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Michael Lawrence Varon, PLLC Michael Lawrence Varon, PLLC
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White Plains Employer Immunity Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in New York can be a complicated and lengthy process. You will need to gather very specific information in order to be eligible for benefits, and you will need to take a series of precise steps in reporting your claim and seeking medical attention in order to remain eligible to receive compensation. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board provides information about workers’ compensation claims and eligibility.

Throughout this process, you may be wondering if you could obtain more compensation if you filed a claim directly against your employer. For example, if your employer failed to provide safety gear for a dangerous work assignment and you got hurt as a result, can you sue your employer? Or, for example, if your employer failed to have heavy machinery properly serviced and it caused your injuries, can you file a lawsuit against your employer for his or her negligent behavior?

Can I File a Lawsuit If My Employer Was Negligent?

In general, injured workers cannot sue their employers for negligence when they get hurt on the job. You might think of the situation as your employer having immunity from lawsuits. In other words, because your employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance, and you are eligible to seek benefits for your injuries by filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is as though your employer is immune from an injury lawsuit.

To be clear, in New York, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer even though your employer was negligent. Even if your employer makes a very bad decision and damages property at work that results in your injury, you typically cannot file a claim directly against your employer.

Workers’ Compensation Claim as Exclusive Remedy in New York

Why are injured workers barred from filing claims against their employers? Workers’ compensation in New York is what is known as an exclusive remedy. An exclusive remedy is the only remedy for a loss. For injured workers, the benefits or compensation available throughout workers’ compensation insurance are the exclusive remedies for workplace injuries and losses.

Given that workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, workers cannot sue their employers for those losses that are covered by workers’ compensation.

Filing a Third-Party Lawsuit to Seek Additional Compensation

Just because employers are immune from employee lawsuits following a workplace injury does not mean that the injured worker cannot file any type of personal injury claim. When a third party is responsible for the accident that caused the injuries, the worker may be able to file a third party claim.

To be clear, the third party is never the employer. However, a third party could be any of the following, for example:

  • Negligent or reckless motorist;
  • Designer of a defective product or part;
  • Manufacturer of a defective product or part; and/or
  • Co-worker or customer who behaved in a negligent or harmful manner.

There are numerous other scenarios in which an injured worker may be able to file a third party claim.

Learn More from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in New York

Do you have questions about your workers’ compensation benefits or filing a claim? A workers’ compensation lawyer in New York can assist you. Contact the Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon to speak with an advocate today.

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