When you’re injured on the job, it may be assumed that you’re only entitled to worker’s compensation. However, if you were injured due to the negligence of a coworker, then worker’s comp may not be your only option. You could deserve more.
Employee errors and negligence happen every day in the United States. They account for most of the injuries that happen on the job. Here’s what you need to know and what to do if your New York on-the-job accident that led to the injury was caused by a coworker.
First Step: Worker’s Compensation
If you are injured on the job in New York, then you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits no matter what the cause of the accident was. Negligence isn’t a factor included in worker’s compensation claims.
When you get worker’s compensation, it will pay for any medical treatment related to your injury, as well as expenses related to it – plus up to two-thirds of your lost wages. However, worker’s compensation does not cover other damages, such as pain and suffering.
The only circumstances where you may not be eligible for worker’s compensation are:
- You were commuting either to or from work
- You were on your lunch break
- You were committing a crime when injured
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when injured
What If Your Co-Worker Was At Fault?
If your co-worker’s action or negligence caused your injury, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
Why would you want to do that? Because worker’s compensation will only pay for a portion of your lost wages and medical bills, up to a certain limit. If you are facing a long recovery or have been left permanently disabled from the injury, then you may want to bring a personal injury lawsuit to get full compensation for your injuries and losses.
You can recover all damages through a personal injury lawsuit, including:
- Medical expenses
- The full amount of your lost wages
- Consortium claims from family members
- Replacement services during your recovery, such as house cleaning or lawn care
- Pain and suffering
The sticking point is that, when you seek damages from a negligent coworker for an injury through a personal injury claim, you have the burden to show the court that the coworker did something wrong or failed to do what was required of them to keep you safe. You must be able to show that their failure or errors were directly responsible for your injuries. In other words, if your coworker had not been negligent, then you would not have sustained your injuries.
Can You Sue Your Employer?
In normal circumstances, employees who receive worker’s compensation benefits are unable to sue their employer. Under certain conditions, however, you can sue an employer even if you get worker’s compensation.
You must have sustained a very serious injury, such as head trauma, amputations, or serious burns. You must also be able to show that the employer knew they posed a danger to others in the workplace – and failed to act in a way that would protect the other employees.
Getting injured while working isn’t something that anybody sets out to do. But if it happens to you, especially due to the actions or inactions of another, it’s good to know that you can take action to be properly compensated.