Workers' Compensation Laws in New York
In New York employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Workers' compensation provides benefits to cover lost wages and medical expenses of workers who have been injured or become sick at their workplace. Death benefits are also provided to family members of workers who have died from a work-related injury or illness. Workers are entitled to workers' compensation regardless of whether or not they are partially or wholly at-fault.
New York's Scaffold Law
New York's Scaffold Law (Labor Law §240) requires all general contractors and building owners to provide safe equipment for employees who work at elevated heights. If safe equipment is not provided and a worker is injured, the worker may sue either or both parties.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Workers' compensation provides limited benefits to injured workers. Personal injury lawsuits allow workers to collect damages for all of their losses, including pain and suffering. In most cases injured workers who file a claim and accept workers' compensation are not allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. However, there are certain situations that allow workers to also file a personal injury lawsuit. If a third party acted intentionally or negligently in causing the injury, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed. Common third parties include equipment manufacturers, distributors and sellers, property owners, architects and sub-contractors.
It is important that construction workers are aware of their workers' compensation rights in New York. Workers should be wary of small employers new to the area or those have a history of cutting corners when it comes to worker safety. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help injured workers get reimbursed for their injuries.