Can I Sue My Employer For Negligence In The State Of New York?

Employers in New York are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Workers can file a claim for workplace injuries in order to receive compensation. As a result of the Workers’ Compensation Code’s exclusive remedy rule, however, employees typically cannot sue their employers for negligence.

What is the Exclusive Remedy Rule for Workplace Injuries?

According to section 29(6) of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law, the only remedy for workplace injuries and accidents is workers’ compensation. Therefore, a worker who is injured on the job is limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The good news is that an employee is not required to prove employer negligence in order to receive benefits. The bad news is that workers’ compensation benefits do not cover all monetary losses and damages resulting from workplace injuries.

Are There Exceptions to the Exclusive Remedy Rule for Workplace Injuries in New York?

There are very few exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule that permits an injured employee to file a negligence lawsuit against their employer. An employee may file a negligence claim against their employer if:

  • The employer lacks the necessary workers’ compensation coverage for the injured employee.
  • The employer deliberately injured the employee.
  • The employee is employed by a non-required workers’ compensation employer, such as the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Police Department, or the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Unless one of the exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule applies to your workplace injury, you cannot sue your employer for negligence. In addition, the rule generally covers workplace injuries caused by the negligence of a coworker. Unless the independent contractor is classified as a “special employee,” the exclusive remedy rule does not apply to independent contractors.

Can I Sue a Third Party for a Workplace Injury in New York?

The exclusive remedy rule does not prohibit you from suing a third party for workplace injuries caused by negligence. For instance, if another driver causes an accident while you are driving for work, you may have a claim for negligence against that driver.

Similarly, if a defective product causes your workplace injury, you could file a negligence claim against the manufacturer under product liability laws. Other examples include claims of negligence against contractors or property owners.

You must demonstrate that the other party’s negligence caused your injury. The legal elements of a claim for workplace injuries based on negligence are:

  • Duty – The third party owed you a duty of reasonable care to prevent harm.
  • The actions or omissions of the third party violated the duty of care.
  • The breach of duty by the third party was the direct and proximate cause of your workplace injury.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the third party’s breach of duty.

Similar to other negligence claims, if you contributed to the cause of your workplace injury, New York’s contributory negligence laws may reduce the amount of compensation you receive. Contributory fault does not apply in workers’ comp claims, however.

Examples of Workplace Injuries That Might Result in a Third Party Negligence Claim 

There are many causes of workplace injuries. Among the situations that may give rise to a negligence claim are, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Construction site accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Accidental injuries caused by faulty equipment or products
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Animal attacks on the job Negligence by the property owner
  • intentional offences

After a workplace injury, determining whether you have a negligence claim can be difficult. An experienced workplace accident attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on your legal options for filing a claim for negligence arising from a workplace injury.

Damages for Workplace Injuries Caused by a Third Party

Suing a third party for causing workplace injuries can result in significantly more compensation than a workers’ compensation claim. Only a portion of your lost wages will be compensated by workers’ compensation. It does not compensate for your suffering and pain.

Your economic and non-economic damages may be compensated through a negligence claim for workplace injuries. You may receive remuneration for your:

  • Previous and future medical expenses
  • Disabilities and permanent impairments
  • past and future wage and benefit losses
  • Physical suffering and pain
  • Loss of life’s pleasure
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Cash-paying expenses
  • Mental suffering
  • Extended nursing care
  • Domestic assistance and personal care
  • Decrease in life’s quality

Depending on the type of case, the deadline for filing a negligence claim for workplace injuries varies. The statute of limitations for filing claims in many cases involving personal injury is three years from the date of injury. Exceptions exist, so it is advisable to seek legal counsel as soon as possible following a workplace injury.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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