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Your rights when you get hurt by a third party while on the job

Job injuries happen all the time in New York. Some people who work in construction might fall on the job, while a person who works as a bouncer at a club could wind up hurt by violence involving a couple of intoxicated patrons. Thankfully, injured workers can usually turn to workers’ compensation insurance after something hurts them at work.

A worker who needs medical care can count on workers’ compensation to cover 100% of their necessary medical costs. They can also potentially receive short-term disability benefits while they recover or even permanent partial disability benefits if an injury will have a long-term effect on their work.

New York’s workers’ compensation insurance program is a no-fault system that means that workers can make a claim even if they are partially responsible for their injuries or if their employer is clearly at fault. What happens in a situation where someone else, a third party, is the one who causes the injury?

Injured workers sometimes have the right to a personal injury claim

Workers’ compensation insurance limits the risk that your employer has due to workplace accidents. Unless they are negligent or break the law somehow, a worker covered through workers’ compensation usually can’t also take legal action against their employer. However, whether or not you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may have the right to take legal action against someone unrelated to your work who hurts you on the job.

When is a third party responsible for your work injuries?

There are many situations in which a third party has obvious responsibility for an incident that leaves you injured. For example, a company that sold or leased a defective product, like a tool that has an electrical short in it, could be responsible for your injuries if the defect is what caused the incident. If you go out to inspect someone’s property and it is in poor repair, which leads to your getting hurt, you may have a premises liability claim against the property owner.

There is also the constant risk of a car crash on the job. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24% of all work-related employee deaths involve car crashes. You could potentially bring legal action against someone who causes a collision if you drive during your workday.

What can you seek through a personal injury claim?

You may have medical needs that aren’t considered necessary but are still important to your recovery that you could claim the expenses of in a personal injury lawsuit. Workers struggling to make ends meet on the reduced income of disability benefits could seek the remainder of the wages they didn’t receive while they were hurt or other provable losses they suffered, including property damage costs that workers’ compensation likely won’t cover.

Reviewing the situation that led to your workplace injury can give you a better idea about whether you might be able to take legal action against the third party for you’re missed wages and other losses.