Are you a union member who has suffered an injury on the job? Like other workers, union members often can receive restitution from New York’s workers’ compensation system if they’re injured in the course of their duties.
In some cases, union members may be eligible for additional protection or benefits compared to workers who don’t belong to unions. By working with an attorney that is knowledgeable about the workers’ compensation system, you give yourself the best chance of receiving the maximum possible compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.
Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury?
Not every worker and not every injury are covered under workers’ compensation. If you’ve been injured at work, Attorney Paul Giannetti can assist you whether your injury falls under workers’ compensation or personal injury law. What are the differences?
Personal injury law can apply to anyone who has been injured — on the job or elsewhere — due to the actions of someone else. To recover compensation for a personal injury, you and your attorney must demonstrate that the other party acted negligently and that the negligent behavior caused your injuries. To award you compensation, the court also typically will require that you show specific monetary losses, such as medical bills.
A defendant in a personal injury case can use a variety of arguments that may not be available to a defendant in a workers’ compensation case. Personal injury cases are tried in court, with the outcome determined by a jury, if the parties cannot reach agreement outside the courtroom.
The workers’ compensation system is available only to workers who are injured in the course of their job duties. Regardless of who was at fault in the accident, workers’ compensation benefits can be awarded to the injured worker.
If your company carries workers’ compensation insurance, you are unable to sue your employer for personal injury outside the workers’ compensation system. Families of workers killed on the job also may not sue employers outside the workers’ compensation system if the employer carries workers’ compensation insurance.
Suing Other Parties Under Personal Injury Law
While you cannot sue an employer who carries workers’ compensation insurance through personal injury channels, the rules are different if you’re injured at work due to the actions of someone other than your employer.
In that case, you can work with a personal injury attorney, who can negotiate a settlement or litigate your case. Damages may include coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, and other compensation for financial harm you’ve suffered as the result of your injury.
What Should You Do if You’re Injured at Work?
First, be sure to report the injury as soon as possible to your immediate supervisor. Under the law, you have 30 days to report your injury. However, reporting your injury and the conditions under which it occurred immediately lessens the chances that your employer can argue that the injury did not happen at work.
When you report your injury to your supervisor, bring someone with you as a witness. If your supervisor or other managers attempt to convince you not to report the injury, you should immediately alert your union leader and your workers’ compensation attorney. A verbal report to your supervisor is not sufficient for documenting your case, and it is necessary to fill out an injury report and other paperwork as advised by your attorney.
It’s also vital that you get medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel that your injury is minor. If you need immediate medical attention, you should get it right away, but inform your supervisor if possible. Your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer can suggest a doctor, but you are able to choose.
Work With an Experienced Attorney
As a union member, you may have access to certain additional protection and benefits under the law if you’re injured. By working with an experienced attorney, you ensure that you receive the most favorable possible outcome for your case based on the details of your union contract. For a consultation, please contact Paul Giannetti, Attorney at Law.