New York construction workers face many dangers on the job. In fact, the private construction industry had the highest number of fatal work accidents in 2020, despite only accounting for a small percentage of the total workforce. Construction sites are full of heavy equipment, unfinished wiring, scaffolding, ladders and a myriad of other tools and equipment that make for an unstable environment.
Many New York construction workers assume that workers compensation benefits will cover their losses, such as medical expenses and lost income, when an accident happens at work. However, workers compensation benefits have limits. First, the disability benefits only cover a portion of your pay and are subject to maximums set by state law. Further, by filing a workers’ compensation claim, employees are barred from filing a separate lawsuit against their employer. However, there are a few exceptions for which workers can pursue other types of claims to potentially receive much greater financial awards.
Workers Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning workers can collect benefits regardless of who was to blame for the accident. If you suffer an on-the-job injury in New York and your employer has workers compensation insurance, you can file a claim to receive:
Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work or only able to return partially, you can file a claim for permanent disability and receive benefits for several years or your entire lifetime, depending on the injury.
Temporary Disability Loss of Income: You can get 2/3s of your average weekly wage, depending on the level of disability. The payments are capped by the NYS Department of Labor each year.
Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
Keep in mind that New York’s workers comp disability benefits cover 2/3 of your pay, which may not be enough to cover all of your usual expenses. In 2022, the maximum amount is $1063/month.
Compensation Options for Construction Workers After an Injury
While workers’ compensation bars you from filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against your employer, there could be other parties liable for a New York construction accident that caused your injuries. In some cases, you may be able to sue a third party other than your employer who is partially responsible for your injury. Common examples of liable parties for third party lawsuits after a New York construction accident include the property owner, subcontractor, General Contractor, and product manufacturers.
For example, suppose you suffer an injury using machinery at the job site that was ultimately caused by a defective part. Or perhaps the injury was caused by a subcontractor or property owner failing to warn you of hazards or dangerous conditions. In that case, you might be able to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the defective part, the subcontractor or property owner, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek financial compensation for damages beyond the limitation of the workers compensation system. In some cases, this could mean compensation for intangible damages, like pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury claims often seek greater award amounts than workers compensation, as they do not have the two-thirds limit on lost wages and offer more in non-economic damages. Common types of damages include medical expenses, lost income (with no limitations), and compensation for intangible losses like pain and suffering. In cases of severe injury, a personal injury claim will also seek compensation for your anticipated future losses -- like ongoing medical care and the income you would have received, for not the accident.
Contact Us For Help with Your New York Construction Accident Claim
A construction site is often chaotic; any one or more entities may be legally liable when a construction worker is injured or killed. If you’ve been injured, you should contact a New York construction accident attorney who can help you understand your options.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut with their injury cases. We have years of experience in both workers compensation and personal injury claims. Our top-rated attorney team has the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, contact us immediately to discuss your case.