Construction work is inherently dangerous, and unfortunately, accidents in the industry are not uncommon. You might know that if you’ve been hurt in a construction accident, you can’t sue your employer due to New York’s Workers’ Compensation laws. However, if you suffered injuries in the workplace, you might wonder whether you have other options to recover compensation. Workers’ Compensation often isn’t enough to cover an injured worker’s losses fully. In such cases, it is essential to understand that you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent third party.
What Is a Third-Party Claim?
If a work injury is the fault of an employer’s negligence, they are generally protected from civil liability. This is because of New York’s Workers’ Compensation system, in which workers receive certain medical benefits and lost wages in the event of an injury on-the-job, and which grants employers immunity from personal injury lawsuits. But this immunity only applies to a direct employer. A personal injury claim may be filed against a negligent, careless, or reckless third party who was responsible for the accident.
With a Workers’ Compensation claim, no fault needs to be established to obtain benefits. In contrast, a third-party personal injury claim requires a showing of negligence. Simply put, a plaintiff would need to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care that was breached, resulting in their damages.
When Can You File a Third-Party Claim in a Construction Accident?
Apart from a worker’s employer, various parties may be present on a construction site. For example, general contractors, subcontractors, vendors, the property owner, engineers, and architects are all third parties who may be involved in a construction project. Third parties can also include those who may not have been on site, such as an equipment manufacturer or distributor.
A construction worker may file a claim against a third party, such as those listed above, for injuries caused by a wide variety of reasons, including:
- New York Labor Law violations — New York Labor Laws §200, §240, and §241 set forth specific safety standards and establish liability if responsible parties do not provide reasonable and adequate safety protection.
- Safety code violations — Many construction site accidents are caused by a failure to follow proper safety protocol. In addition to complying with New York’s Labor Law, there are a number of procedures that must be followed under New York State Industrial Code, OSHA regulations, and other safety standards.
- Hazards in the workplace — General contractors, subcontractors, and other parties have an obligation to ensure a worksite is well-maintained and free from hazards.
- Failure to warn — If a manufacturer failed to warn about the risks associated with using certain equipment, or a subcontractor knew of a danger and failed to repair or warn about it, liability may attach in the event of an accident.
Other third-party claims may be made concerning injuries resulting from equipment manufacturing or design defects, slip and falls, trip and falls, falling objects, burns, and dangerous conditions. By filing a personal injury action, a worker may be entitled to obtain compensation beyond that provided by Workers’ Compensation. This can include monetary recovery for economic losses such as lost wages, unreimbursed medical expenses, replacement services, out-of-pocket costs, and future lost earnings.
Unlike in a Workers’ Compensation claim, a victim who prevails in a third-party personal injury claim may also be entitled to recover non-economic losses, including for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in a construction accident caused by a third party’s negligence, it’s essential to have the representation of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The Dearie Law Firm P.C. has represented injured construction workers for over three decades and helped them secure the best possible outcomes in their unique cases.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.