After suffering a serious injury in a workplace accident, can you file a lawsuit against your employer? In most cases, the answer is “no.” But that’s not the end of the story.
New York requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that any benefits you recover from a workplace accident will be limited to those provided under your employer’s insurance policy.
Workers’ compensation is a two-way street
The workers’ comp system does not assign blame for workplace accidents. Initially, this may seem unfair. After all, if you are injured by the negligent actions of another outside of work, you can fight to hold the other party accountable. However, because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, it operates as a two-way street for both employers and employees.
Let’s change perspectives. What if you were injured in a workplace accident that was entirely your fault? Maybe you weren’t giving your full attention to a task you’ve performed hundreds of times. Maybe you skipped a safety procedure. Think about the result if your employer said, “You caused the accident. I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your life!”
Workers’ comp protects both parties. The threat of a lawsuit isn’t always hanging over your employer’s head and you don’t have to worry about missed wages or medical bills.
Additional compensation may be available
With your employer, your only avenue of recovery is workers’ comp. However, additional damages are a possibility if a third party was involved in the accident.
For example, you might be able to seek additional damages if driving is one of your job-related duties, and you are hurt in an accident with another vehicle.
If you have questions, discuss your legal options with a skilled workers’ comp attorney.