If you have been injured in a construction accident, you already know that you are able to file for workers’ compensation. You are also able to file a third party accident claim. The third party may be an organization, person, municipality, or other entity other than the employer or co-worker who is responsible for your injuries or illness.
On construction sites, most third parties are general contractors or subcontractors. The third party may also be another individual or entity that caused a workplace injury who is otherwise not related to the work site, i.e., an equipment manufacturer.
If you have been injured on a construction site, contact a New York construction accident attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation claim and any third party claims that you should be filing to ensure that you get all of your injuries or illnesses caused by the workplace or a third party covered.
When Is a Third Party Involved
If you have evidence that shows a third party’s negligence caused a workplace injury, you may add that person as a third party claim. Examples of claims include:
- Claims against a contractor who did not erect scaffolding in a proper manner, thus causing injuries when the scaffolding collapsed.
- A claim against an equipment manufacturer who knowingly used defective parts in the equipment or unknowingly used defective parts but learned later of the problem and did not correct the issue, causing injuries or deaths at the workplace. For example, weakened steel bolts or pins holding a crane together, or knowing that a crane is apt to tip over under certain circumstances.
- A claim against a general contractor who did not provide workers with the proper safety equipment or adequate safety equipment and those workers suffered injuries because of inadequate or missing safety equipment.
- A claim against a cleaning service that the contractor subcontracted when the cleaning service left hazards on the work site. The hazards caused someone to trip and fall and get hurt.
- A claim against a visitor to the site who negligently dropped a piece of equipment onto a worker on a lower level, causing injuries.
- A claim against a person who drives through improperly set up safety barriers around the construction site when that person is committing negligent behavior such as driving while distracted or driving under the influence.
The third party does not have to be the only one responsible for the injury. Even if you believe your employer is partially at fault, you should at least investigate the third party claim to find out where the fault lies. In our last example, if the contractors set up the safety barriers properly, but the person who drove through was going 60 miles per hour and driving under the influence, your employer may not be responsible for any of your injuries. However, if in the same situation, the barriers were not properly installed, the drunk driver and your employer could both be responsible for your injuries.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Third Party Claim at the Same Time
You can file a third-party claim at the same time as your workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer’s insurer does have the right to attempt to recover the money that is already paid on your behalf. In many cases, filing a third party claim covers more than workers’ compensation does. However, if you file just the workers’ compensation claim, you are most likely limiting the amount of financial recovery you might be entitled to.
In New York, workers’ compensation law only allows you to recover compensation for medical costs and some lost wages. Lost wages are capped under New York workers’ compensation laws. Additionally, if a person’s or company’s negligence caused your injuries, you won’t be able to collect non-economic losses. If your injuries are bad enough so that you can’t recoup all of the lost wages, the income is gone forever. Filing a third party claim allows you to collect what is due to you.
Workers’ compensation does not allow you to collect for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, or decreased enjoyment of life. You could suffer any of these because of a workplace incident that caused injuries or the death of a loved one. Even though filing a third party claim is more work on your part, and the compensation it could bring does not bring back a lost loved one or wipe out permanent disabilities, the extra compensation makes a big difference in your financial circumstances; especially if you are injured enough so that you can no longer work in the same job or field, or if you lost a loved one due to a construction accident.
Valid Third Party Claims
The best way to know if you have a valid third party claim is to discuss your construction accident with a Bronx construction accident lawyer such as Ivan Diamond. Every case is different and they all have unique challenges. You can help determine if you have a valid third party claim by recalling as much as you can about the accident and letting us know who may have witnessed the accident.
Part of our investigation into your accident is to:
- Learn whether proper safety equipment was available, in good working order and was appropriate for the job;
- Check for defective equipment including heavy equipment, work trucks, and tools;
- Check for scaffolding issues including proper setup; and
- Find out who is responsible for the equipment and/or actions that caused your injuries.
We’ll look into every aspect of your injury or illness, such as asking witnesses if someone who should not have been on the job site was there and could have possibly caused the accident or illness.
Workers’ compensation claims and third party claims could get complicated because of the number of lawyers involved in these types of cases. In a case that you may think is simple at first, you could nonetheless end up dealing with several attorneys and organizations at once, including:
- Your employer’s attorney;
- The workers’ compensation insurance company’s attorney;
- Your employer’s insurance company’s attorney;
- The attorney for a contractor or subcontractor if you file a claim against the third party;
- The attorney for the contractor or subcontractor insurance company;
- In the case of product liability, such as a crane that caused your injuries, the attorney for the manufacturer;
- The attorney for the manufacturer’s insurance company; and
- The attorney for the coworker that may have caused or partially caused the accident.
As you can see, the people involved in a case are often more than just you and your employer’s attorney. Insurance companies look out for their bottom line, so in most cases, a person covered by insurance also has an attorney.
Contact the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond
If you have been injured in a construction accident or you lost a loved one because of an accident, contact a New York construction accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond at (718) 588-2000 for a free consultation and to learn more about your rights.