Suppose you are at work, trip on uneven tiles, and break your arm. You might be wondering, I was injured at work. Can I sue? How you might receive compensation for your injury is a valid concern. After an injury, it is common to feel anxious, overwhelmed, and have an automatic response to sue. However, if your injury occurred at work, it is not simple. Let’s explore what situations you may be able to sue your employer after a work injury. We’ll also touch on workers’ compensation benefits under New York Law.
New York Law
New York law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to compensate employees for sustained injuries. Workers’ comp insurance covers the cost of medical treatment, provides lost wages, and pays for rehabilitation costs. Generally, employees injured in a work-related accident are limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim and cannot sue their employer in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are exceptions.
If an employer intentionally caused your injury, they may be held personally liable for your damages. Proving their intent is the key to successfully suing an employer for their actions. This is often challenging and complex. If your injury results from your employer’s deliberate behavior, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your options.
Uninsured or Underinsured Employer
In New York, as in most states, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, some may carry insufficient coverage or none at all. If this is the case, and you are injured while working, you may be able to sue your employer in a civil lawsuit.
Sometimes the reason for an employee’s work injury is not the employer’s fault. Instead, it is an outside party responsible for the cause of the accident. If a third party is at fault, you may be able to pursue a third-party claim or lawsuit against them outside of a workers’ compensation claim. There are many examples of third-party liability. Common situations include:
- Accidents caused by a defective product (e.g., defective brakes),
- Injury from a slip-and-fall on someone else’s property,
- Injury from a car accident caused by another driver, and
- A subcontractor or vendor causes accidents.
A third party—not your employer—may be liable for your injuries in these scenarios. An experienced attorney can help you assess your situation for potential liability.
What Is the Process for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in NY?
If you are hurt at work, knowing what steps to take to file a workers’ compensation claim successfully is essential.
First and foremost, immediately seek the necessary medical treatment. Many injuries are immediately apparent, but some develop over time or are not realized until the initial shock subsides. It is imperative to seek medical attention right away.
Notify Your Employer
You must notify your employer of your injury within 30 days. But don’t wait. It is best to inform them as soon as possible.
File a Claim
After you notify your employer of your injury, you must file a claim with the New York State Board of Workers’ Compensation. You are required to complete a specific form known as Form C-3. As with notifying your employer, filing a claim immediately or soon after the incident is critical. You only have two years from the accident date to file your claim.
Preliminary Medical Report
Your treating doctor will complete a preliminary medical report, Form C-4, within 48 hours of your injury. You must mail a copy of the information to the workers’ comp board and your employer’s insurance carrier.
Written Statement of Your Rights
The insurance carrier will provide you with a written statement of your rights under the law within 14 days of receiving your injury report.
When Will I Start Receiving Benefits?
You should start receiving compensation within 18 days of receiving your injury report unless the insurer is disputing your claim. While hiring an attorney to file a workers’ comp claim is not required, it is always recommended. An attorney will help expedite the process and ensure you receive all eligible benefits. At Ferrante & Koenig, there is no cost to speak with us. Call us to schedule a consultation.