits. That means that if you’re injured at work, most of the time you can’t sue a co-worker or your employer for any negligence that may have caused your injury.
The workers’ comp system can be mutually beneficial for both employee and employer, as the benefits should begin right away and no further legal action is required. The injured employees at the average workplace would have no need to sue their employer or coworkers, while there are some notable exceptions.
When Workers’ Compensation is Not Enough
In New York, it is extremely rare for an injured employee to sue an employer. Usually, the employee would pursue a workers’ compensation claim through the employer’s insurer, and even if denied the first time, the worker can appeal and may eventually get the compensation to which he or she is entitled.
However, in some extreme cases, an employee may file suit against his or her employer. There are two instances in which we might advise our client to sue the employer:
- The employer caused the injury intentionally. While this is very rare, your employer may have intended to cause you harm and acted in such a way with the express intention of hurting you. If so, you may sue your employer for damages. Negligence, though, is not enough to file a suit against your employer.
- The employer is not sufficiently insured. If your employer does not have adequate workers’ compensation coverage or perhaps any at all, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. This would allow you to receive the damages that you would normally have received through the workers’ compensation process.
While these two instances are very rare, they do happen. The best thing in any scenario involving failing to receive your workers’ compensation would be to speak to an experienced lawyer.
Suing Versus Filing a Claim – The Difference
Many people think that filing a workers’ compensation claim and suing an employer are the same thing. These are, in fact, two very different actions. Going through the workers’ comp process involves dealing with the employer’s insurance company and may not involve lawyers nor a court of law. Suing your employer, on the other hand, means that you file a personal injury lawsuit against the entity or person that employs you.
In a perfect world, workers’ comp is done quickly and internally, while you get all the help and financial support that you need for your recovery. In reality, though, there are often times when employees are not given the amount of compensation or time off that they deserve. Worst case scenario – an employee may have his or her claim denied and the employer’s insurance company may refuse to pay them any benefits.
It’s at this point that some people would want to sue their employer. However, under workers’ compensation law, that is not the next step. Rather, you can appeal the decision through the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. Before going through with your appeal, it’s always a good idea to get legal advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer who knows how the process works in New York.
Workers’ compensation claims can usually be resolved through the appeals process before the workers’ compensation board. However, as previously mentioned, if the employer’s insurance is inadequate, or the employer deliberately tried to cause harm to the employee, then – and only then – can the employee sue his or her employer.
Help On Your Journey to Compensation
Any claim or lawsuit can seem daunting on your own. You know that you may be entitled to compensation for your workplace injuries, but you could be unsure as to how to get it. That’s where Hill & Moin comes in.
Our New York workers’ compensation lawyers are compassionate and knowledgeable. Dealing with our firm is like having a lawyer in the family. No question is too small and no case is too complex.
We want to answer your questions and help you get the compensation you deserve. Even if you are an undocumented worker, we can help you pursue workers’ compensation by law at no risk to you.
Dealing with workers’ compensation in New York is a challenge, and you might be wondering whether you even have a solid potential lawsuit against your employer. Help is here for the taking – don’t hesitate to get in touch with Hill & Moin’s workers’ compensation attorneys in a free consultation.