In New York State, the Workers’ Compensation Law is an employee’s sole legal remedy for an injury that occurs on the job. What this means is that an injured employee cannot sue a co-employee or employer for negligence that caused the injury. There is one exception to this rule. That is, if the employer intentionally caused the employee’s injury.
Suing Your Employer: Third-Party Actions
While an injured worker cannot sue his or her employer or co-worker, the injured worker can, however, sue a third-party or other entity, if the third-party’s negligence caused the injury. These lawsuits are typically called “Third-Party Actions.”
If a Third-Party Action results in monetary benefits for the injured worker, either by settlement or a verdict, the Workers’ Compensation Carrier is entitled to reimbursement for any lost wages and medical benefits paid. This is also referred to as a “Third-Party Lien.” Calculating the lien and other expenses often gets very complicated, so it is important to seek legal counsel to assist with the process.
In addition, the Workers’ Compensation Carrier must also give consent for the injured worker to settle a Third-Party Action. Failure to obtain consent may result in a complete bar of future Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The most common type of Third-Party Actions arise out of motor vehicle accidents, where the negligence of a third-party motorist causes the injury. In New York State, not only is the injured worker entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits and a potential Third-Party Action, but the injured worker may also be entitled to No-Fault Benefits. An injured worker who is injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident should seek immediate counsel, as the timeframe to file for No-Fault Benefits is very short.
Don’t Start Suing Your Employer Before Talking to An Attorney
As demonstrated, Third-Party Actions involve many important considerations, so it’s imperative to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. At MCV Law, we have attorneys experienced in both Workers’ Compensation cases and Third-Party Actions, and we work together to be sure the maximum benefits are achieved.