If you get hurt on the job, you know that workers’ compensation will take care of you. Coverage is mandatory in New York for all employers, and its benefits protect full-time and part-time workers.
Unless your employer has failed to pay their premiums, you can make a claim for benefits after you get hurt on the job or get diagnosed with a work-acquired medical condition. Workers’ compensation benefits can offer you a portion of your lost wages in disability benefits and comprehensive medical coverage that will not require patient responsibility the way that standard health insurance does.
Of course, disability benefits through workers’ compensation in New York won’t pay the full amount of the wages you don’t earn. You can only receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, possibly less if your disability rating from your injury is less than 100%. That could leave a pretty big gap in your budget. When is it possible for you to file a lawsuit in addition to claiming workers’ compensation benefits?
When a third party is clearly at fault for your injuries
You can file a claim for workers’ compensation and also file a civil lawsuit against someone who caused your injuries.
Many workplace accidents that involve missed work are the result of transportation crashes. If a drunk or distracted driver caused a wreck while you were working, you might be able to file a civil lawsuit against them.
The same is true for companies that produced defective products or if poorly performed services for your employer directly resulted in your injuries.
When your employer was grossly negligent or broke the law
Generally speaking, workers’ compensation insurance absolves a company of its responsibility to workers by protecting them from financial liability due to injuries or work-acquired illnesses.
Still, in situations where an employee can show that illegal activity or gross negligence by the company cost their injury, it may be possible to file a civil lawsuit against the business. A civil claim could replace the portion of your wages that disability benefits won’t cover and provide compensation for other expenses not included in your workers’ compensation claim.
A closer look at the circumstances leading to your work injury can give you a better idea of your options.