If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds to seek financial compensation. In most situations, this compensation is sought by filing a personal injury lawsuit, but work-related injuries go through the workers’ compensation system. While both systems deal with injury compensation, the difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury is significant.
If you were injured due to negligence outside of work, you can learn whether you may have a case in a free consultation with personal injury lawyer Paul Giannetti. Paul is also a workers comp lawyer who helps people with work-related injuries receive the workers’ comp payments they rightfully deserve. Contact Paul at (866) 868-2960 to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.
Negligence in Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Comp
We all have a moral and legal obligation to conduct ourselves in a way that does not put other people at risk of suffering a preventable injury. According to Cornell Law School, negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
This means that if someone fails to meet their legal duty of care and caused you to get injured, the person who caused the injury could be considered negligent. Negligence is a factor in many injuries, but the legal application of negligence varies depending on whether you are filing a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ comp claim.
Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
Negligence is the basis of all personal injury lawsuits. In order to have grounds for a lawsuit, your injuries must have been caused by the negligence of another party. Examples include the negligence of another driver who caused a car accident, the manufacturer of a defective product, or the employer of a commercial truck driver.
If you and your personal injury lawyer can demonstrate that your injuries would not have happened if not for negligence, you could recover damages in a lawsuit. For example, another motorist could be held liable for speeding and injuring you in a serious car accident. Without sufficient evidence of negligence, the court will likely rule in the other party’s favor.
Does Negligence Apply to Workers’ Comp Claims?
Although negligence may be a contributing factor in many work injuries, most states do not allow injured workers to sue their boss or co-workers for work-related injuries. Thus, negligence is not legally relevant in most work-related injuries.
The benefit of this program is that you do not have to prove negligence or liability to receive compensation. Even if you caused your own injury through negligence, you are still covered by workers’ comp.
In exchange for providing workers comp insurance to employees, employers are legally protected from facing liability for employee injuries. However, there are some situations in which an injured worker may seek additional financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
New York Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements
The vast majority of New York workers are covered by workers’ comp insurance. Chapter 67 – Workers’ Compensation of the Consolidated Laws of New York requires most employers to purchase and maintain employee insurance coverage, with few exceptions.
To qualify for workers comp after an injury, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- You are covered by workers’ comp insurance under the law.
- Your injury, disability, or illness must be directly related to your job duties.
- The accident happened while you were performing duties within the scope of your employment.
- You must notify your employer in writing of the incident that caused your injury or illness within 30 days.
- A doctor must verify that your injury was caused by a job-related incident.
If you meet these qualifications, your claim should be approved. However, some injured workers struggle to recover the compensation they deserve. If you think your claim has been unfairly rejected, you should consider speaking with workers’ comp attorney Paul Giannetti.
What Does Workers’ Comp Cover in New York?
If your workers’ comp claim is approved, you will be entitled to two main types of workers’ comp benefits:
- Cash benefits – Injured workers can receive supplementary income while out of work under workers’ comp. However, these benefits are limited to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Additionally, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board sets a weekly maximum benefit, which is updated each July (currently $1,125).
- Medical benefits – Workers’ comp insurance covers medical care for work-related injuries. The doctor providing the care must be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Board unless the employee needs emergency care. These medical benefits are at no charge to the injured employee.
There are also other benefits available for more severe injuries. Families of those who have tragically lost their lives in fatal work accidents can receive death benefits under workers’ comp. Workers who have been disabled by work-related injuries qualify for rehabilitation programs. If the disability is permanent, the worker may receive permanent disability benefits.
Can You Ever Sue For a Work-Related Injury in New York?
While employers and co-workers are usually legally protected from work injury liability, third parties can be held liable if their negligence caused a work injury. Some examples of third-party negligence that could provide grounds for a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Manufacturers of defective products that cause injuries, such as a defective piece of machinery.
- A third-party maintenance company that failed to maintain machinery or equipment.
- Non-employees in the same setting, such as independent contractors working on an office construction site.
In cases where a third-party lawsuit is possible, the injured worker may collect significantly more damages than they would from workers’ comp alone. Instead of receiving only two-thirds of your wages, you could potentially receive compensation for your full lost wages, as well as your medical expenses. You also may seek compensation for other damages not covered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering.
Contact Personal Injury and Workers’ Comp Lawyer Paul Giannetti
Work-related injuries are often more complex than other injuries, especially when third-party negligence is involved. If you believe your work injury was caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer or coworkers, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact attorney Paul Giannetti at (866) 868-2960 to learn more about the difference between workers’ comp and personal injury lawsuits and other legal matters.