If you have been injured on the job, workers’ compensation is likely to be your only source for medical benefits and financial recovery. Workers’ compensation shields your employer and your co-workers from liability for careless actions that may have caused your injury, so your right to sue is limited to cases of intentional harm. However, people with whom you do not have an employer-employee or co-worker relationship are not protected. If such a person is responsible for harming you, you may be able to recover full compensation for your injuries. Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. has more than 30 years of experience in workers’ compensation and personal injury law. I am ready to evaluate the circumstances of your injury to see if a third-party action can maximize your recovery.
For purposes of workers’ compensation law, a third party is any individual who is not your employer, boss or co-worker. These persons might be:
Here is an example of how this might work. On a construction site, you work for the general contractor assembling the wooden frame of a home. The general contractor has hired a plumbing subcontractor who has several employees on site. One of the plumbers drops a large pipe from a height, striking you on the back. You have no co-worker relationship with that plumber, so you are not prohibited from suing by workers’ comp.
In another scenario, you are a delivery driver for a company, making your rounds. A car runs a light and broadsides your van. You are entitled to workers’ compensation because your injuries are work related, but you can also sue the negligent driver of the car that hit you.
Finally, let’s say you work on a factory floor as a machinist. While you are working at your station, a co-worker using his machine properly strikes you and injures you. You cannot sue your co-worker, but you may be able to sue the industrial architect who designed the factory floor and put the workstations too close together to be reasonably safe.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, you always want to file for workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible to get medical care and wage replacement. However, if the facts suggest you could sue for negligence, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney who handles workplace injuries.
Your attorney can then investigate the incident to determine if there are potential third-party defendants. If the facts support a lawsuit, your attorney can file the action and pursue full damages, including medical costs, your total lost pay, and compensation for your pain and suffering.
If your third-party lawsuit is successful, you will recover more than you could have through workers’ compensation. But you cannot recover twice for one accident, so you will have to repay the insurance company for your medical treatment and wage replacement benefits.
If you think you may have a case for bringing a third-party lawsuit for a work-related injury, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney. For reliable assistance in Ulster, Dutchess and Orange counties, call Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. at 845-834-8234 or contact my Highland office online to schedule a free consultation.