Many, many accidents happen in the workplace. Whether you work in a business where this is relatively rare (and office, for example), or in a field where it is much more likely (police, fire, construction), the prospect of being injured while on the job is always present.
So what do you do if you were hurt on the job, through no fault of your own? Well, the answer depends upon the circumstances of the injury.
Police & Fire
Police officers and firefighters face a significant amount of risk in their work. Aside from the risks inherent in the job - injuries from training, fighting fires, responding to calls - they also face the same risks that each of face every time we walk out the door.
For example - you are a police officer and you are injured while on duty because another vehicle strikes your car. What do you do now?
First, remember that the workers compensation law provides a certain level of protection for individuals who are hurt on the job, which can include payment of medical expenses and payment for lost wages. (NOTE: we do not handle workers compensation cases, but if you need a referral for a lawyer, give us a call and we'd be happy to point you in the right direction).
But what about the additional pain and suffering that you've dealt with? That is not covered by the workers compensation law, and it can be significant.
That's where a private right of action - otherwise known as a "third-party action" comes in. While the workers compensation law does not, generally, allow you to file a lawsuit against your own employer, it does allow you to bring a claim for your injuries against a third party who was responsible. This claim is separate and apart from a workers compensation claim, but remember one thing - if you recover money in the third party action, the workers comp insurance carrier may very well have a lien against a portion of that recovery. Legally, they are entitled to this.
The key takeaway here is that you are not strictly limited to a workers compensation recovery for your injuries. And this is important to keep in mind as you recover from the accident.
Accidents at and around construction sites are very common. For this reason New York has adopted several laws which are designed to ensure that injured workers can recover.
The problem with construction site accidents is that they often lead to very serious injuries. Because of this, the injured worker is often able to bring third party claims against the general contractor as well as the project owner.
If you are hurt at work, and someone else is at fault, you may not be limited in your recovery to a workers compensation claim. And there is a reason for this - because the workers compensation claim does not make you whole. It does not provide for recovery for the often severe pain and suffering that you have suffered, or the damages to your family.
If you find yourself having been hurt on the job, contact us today. We're happy to help.